Looking for some easy and effective running stretches to utilize in your daily routine? Well you’ve found the right place, as we break down the 12 favorite stretches for women athletes!
We have broken down our stretches into four major groups: Legs, Arms, Back, and Abs. Check out each section for pictures and helpful descriptions to ensure you are conducting your stretches properly.
As with all workout routines, please consult with your doctor to ensure you are of proper health and physically capable of performing these techniques.
Best Leg Stretches for Women
Your legs are the hardest working part of your body when you are running. Check out these leg stretch techniques to ensure you get the most out of your run. Even if you don’t normally stretch when running, its important to try to incorporate one if not all of the below leg stretch techniques to avoid injury.
#1- Calf Stretch:
I will often do this stretch before and after my runs just to warm up my calves. It comes down to personal preference, really, but its a nice way to warm up your calf muscles, without going into a deep stretch.
1. For this exercise you will need to find a nearby wall, bench or lamp post to use for resistance. Standing in front of your resistance object, place your right toes three inches high, while keeping your heel on the ground.
2. Press through your heel until you feel a deep stretch in your calf. Hold this position for 15 seconds before switching legs.
#2- Standing Quad Stretch:
I also do this stretch before and after my run because it doesn’t have to be too deep. Be careful when you are using this stretch that you don’t force it, or pull your foot too much. Allow yourself to feel the stretch in your quad, but not to cause discomfort.
1. This exercise will may also require a wall or post for balance. But, if you have a strong core, you should be find standing alone.
2. With your right hand, grab your right ankle and pull towards your buttocks.
3. Make sure that your hips and core are straight by making sure your knees are lined up. Hold this position for 15 seconds before switching legs.
#3- Hamstring Stretch:
Hamstrings play such an important role in your stride, and tend to shorten or become less flexible after many years of running. Make sure to stretch these muscles often to avoid injury or strain.
Many runners complain of tight hamstrings after a workout. Stretching this muscle can alleviate this problem, and prevent further injury. Tight hamstrings can cause lower back pain, muscle tears, and joint pain.
1. While laying on your back, raise one leg as high as you can, keeping the knee straight.
2. For a deeper stretch, pull your leg towards your body with your hands.
3. Hold your leg in this position for 15 seconds, before switching legs.
To avoid injury, it’s important to not allow your lower back to arch, and raise off of the ground.
#4- Butterfly (Inner Thigh & Groin Stretch):
This is one of my favorite stretches because it works your groin and inner thighs – muscles that few stretches can relieve. With this stretch, make sure to find a good steady position to hold, instead of bouncing your knees.
1. While sitting on the floor, bend your knees, and press your two feet together in front of you.
2. Grab both feet with your hands, and press both knees downward towards the floor.
3. For a deeper stretch, lean forward over your feet. Hold this exercise for 15 seconds.
Best Arm Stretches for Women
Arm stretch techniques for runners? Believe it or not, it’s true! Your arms play an important role in every run. They are needed to maintain balance and to keep your momentum while propelling you down that path.
It is important to keep your arms engaged throughout the entire run. You definitely count on them when you get tired to keep your stride in check.
So while these stretches may not be the first thing to come to your mind after a jog, try out these two techniques and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
#5- Arm Pull Across Chest:
This is a common stretch, used by athletes in many sports. You not only get a good shoulder stretch, but will also work the muscles in your back and your neck.
1. While standing, bring your right arm across your chest and point to the left.
2. Use your left arm to pull your right elbow across your body, holding with steady pressure.
3. Hold this exercise for 15 seconds before switching arms and repeating.
#6- Tricep Stretch:
Another oldie but goodie. Watch any race and you may catch the athletes doing this exact tricep stretch. It is great for the back of your arms, shoulders, and upper back. Do this stretch and feel the stress exit.
1. Reach your right arm above your head, bend your elbow, reaching your hand towards your back.
2. Use your left hand to easily pull your right elbow backwards, feeling the stretch.
3. Breathing slowly, hold this for 15 seconds, releasing the tension in your arms, back and shoulders.
4. Release your arms and repeat on the other side.
Best Back Stretches for Women
Do you suffer from a tight lower back when running? Luckily, I follow these back stretch techniques to ease my pain and ensure I get the most out of my run.
Tight back muscles can lead to many other issues such as sore legs and hips. Below, I have listed three of my favorite stretches for the lower back to get rid of that that balled-up stress.
#7- Child’s Pose (Lower Back Stretch):
This exercise will relax and stretch your back muscles, but also offer some relief to your glutes, quads, and thighs.
1. While kneeling on all fours, sit back on your heels, allowing the rest of your body to sink forward.
2. Relax your upper body toward your knees, and keep your arms reaching out straight in front of you on the floor.
3. Hold this pose for 15 seconds.
4. For an extra stretch, turn over onto your back, and hug your knees to your chest. You can either rock backwards and forwards in this position for a spine massage, or hold a static position for 15 seconds.
#8- Butt & Lower Back Stretch
Though this stretch is slightly more challenging, it is an great if you are looking for a really deep stretch for your butt and lower back.
1. While laying on your back, bend your right leg at the knee, cross in front of the left leg, with your ankle resting right above the left knee.
2. Raise your left foot that is still on the ground, so that you may grab the back of your left leg with your arms, and intertwine your hands.
3. For a deeper stretch, pull your legs towards you. Hold this position for 15 seconds before switching legs.
#9- Yoga-Inspired Butt & Lower Back Stretch
This stretch instantly became one of my favorites in my yoga practice, and naturally migrated into my post-run stretching routine. The key is not to force your knee to far to the ground, and to maintain deep breaths while holding the position.
1. Lay flat on your back and extend your left leg. Bring your right knee to your chest.
2. Place your left hand on your right knee, and slowly rotate your knee towards the ground.
3. For a deeper stretch, extend your right arm flat on the ground and turn your head to look at your fingers. Hold this position for 15 seconds before switching sides.
Best Abs Stretches for Women
After a good run, chances are we also had an excellent abdominal workout . Try these simple abs stretch techniques to speed up your recovery time.
By using these exercises regularly, you will reduce muscle soreness the next day. This also allows you to elongate the muscle fibers, keeping you lean and strong.
The following are my three favorite abs stretch techniques. Each one is easy to do, does not require you to lay on the ground, and will definitely give you a great stretch. When executing the stretch, go only to the point of sensation, and release the stress and tightness you are holding.
#10- Oblique Stretch:
Your oblique abs are the muscles on your side underneath your rib cage. I definitely feel soreness in this region after a long run and make sure I do the following:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your left arm hanging by your left side.
2. Reach your right hand over your head, pointing your fingers, andcurling towards your left side.
3. Tilt your head to look at your fingers, and feel the sweet burn in your obliques.
4. Hold for 15 seconds before switching sides and repeating.
#11- Cobra Pose:
This exercise feels awesome right after doing some crunches. Since you will be laying on your stomach, look for some dry grass nearby, or wait until you get home.
1. While laying face-down with your legs shoulder-width apart, place your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders.
2. Push up with your arms, raising your upper torso off of the floor, arching your back, and looking towards the sky.
3. If you are feeling exceptionally strong, lift your knees off the ground and support yourself on the tops of your feet. You should feel a deep stretch in your abs.
4. Breathe slowly and hold for 15 seconds.
#12- Upward Salute:
I learned this pose in yoga, and it has stuck with me for good reason. This is a great stretch for your whole midsection and will leave you feeling invigorated!
1. Standing erect, raise both arms straight above your head, interlocking your fingers.
2. Begin to slowly reach backward behind your head until you feel the stretch.
3. Hold this pose for 15 seconds, release the hands and return them to your side.
With these stretches in hand, go and grab one of our free training schedules, and have a fabulous workout!!