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Stretching your capabilities

Talking to a lot of runners and rugby players of late, I've been asking if they stretch and it seems that the vast majority do stretches simply because everyone else is doing them and they copy the same ones.

Over the last six months, I have found that in runners the areas most likely to be under-flexible are hip flexors, ankles and big toes. I will put some flex tests up on here so you can assess these areas in yourselves next week. In rugby players it has been backs, hip flexors, knees and ankles.

The other issue I am finding is that because people spend so much time sitting down these days, they are turning off the muscles they then want to run with, detraining them almost. They then go out and run and sometimes pick up really silly injuries.

Dynamic and active stretching is something I have found real benefit from personally and again I will put some examples up later today. In terms of turning these run muscles back on again, the most important areas to work will be the glutes, lower back, hamstrings remembering to isolate the area behind the knee, hip adductors and abductors, quads and calves.

If you don't have time to do them after you run or do your aerobic set, do them before bed as this will help your body repair overnight, reduce the chance of injuries and you should also get a better night's sleep into the bargain.

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