Stretching before engaging in a physical activity is very important, as it increases the range of joint motion and loosens up your muscles. When warmed up, muscles are more able to withstand exertion, which reduces the risk of injury. During running, our quads contract when our legs hit the ground, making them the primary muscle used for running. Thus, it is important to stretch your quads before running to warm up the muscles and avoid injury.
Check out our favorite quad stretches for running.
1. Standing Stretch
- Stand on your left foot and grab your right leg by the shin.
- Pull your shin toward your butt so your knee is pointing to the ground. Do not let your knee move to the side.
- Hold for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.
2. Kneeling Stretch
- Position yourself in a lunge. Put your right foot forward and then drop your left knee to the ground.
- Using your left arm, reach back and grab your left foot by the toes.
- Hold it for about half a minute and then switch sides.
3. Lying Side Stretch
- Laying on your right side support your head up with your right hand.
- Grab your left foot by the toes and bend it towards your butt.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Research shows that, while it does not affect our performance, stretching increases flexibility and helps prevent injuries. Keep in mind, however, that there is a body of research which negates the importance of stretching, claiming that stretching before activities like jogging may actually increase the risk of injury.
If you do decide to stretch, these quad stretches for running should be enough. Listen to your body and stop the stretch if you feel pain. Keep proper form and don’t overstretch.