There is no denying that running is one of the most intense cardio exercises that you can engage in. Unfortunately, there is also no getting around the fact that it is one of the hardest exercises to get used to. Waking up early or hitting the trails after work just doesn’t seem too appealing sometimes. And, then there are those times where you rush your workouts just to get them over with. Whatever your situation is, exercising is something that you want to take seriously. If you are already exercising then you are doing better than most people. However, if you want to take your game to the next level, you should consider taking advantage of the follow pre-workout exercises.
The Walking Lunge
If you are looking for a pre-workout exercise that is going to target most of the major muscle groups used when running then look no further than the walking lunge. This exercise is great for targeting most of the major muscles that will be active when running, but it really is the quads and hip flexors that this exercise was designed for. To perform this exercise, you will stand with your feet together. You will then take a long step forward with your right foot.
Your goal is to simply bend both the front and back knees at a ninety-degree angle. Once in this position, you will want to hold it for a few seconds. Get as low as you can and hold it there before alternating to the other leg and doing the same time. Going through these motions about 5 times on each leg should be enough to loosen you up for a mile run or longer.
Now, this is one leg stretcher exercise that you will not forget because it is going to be the most painful leg stretch exercise on this list. It may be the most painful but it is also the most beneficial and unfortunately the most overlooked. This stretching exercise really targets the inner thighs and groin area that often end up getting tight over time from constant stress.
The best way to perform this leg stretching exercise is with a leg stretcher machine like these here, but it can be performed without one as well. You simply need to sit on the floor, sit up straight, stick your legs out straight, and spread them out as wide as you can. Now, while doing this, in order to push the stretch you need something to push them out wider. A wall is a great way to make this happen. Push against the wall with your body and slowly stretch your legs out wider.
Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexor stretch was obviously designed to target the hip flexors, but that still doesn’t mean that it isn’t an excellent comprehensive pre-running exercise. If you are one of those individuals that stands still or sits down for long periods of time this exercise is going to be crucial for your routine. This exercise is crucial because when you sit or stand all day it causes your flexors to enter a state of flexion. This is a state you do not want your muscles to be in when you are running.
To perform this exercise, you are actually going to start in the lunge position. This is the position that you ended up with in the previous exercise. Once in the lunge, you will straighten your back leg until you feel a stretch along the front of your back thigh. When you feel that stretch, you will want to raise your arms over your head and hold them there for just a few seconds. Continue raising and lowering your arms to work those lower legs and body muscles. Performing this motion about five times on each leg will loosen you up enough for a good intensive run.
If you’re interested in stretching your legs and enhancing your flexibility, you’ll want to try the toe touch. This exercise might be simple but it is far more difficult than you could ever imagine. All you have to do is stand up straight. While keeping your knees straight, you should bend forward and reach for your toes. There is a chance that you will not be able to touch your toes without bending your knees. If this is the case, you’ll want to stretch more often. Either way, this is a good exercise for stretching your legs.
The toe touch is a simple exercise that is suitable for everyone. With that being said, you should experiment with this exercise too. It is a good choice for people who are preparing for a run. You’ll also want to consider using the standing foot grab. Both exercises will work exceptionally well for this purpose.
Is It Really That Important to Stretch My Legs Before I Go Running?
Let me be the first to tell you. YES! It’s really that important to stretch your legs before you go running. People who blow off stretching and do not think that it is beneficial are usually the ones that end up with the injuries.
Keep this in mind. Injuries to the muscle fibers are commonly reported in runners who refuse to warm-up. Every warm-up routine should consist of stretching. Failing to warm-up with stretches will increase your risk of sustaining muscle, small blood vessel, and tendon damage. It only takes about five minutes to warm up your body and keep your muscular system healthy.
Pre-run warm-ups should consist of both static and dynamic stretches. These exercises will put your joints through a full range of motion and warm up your muscles. Many runners wait until after their workout is complete to do their static stretches because it helps in recovery.
The Bottom Line
Stretching is extremely important in preventing muscle injuries. Just a few minutes of stretching will go a long way in keeping your muscles healthy and free of injury. You should make stretching a part of your daily exercise routine because it is the best way to prepare your muscles for running and other strenuous activities. It is recommended to start any daily workout with stretches that last anywhere from five to 10 minutes.