3. Side Stretch
Side stitches are a common complaint among runners, but fitness expert Stew Smith, CSCS, says you can help prevent them by doing this torso stretch before running. You can perform this from a standing position (pictured above), or as Schultz recommends, you can add a side stretch to the hip flexor stretch from the previous stretch.
- Bring your arms over your head.
- Keeping your abdominals tight, lean to the right, bending at the waist.
- Hold for a few seconds, and then lean to the left.
- Do this movement dynamically, holding for one or two breaths on each side before switching.
4. Dynamic Pigeon Pose
Schultz recommends doing this variation of yoga’s classic Pigeon pose to stretch the glutes and the iliotibial (IT) band that runs along the outer thigh.
- From seated, fold your right knee in front of you on the floor so your knee is pointing out to the right slightly and the outside of your thigh and shin are on the floor.
- Extend your left leg behind you, keeping your leg straight and the top of your thigh, shin and foot on the ground.
- Add a torso twist by bringing your right hand up behind your right ear, and then twisting to your left so your elbow comes across your body.
- Repeat five to eight times on each side.
5. Hip Circle
Your hips bear a lot of force while you’re running, so opening up the joints and muscles of that area before hitting the pavement can help prevent injury. A few minutes of hip circles is an easy way to do this.