How to do cross country stretching

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

For my shin splints I researched that tightness in my calves, also known as the Gastrocnemious muscle, was ultimately causing my pain.

Step 2

I was introduced to the Prostretch by Medi-Dyne a half-wheel looking device you place your foot in.

Step 3

One foot at a time, you rock your heel downward and toe up to stretch the calf completely. Once this is repeated on both feet, holding each stretch anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds, you can repeat the same things on the ground.

Step 4

Pretend you are pushing on a wall with one foot ahead of the other. By putting more weight on the back foot, you can feel the stretch in the back of your lower leg.

Step 5

Repeat this on each leg once with the toe of the back foot pointed inward, and once with the toe pointed outward away from the body (again hold these stretches 10-20 seconds).

Step 6

These different positions will stretch all the different angles of the muscle and over time will help to relieve the tension pulling on the front of the leg.

Step 7

Just as the lower part of the leg is important to prevent injury so is the upper leg; the Quad and Hamstring muscles.

Step 8

It is important to stretch these muscles post run mainly to relieve Lactic Acid Build Up (LABU).

Step 9

LABU is a bi-product of strenuous exercise and because the upper leg houses such large muscle groups, they tend to accumulate a lot of Lactic Acid. Accumulation of Lactic Acid causes delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS); which retards recovery for your next performance.

Step 10

Starting with the quadricepts in the front upper leg, to stretch these muscles bend the knee and kick the foot back. By grabbing hold of the foot, you are able to feel tension in the front of the thigh. Because you are on one foot you may want to hold onto something, however, balance is another important aspect to train.

Step 11

To stretch the Hamstrings, a great trick is to use a Yoga stretching strap or any strap or band that will help to put you into a deeper stretch. Sit down on a mat with your legs straight out. loop the strap around your feet and hinge at the waist pulling the strap and reaching as far to your toes as possible (people able to reach their toes will not need the strap). Hold these stretches 10-20 seconds and repeat up to 3 times as needed.

Step 12

Do not underestimate the amount of work your upper body is doing during a run. You are also going to want to stretch your torso and arms alike.

Step 13

By laying face down on a mat bring your hands to your sides at chest level. Here, push up your torso keeping your legs on the mat. Focus your gaze toward the ceiling and maintain deep breaths.

Step 14

Lastly stretch one straightened arm across the chest and apply pressure with your other hand on the upper part of the arm pushing the outstretched arm toward the chest. You should feel a stretch across the shoulder and Bicep area. Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat on both sides.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

I mentioned "Post- stretching", mainly because stretching cold muscles is less affective and can cause injury instead of preventing it. Make sure these stretches are completed after a warm up or after your workout. Stay stretched to stay running!

Stuff You'll Need

Suggested Further Reading

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This Student Author's Background

Funny or interesting story about this topic...

Cross country runners log hundreds of miles a month spending hours a day running. That said, most will hit the showers instead of doing a 5-minute post workout stretch.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

Running high school cross country I was constantly plagued by shin splints. I was too stubborn to give up, so research was my next option. I tried everything to heal the problem. In the end I found the best treatment was prevention.

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