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Five Simple Stretches for Runners and Cyclists

Stretching is often an overlooked but extremely important aspect of an exercise routine. After a workout, all you need is another few minutes to get in some basic stretching that I feel will help prevent injures, speed recovery, improve performance, and provide a nice signal to the mind/body that it can begin the healing and rebuilding process.

Below are five basic exercises that I do after running or cycling. I will hold each stretch for 20 seconds.

IT Stretch

Place right leg across your body, past your left foot. The slowly bend from the waist to your right. You will typically feel the stretch along your left hip/upper IT band. Repeat for other hip/IT.

IT Stretch

Bumper Stretch

Hold on to some kind of immovable object and act as though you are sitting with one ankle over the other leg’s knee. You will feel a nice stretch along the outer “bumper” muscle. This area can get tight after a run or bike ride. Repeat with other leg.

Note: Do not extend your support knee if front of your support ankle to reduce knee stress.

Butt Stretch

Calf Stretch

Place one leg about one step behind your body and include a fair amount of body weight on it. Then lean forward with your arms against a wall to provide support. You will feel the stretch in your back leg’s calf muscle. Repeat with other leg.

Calf Stretch

Hamstring Stretch

Place one leg a step or so in front of your body. Slowly bend from the waist over the forward leg and feel the nice stretch in your hamstring. Repeat with other leg.

Hamstring Stretch

Quad Stretch

Find a wall or object to keep you from falling on your face (unless you have great balancing skills). Then raise your ankle behind you body towards your hand and relax the leg after you have grabbed onto the ankle. Slowly pull your ankle towards your “bumper” and the feel the quad muscle stretch. Repeat with other leg.

Quad Stretch

All done!

So let’s do a little math. (20 seconds per stretch) x (5 stretches x 2 legs) = 200 seconds = 3 minutes 20 seconds of stretching! That is a fairly short amount of time considering you are stretching every major muscle group in your lower body.

After your next run or ride, give these stretches a try and let me know what you think of them!

Of course, if you feel any major discomfort when performing any stretch, it probably is a good idea to stop.

What other stretches do you like to do after a run or ride?

Feel the BuzZ!

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

2 Responses to “Five Simple Stretches for Runners and Cyclists”

  1. on 28 May 2008 at 7:29 pm David

    My PT wife helps me do the ‘bumper’ stretch lying down. One thing I think gives me a little more benefit is to gently push my knee outward/away (as she provides some resistance), and then stretch a little farther. Doing this several times I can get a much longer stretch without discomfort.

    This seems to help a lot after a workout.

  2. on 28 May 2008 at 8:05 pm David Hanenburg

    Thanks for the tip. Now I need to go sweet talk my wife. 🙂