Stretching should be an essential part of every training plan. Stretch at the end of every workout to avoid tightness in the muscles and reduce injury risk. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and do them all at least once.

Front thighs (quadriceps) stretch

Front thighs

Photos by Eddie Macdonald

Why do it? Tight thighs can cause knee or muscle injuries or damage to the kneecap.

• Stand on your right leg and grab your left ankle with your left hand.
• Pull your heel up towards your bottom, keeping your knees together.
• Keep the supporting leg slightly bent (i.e. not locked) and keep your torso upright.
• Hold, then repeat on the other leg.

ITB stretch

ITB stretch

Why do it? Stretching your ITB can reduce the pressure on your knees.

• While standing, cross the right leg over the left.
• Extend your arms upwards. Grab your left wrist with your right hand.
• Bend to the right at the waist, making sure you lean sideways and not forwards or backwards.
• Hold this position and repeat on the other side.

Upper back stretch

Upper back stretch

Why do it? A tight upper back can also be caused by long periods OF sitting. Avoid this exercise if you have any knee issues.

• Kneel down on the floor and lower your bottom down to sit on your heels.
• Gradually extend your arms out in front of you as you sit back to stretch your spine.
• Rest your forehead on the floor and hold.
• Only go as far as feels comfortable.

Hamstring stretch

Hamstring stretch

Why do it? Hamstrings can be tight if you do a lot of cardio exercise.

• Lie on your back with your heels on the floor.
• Extend your left leg up towards the ceiling.
• Holding your left thigh, gently pull your leg towards your body. Hold.
• Don’t bounce the stretch.
• Repeat on the other leg.

Calf stretch

Calf stretch

Why do it? Tight calf muscles can result in ankle, knee and hip injuries.

• Place the toes of your left foot on a weight or step.
• Step forwards with your right foot and hold the stretch.
• Don’t bend the back knee.
• Repeat on the other leg.

Lower back stretch

Lower back stretch

Why do it? Your lower back can get tight from long periods spent sitting.

• Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat together.
• Gently and under control, take both knees from side to side as far as you are able, without pain.
• Repeat this five to ten times on each side.

Hip-flexor stretch

Hip flexor

Why do it? Your hip flexors lift your knees. If these muscles get tight it can cause pain in your hips and lower back.

• Kneel on your left knee, placing your right foot in front of you.
• Push your hips forwards until you feel the stretch around your hips and front thigh.
• Hold this position and then repeat on the other side.
• Make sure you don’t slouch. Keep your torso upright throughout.

Glute (bottom) stretch

Glute stretrch

Why do it? Your glute muscles support you during running and other forms of cardio. they tend to be weak in a lot of people due to long hours spent sitting at a desk.

• Lie on a mat on your back.
• Gently place your right ankle across your left knee.
• Grab hold of your left thigh and pull your left knee in towards your chest. Hold.
• Don’t bounce the stretch.