After a Long or Intense Run, Stretch Your Tired Muscles With This 10-Minute Routine
Whether you're running on trails, a track, or the treadmill, after logging those miles, it's time to stretch your overworked muscles! So kick off your sweaty sneakers and do this 10-minute stretching sequence. It targets your legs, including the hamstrings and quads, the hips and hip flexors, the lower back, and the chest and shoulders. Giving your muscles some attention after a long or intense run can help keep your muscles supple in order to prevent injury. Plus, stretching just feels amazing, and is a great way to give yourself some extra, always-needed self-care.
Standing Forward Bend Clasped Elbows
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a breath in, and as you exhale, hinge at the hips, folding over your thighs.
- Bend the arms and take hold of opposite elbows.
- Keep your weight pressing forward as you enjoy this stretch for the lower back and hamstrings for five breaths.
- Sit on the floor, bringing the soles of the feet together.
- Sit with a tall spine, and fold forward to increase the intensity.
- Enjoy this lower-back and hip-opening stretch for five breaths.
- From Butterfly, extend the legs out into a wide Straddle.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to slowly fold forward as far as you can with a flat back, making sure your toes and knees are pointing straight up.
- Rest your hands on your feet, your legs, or the floor in front of you.
- Hold for five breaths.
Head to Knee
- From a straddle position, bend the left knee.
- Fold over your right leg. Rest your hands on the floor on either side of your leg or on your shin, or wrap your hands around your right foot.
- Stay here for five breaths, then repeat on the other side.
- Come into a side lunge with the right knee bent and the left leg extended.
- Hold the hands together in prayer position or rest them on the floor, stretching the groin for five breaths.
Low Crescent Lunge
- From Side Lunge, turn the torso to face the front of the mat and lower your left knee to the floor.
- Rest the hands on the front thigh or raise the arms up, sinking the pelvis toward the floor to intensify the stretch in the hips.
- Stay here for five breaths.
- From Low Crescent Lunge, rest your left hand on the mat underneath your shoulder.
- Raise your right arm into the air and twist to the right, gazing behind you, enjoying this pose for five breaths.
- Gently swing your left leg forward as you bend your right knee.
- Bend your left knee and place it on top of your right leg so your knees, shins, and ankles are stacked. Keeping the shins parallel, flex the feet to feel a stretch in the calves.
- Press your fingertips into the floor behind your pelvis, or to make this pose more intense, place your hands in front of your shins and walk them out as far as you can, folding your chest over your legs.
- Enjoy this stretch for five breaths.
- Repeat the last four poses on the left side, beginning with Side Lunge and working your way through Low Crescent Lunge, Twisting Lizard, and finally Double Pigeon.
- From Double Pigeon, come to stand on the shins.
- Reach your right hand back toward your right heel, and then your left hand toward your left heel. Your hands are there for balancing support, so don't lean all your weight into them.
- Shift weight forward into your knees to increase the stretch in your belly and chest.
- Lower your head behind you, and stay here for five breaths.
- From Camel, come to lie on the belly and extend your arms out in front of you.
- Keeping your legs and pelvis grounded, slowly walk your hands toward your chest, keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Walk your hands in until you feel a nice stretch in your abs. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your neck. If it feels OK, lower your head back between your shoulder blades for a nice stretch in the chest and neck.
- Stay here for five breaths.
- From Cobra, prop your torso up with your right elbow, crossing your forearm so it's diagonal with your chest.
- Bend your left knee and reach your left hand back to hold onto your foot. Work on pressing the sole of your foot toward the floor. Turn your fingers so they are pointing in the same direction as your toes, and lift your elbow up toward the ceiling to give you some leverage.
- You shouldn't feel any pain in your knee or hip, so if you do, decrease the amount of weight you're pressing into your left foot.
- Stay here for five deep breaths in Half Frog, and repeat with the right knee bent.
Happy Baby Pose
- Roll over and lie on your back.
- Bend both knees and hold onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.
- Gently use your upper-body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits.
- Stay like this for five deep breaths.
- From Happy Baby, place your feet flat on the floor. Walk your heels as close as you can to your tush.
- Raise your hips up, and place your hands on either side of your lower back. Rock your weight from side to side, so you can pull your shoulder blades closer together.
- Stay here for five deep breaths, actively pressing your feet into the floor to lift your hips up and increase the stretch in your torso and neck.
- Gently lower your bum back to the ground, and hug your knees into your chest.
- Keeping the knees hugging into chest, extend your arms out in T position.
- Slowly lower both knees to the left. Rest them on the ground and turn your head to the right.
- Hold here for at least five breaths, feeling your spine lengthen and twist. You may even hear some "cracks."
- Use your abs to lift your knees back to center and roll them to the other side.