© Great Strides 2006 Shelly-lynn Florence Glover
Easy does it. .You should feel the tension in the belly of the muscle, not at the attachments.Move smoothly, both going into and coming out of each stretch. A slowly stretched muscle relaxes and lengthens.
Dont try to do more than your body is able to do. Forcing a stretch, by bouncing or swinging, jerks the muscle reflex to fight back and shorten. It may even pull or tear if overstretched.
Stretch to mild tension holding 10 to30 seconds. Relax for 5 to10 seconds (or alternate with the other leg or another exercise) before repeating the stretch. Do up to three times.
Breathe normally. Holding your breath can create tension. Belly breathe while stretching just as you should when running. Take an abdominal breath (stomach extends as you inhale) and let it out slowly. Emphasize the exhalation as you move into stretch.
Many use the same basic routine every day so they feel comfortable with it; know it and stay with it. Others prefer variety.You may wish to add some strengthening exercises to your stretching routine before or after your run for a total fitness workout. The Runner's Handbook has more than 50 stretches for specific problem areas.
Lower Back and Hamstrings
Sit on the floor with legs extended and feet pointing toward the ceiling.
Bring one foot to the outside of opposite side thigh.
Sit up tall and hug the knee into the center of the chest. Hold 10 seconds.
Sit up tall and hug the knee to the opposite shoulder with the hand of that shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds.
Add a twist to the stretch by placing the free hand behind the back and turning towards the bent leg.
Change sides and repeat.