Stretching the quads is essential for runners. It reduces the risk of injury and can improve strength and endurance during a run. Runners benefit by incorporating two different types of stretching into their routine. Dynamic stretches gear your quads for exercise, increasing the flow of oxygen and warming them for a run. Static stretching helps them relax and reduces tightness after a run.
High knees is a dynamic stretch that warms up the quads and hip flexors. Tuck your elbows by your sides. Run in place for a few seconds, then alternate lifting your knees as high as possible while you run. Pump your arms as you run. Continue for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat twice. Stop sooner if you can’t keep your back straight while you run, as hunching over indicates fatigue.
Doing this static stretch after a run reduces muscular tightness and helps prevent post-run soreness in your quads. Stand up straight and position your feet next to each other. Lift your left foot behind your left glute and wrap your hand around the top of your foot. Pull the top of your foot and press your heel against your glute. Stop when you feel tension in your left quad and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Stretch your right quad the same way. Repeat this stretch six to eight times with each leg.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Flexibility Exercises for Young Athletes
- Shape: Cardio Burst: High Knees
- Family Doctor: Running: Preventing Overuse Injuries
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise