Pictures of Stretch Exercises

For a discussion of stretching, read my stretching page. Remember the cardinal rule of stretching: You should feel no pain, that is, don't stretch so hard that you injure yourself! It's OK to feel stiffness while you stretch, but not pain as in "injury". When you stretch, hold each position for 10 - 15 seconds and then relax. Repeat as many times as you'd like. I only do them one or two times. Be gentle with your muscles because your muscles are cold before you run and tired after you run. Click a picture for a larger view.

Note: There is one stretch that is not illustrated in this page. The stretch is called the "furniture lift", and it strengthens your legs. While wearing your running shoes, place your toe under the edge of a sofa or heavy chair and lift up with your toe as if you were attempting to move the furniture. The purpose is not to actually move the furniture but to put stress on your shins. Hold the stress for 10-15 seconds and then relax. Repeat using the other toe, and repeat the sequence several times. I only do each foot one time.








Notes on the stretches:
Row 1: Calves.Three variations of the wall pusher. Last two are for the Soleus muscle.
Row 2: Quads & hams. Traditional stretches.
Row 3: Buttocks. Pull knee towards opposite side of the body. Can also be done from a chair.
Row 3: Quads. Hold leg in air, against gravity. Can also be done from a chair.
Row 4: Hips & knees. Keep legs straight & rotate from the hip. Last two, push/pull toe against toe. Can also be done from a chair, as long as your legs are straight and not bent. Remember to rotate whole legs.
Row 5: ITB. Put leg to be stretched behind other leg and lean back.
Row 6: Stomach. Sit ups. Keep shoulders off ground, hands in front to put stress on lower back. You can also do this from a chair and bending over such that your head is down between your legs. Using a chair, though is not quite as effective as lying on a floor.
Row 6: Correction to picture. When back is on ground, knees should be bent.

Row 7: Lower back. Last two, pull knee to nose if possible, but don't pull so hard you experience pain. You can also sit on the edge of a chair and bend over such that your head is near your waist.


John said...

Thanks for all the wonderful information about running and beginning running and the articles you share and the stretches.

I am a 48 yr old overweight male and really want to run. I have tried for 3 months and keep getting the bad shin splints. I can run 1 mile now though without walking and 3.1 with a run/walk alternating. I was about to give up and found this site and it makes so much sense. I am not going to quit after all but will presevere and rest the shins and start back slower. I hope the shin muscles/tendons will adapt soon.

Thanks for the excellent site here Allen !

Allen said...

You're welcome, John! I'm glad you're finding the site helpful.

As you start over, increase the amount of walking compared to the running. That will help your body become stronger with less risk of injury. Do the furniture lift stretch before and after your workouts. Be sure to not take long strides. Aim for a stride rate of 170-180 strides per minute. This means you'll be taking smaller steps but more of them. Shin splints are a sign that you're overdoing it, so cut back on your distance and speed such that you don't get them anymore. More walking is one key to doing that.

Mark Garso 3557 said...

Great stretches. Appropriate tretching is often overlooked or even skipped. I have found as I get older, the more and more stretching I need to do to ward off injury/soreness and have more successful runs.

Mark F Garso 3557

Anonymous said...

Extremely unhelpful. How did you think such small pictures would be of any help at all I can't make out what he is doing in most of them.

Allen said...

You're right, Anon. The pictures are awfully small. The big pictures got lost when I converted the site from a traditional site to a blog format. I need to take some time and put big pictures back on the page when the thumbnails are clicked. Thanks for the reminder.

Tess said...

Thanks so much for this! You have inspired me to stretch better (and also to hope for injury-free running). I appreciate your taking the time to show these great stretches!

The Porters said...

This may be helpful. I do not run anymore due to a ruptured disc in my lower back, but I fell hard. As soon as the swelling and bruising goes away, I will try these stretches. Thanks for posting the information.

John Smith said...

Great article ever author it give me the idea how to maintain body with stretching exercise :) Thank you

Stretching exercises with pictures