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How to Do Knee Stretches for Runners

Learn how to do knee stretches that are good for runners in this Howcast video about physical therapy exercises for the knees.


Hi, my name is Eric Sampson and I want to spend a little bit of time talking about good knee stretches for the running population. There's a little bit of research going on saying that about 20 minutes of stretching for every one hour of running or exercise is very important. Most people are not stretching for 20 minutes per one hour of exercise, and also the key is to try to stretch out the muscles that are most involved with your running and that includes your front of your leg called your quadriceps, as well as the back of your leg, called your hamstrings and your calf.

Those are the three muscles that you want to concentrate on the most and in a perfect world you're going to stretch them out pre and post running. But by and large, it's roughly 20 minutes for every one hour of running. The first stretch I want to review is the hamstring stretch. The best technique to stretch the hamstrings out is going to be in line. I think with line you can relax your back muscles and you can relax your other leg as well, so only the leg that's involved is getting stretched. The arms are going to help a little bit, but ultimately it's a much more relaxed position.

So you're going to bend this knee. Good, I'm going to take a strap, I'm going to wrap it around the other leg and from there, you can grab on. The key thing with stretching out your hamstrings is going to be number one, making sure the knee stays straight and number two, making sure the lower back stays straight. That's the one that gets missed a lot. Trying to keep your spine in neutral or keeping your back a little arched is the key to get a better line of pull on the hamstrings.

And from there, you would lift and come on all the way up, til you feel the stretch back through here. You're going to try to hold it for about 20 seconds and then maybe repeat a few times before running, as well as a few times after running. If you feel like you've accomplished a little bit with the first repetition you can try to pull it up a little bit higher, again trying to achieve a stretch through the back of the thigh, and that is your hamstring stretch.

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