5 Stretches You Should Do Before Running

If you’re training for a marathon or half marathon (or simply trying to ease the lower back pain that often comes with weekly runs), chances are you could use some stretching right about now. Not only will stretching help prevent injury, but it can also help improve your runs as you begin to work out some of the built-up knots and tension points in your body. To discover exactly what stretches work best for runners, we turned to C9 Champion brand ambassador, CosmoBody channel fitness expert, and author of The 30 Second Body: Eat Clean. Train Dirty. Live Hard., Adam Rosante. Here’s a look at his picks for the best stretches to loosen up the tight areas that often come from running.

1. Standing Quads

Standing Hammies

Source: Adam Rosante

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend your right knee and — keeping the knee pointing down — take your right foot in your right hand and gently pull your heel toward your butt. Hold for five slow, deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

2. Standing Hammies

Standing Quads

Source: Adam Rosante

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot forward and flex that foot. Keeping a neutral spine, bend your left knee and sit your hips back, reaching your torso toward your right leg. Hold for five slow, deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

3. Hanging Calves

Hanging Calves

Source: Adam Rosante

Stand with the balls of your feet on an elevated ledge, like a stair or curb. Let your bodyweight pull your heels down as you reach the crown of your head to the sky. Hold for five slow, deep breaths. If you’re having trouble balancing, you can do one foot at a time.

4. Seated Spinal Twist

Seated Spinal Twist

Source: Adam Rosante

Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your knees, bringing your right heel close to your left butt cheek as you cross your left foot over your right knee, placing it on the floor. The outside of your left ankle should be next to your left knee. Reach your right fingertips to the sky, then twist your torso to the left, bringing your left palm to the floor behind you as you take your right elbow over your left thigh. Press into the floor with your left palm as you press your right elbow into the thigh to deepen the twist. Hold for five slow, deep breaths. Gently unwind the pose and repeat on the opposite side.

5. Lunge Lizard

Lunge Lizard

Source: Adam Rosante

Step your right foot forward and lower into a deep lunge, placing both hands on the floor on the inside of your right foot. Reach up tall through your torso and gently lower your back knee to the floor, pointing the toes backward. Take hold of the right foot with the right hand and press your right elbow into your right shin to open the hip a bit more as you turn through the torso to look to the left. Hold for five slow, deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

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