How to stretch before running

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How to Stretch

Two Parts:

Stretching correctly will increase your flexibility and reduce the risk of injuries caused by lesions of the connective tissues (such as the periosteum) and other nasty things. This guide shows a variety of techniques with the goal of revamping or establishing your stretching routine. Use the tips that suit your needs for the activities you do.If you are injured, do not stretch without the help of a physical therapist. Doing so may result in further injury.


Stretching Exercises

  1. Stretch your shoulders.
    • Place the back of one hand in the small of your back.
    • With your opposite hand, grab your elbow, gently pull forward, and hold.
    • Repeat with opposite side.
  2. Stretch your triceps.
    • Reach up with one arm.
    • Bend your elbow and put your forearm down behind your head and between your shoulder blades.
    • With your opposite arm, reach up and grab your raised elbow.
    • Pull your elbow toward your head.
    • Repeat with other arm.
  3. Stretch your biceps.
    • Put your arms straight out to your sides with your thumbs facing up.
    • Rotate your arms so that your thumbs face straight back, then rotate them forward until your thumbs are facing straight down.
  4. Stretch your wrists.
    • Hold one arm out in front of you with your elbow bent (and close to your body) and palm facing up.
    • With your opposite hand, grab your fingertips and slowly pull them all the way down until that hand is now facing the floor.
    • Continue to pull on your fingertips, now in an upward direction since your palm is facing down.
    • Repeat with other hand.
  5. Stretch your quadriceps.
    • Stand up and pull one leg behind you (flamingo position).
    • Once holding onto your foot, continue to apply upward pressure.
    • Repeat with other leg.
  6. Stretch your calves.
    • Place one leg in front of the other (split stance) with your hands on your hips.
    • Lean slightly forward as you begin to straighten your back leg, ideally bringing your back foot all the way flat against the floor.
    • Repeat with other leg.
  7. Stretch your hamstrings.
    • Sit on the floor with both feet out in front of you.
    • Reach out with both arms, ideally grabbing onto your toes and holding.
  8. Stretch your hips.
    • Lie flat on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
    • Get into a figure four position by placing one ankle on your opposite knee.
    • Reach through and around your knee, clasp, pull it toward you, and hold.
    • Repeat with opposite side.
  9. Stretch your groin.
    • Sit on the floor.
    • Press the soles of your feet together (butterfly position).
    • Pull your feet as close to your body as possible.
    • Put your hands on your ankles to where your elbows are lined up with your knees.
    • Push against your elbows trying to close your legs. (This contracts your groin muscles to help you get a deeper stretch.)
    • Push your knees down.
  10. Stretch your upper back.
    • Clasp your hands together and reach your arms forward directly in front of your chest as far as possible.
    • Allow your upper back to become round and your chin to drop toward your chest.
    • Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.
  11. Stretch your chest.
    • Stand approximately 2 feet (61 cm) back from the interior corner of a wall, facing the corner. Position your feet to be about shoulder-width apart.
    • Place one forearm on each wall with your elbows resting just above the height of your shoulders.
    • Lean forward as far as you comfortably can. Hold in this position for 30-60 seconds.
  12. Stretch your neck.
    • Incline your head forward, but do not roll your head from side to side as this can be harmful. Instead, stretch your neck to the left, right, forward and back, but always return to center first!
    • Tilt your head with the ear toward the shoulder and hold the tilt for 20-30 seconds. Focus on your breathing and relaxing your neck and shoulder muscles during this time.
    • Be sure that while your head is tilted back, you keep your jaw relaxed and even let your mouth fall open just a bit.
  13. Stretch your jaw.
    • Incline your head back, rest your chin on your palm, and pull your jaw open.
    • Say "Ah!" (you can mime it).
    • Grab your chin with your thumb, index and middle fingers.
    • Stretch it left to right. This exercise will help if you have been hit to the jaw (e.g., knocked-out in boxing).

When To Stretch

  1. Never stretch before you warm up.The only reason it feels good to stretch even when you're cold is because your body sends out natural painkillers. To protect your tissues, you need to raise your cardiac pulse in order to fill them with blood. The only way to do this is by working out.
    • Swimming is the safest way to raise your cardiac pulse. Water reduces shocks to the body because it reduces the felt effect of gravity on your body.
    • Jumping rope can also be effective, but it may damage your tibia's periosteums, which is the membrane enveloping your bones (except at junctions) that allows the blood to flow from your heart to your muscles connected by the tendon.
    • Swimming pools are sometimes inaccessible, so an efficient and safe way to raise cardiac pulse would be by cycling (except if you have knee problems).
  2. Stretching before your workout will put your Central Nervous System (CNS) to sleep to increase your range of motion.It will result with less gain than improvement on the muscle part. The CNS naturally provides resistance by stimulating antagonists muscles when you flex a muscle to prevent it from being too stretched and tear your conjunctive tissues.Never stretch prior to workout, and always do it after.
  3. Always stretch after you work out.Stretching will ensure you have an optimal circulation of body fluids throughout your system and an adequate flexibility which will prevent your connective tissues to pop when you contract your muscle.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can stretching help me with splits?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Stretching increases flexibility in your joints which can make it easier to do the splits.
  • Question
    How do I become flexible?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It is best if you stretch daily, and as you stretch, try to push yourself a little further every day. For example, if you are working on your sideways splits, try to spread you legs a little further every day. But do not stretch so far that it begins to hurt. Doing so can cause tissue scarring, higher resting muscle tone, etc.
  • Question
    Can I stretch without working out before?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, but it is advisable to do a warm up before, even if it's just running on the spot for two minutes. This can help you avoid injury as your muscles are warm.
  • Question
    Can we do stretching before breakfast?
    Top Answerer
    Sure, there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it will help start your metabolism because it gets the blood flowing, giving you a healthy appetite and making you ready for the day.
  • Question
    Can I do all the stretching after I wake up?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, doing stretches in the morning is a great way to start the day.
  • Question
    How long should you hold each pose?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Each pose requires a certain amount of time, but the average is 15 seconds.
  • Question
    Why does it hurt when doing a butterfly stretch?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It hurts because your muscles are stretching. It probably means that those muscles are tight or not flexible for you.
  • Question
    Should I stretch before bed?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, you should always stretch before going to bed, it helps me relax my muscles so I can go to sleep much easier.
  • Question
    Do I have to increase my heart rate before stretching?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No. As long as you are a normal healthy person is no reason to increase your heart rate before stretching.
  • Question
    How long should I stretch for?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Stretch for at least 15 minutes and warm up 10 minutes before and after doing all the stretches.
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Quick Summary

To stretch your back, start by clasping your hands together and reaching your arms out directly in front of you. Then, round your shoulders, drop your chin to your chest, and hold for 30 seconds. If you want to stretch your legs, sit on the floor with both of your feet out in front of you and reach for your toes with your hands. You can also stand up and pull one of your legs up behind you, hold, and then repeat with your other leg.

Did this summary help you?
  • Stretch every day in order to become flexible more quickly.
  • Try not to stretch too hard if you are a beginner you need to get used to stretching so you can be flexible, if you start out by stretching too much that will cause injury.
  • Create a daily stretching routine.
  • All stretches should be held, without movement, for 15-20 seconds. This surpasses the myotatic reflex which prevents any muscle from stretching for the first 10-12 seconds.
  • Perform the exercises slowly to prevent injuries.
  • Wear stretchy clothes.
  • Do not bounce or bob when you stretch - this is not effective and may lead to injury.
  • You should stretch as far as you are comfortable when inhaling, and when exhaling, go a little farther than comfortable. This increases flexibility when used as a daily routine.
  • If some stretches are difficult at beginner level, you might want to use a wall for support, or the assistance of a friend.
  • Exercise Carefully to avoid injury
  • Breathe in a natural rhythm, and stay calm. Don't stretch if you are injured.
  • Learn to love the 'pain' of stretching.
  • Remember that you shouldn't feel pain when stretching, just the stretches of the muscles. If you feel pain, stop, rest for a moment, then continue, but be more careful.
  • Eat healthy. This will help when you are stretching.
  • Don't exercise to much. it will cause injury.
  • Stretch so you can feel it, but stretch comfortably, never force a stretch or you will injure yourself.
  • Stretch as much as you can before a sport! Remember, you can never be too loose.
  • Stop a stretch immediately if it hurts. At most, stretching should cause mild discomfort, never significant physical pain.
  • Listening to calm music will help you to relax and do your stretches more easily. Try classical music; it's very soothing.


  • Each individual possesses her or his own physical limitations when exercising. Be sure that you acknowledge your physical restrictions while stretching, ensuring that you do not induce injury in your efforts to exercise. Remember, your well-being is at the center of each exercise activity.
  • Neverstretch when you are injured.

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of How to Stretch was reviewed by on June 22, 2019.

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Ashley Greene

Nov 25, 2019

"To begin with, I read an article about how to fall asleep, and it said stretch! So I pulled this up. Feedback: morepictures, please!"
Rated this article:

Allyson Coulthard

Jun 16, 2019

"Much better to watch a video and the graphics were a lot easier to understand rather than flat diagrams. "

Gioconda Tovar

Jul 9, 2019

"I was looking for a simple guide with pictures. This one is great and has stretching for the whole body."
Rated this article:


Sep 25, 2019

"This article really helped me complete my PE assignment the day before it was due. Thank you so much!"

Katie Kanemaru

Aug 20, 2019

"The videos really helped, because that way I could see how the stretches were supposed to be done. "

Bob Granata

Jul 22, 2019

"Stretching flexibility loosens you up makes me feel awesome!!! Thank you for the motivation!!"
Rated this article:

Vera Gaston

Jul 31, 2019

"I'm 63 and wanted to do some low impact stretches that will help me to stay flexible."

Sri Sridhar

Aug 23, 2019

"Great article. All basic stretching in one place. Exactly what beginner will require."

Sherine Prasanna

Dec 10, 2019

"Great job! The pictures make it easier to understand and learn the stretches."

Bipin Bhand

Jul 9, 2019

"Why not to do stretching and what to do before a workout helped me a lot."
Rated this article:

Yvette Fuller

Nov 10, 2019

"I feel this article was quick, informative and straight to the point."

Eva Nap

Sep 24, 2019

"Very informative, helped me relaxing my muscles after jogging."
Rated this article:


May 11, 2019

"Awesome article for relieving pain right after the workout."

Hajira Zia

Nov 29, 2019

"Just what I was looking for at the moment. Lucid and easy."

Akash S.

Mar 19

"It helps a lot. Easy to understand, thanks to wikiHow."

Alex Anderson

Nov 14, 2019

"This really helped my back and everything, thank you!"

Emi Worth

Jul 11, 2019

"This has helped me stretch for ballet, and splits!"
Rated this article:

Jack Eastman

May 18, 2019

"It's exactly what I was looking for, to be honest."

Sundar Baliah

Aug 12, 2019

"Looks very impressive and highly educative."
Rated this article:

Than Hlira

Jul 15, 2019

"I liked the stretching exercise very much."

Lana Vidovic

Sep 17, 2019

"I do ballet, so this helps me to stretch."
Rated this article:

Kalpana Payagulla

May 31, 2019

"Nice article with short, fast details."

Emma John

Apr 5, 2019

"I know how to do a split now!"
Rated this article:

Pradeep Jatav

May 18, 2019

"Very nice video.

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