Despite being one of the most effective forms of stretching for runners, dynamic stretching is not only underused - but often overlooked completely by so many people.
Regardless of how fast or slow a runner you are, performing a selection of very simple dynamic stretches before training will make a world of difference to how your legs feel when you take those first few steps, so make it a habit to include them before every training run.
You know that feeling when your legs feel like lead at the beginning of a run?
Dynamic stretches will transform them from lead - into springs!
Put simply, dynamic stretches are when you move muscles through an increasing controlled range of movement.
When you dynamically stretch muscles, the range of movement should always begin small and gradually increase over the course of 15-20 seconds.
It’s essential that every muscle you dynamically stretch is always moved in a controlled manor.
By that we mean that you have the ability to stop that movement whenever you like - unlike “Ballistic stretches” which involve putting muscles through a very quick, repetitive and “bouncing” movement, which is largely uncontrolled and therefore carries a high risk of injury
Dynamic stretches have a dual purpose of not only stretching the muscle fibres, but also waking up the nervous system and readying the body for movement.
With that in mind, the best dynamic stretches for runners are those which closely match similar movements that are involved in a running stride.
Dynamic stretches targeting the thighs, hamstrings and calves are particularly important but including stretches for the hip flexors and adductors (inner thigh) can also be useful before a run.
To see how to perform dynamic stretches for the thighs, hamstrings and calves, take a look at the video above.