Essential Static Stretches

Four must-do moves for injury prevention.

By Selene Yeager
static stretch quad stretch blond woman exercise fitness run injury prevention
Photograph: Vasko Miokovic Photography

No time for yoga? Stretching the spots that become chronically tight overtime—namely, your hamstrings, calves, quads and back—post-workout or after a light warm-up, such as a five-minute walk, will go a long way toward warding off aches and pains. Do these four simple stretches three to four times most days of the week.

Quad Stretch (left): Stand with your left hand resting on a stable support. Bend your left leg behind you. Grasp the top of your left foot with your left hand, keeping your back and hips straight. Gently pull your foot toward your butt and press the top of your foot into your hand until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.

Hamstring stretch: Place your left foot on a step or bench. Keeping your back straight, flex your foot and bend forward from your hip. Continue to lean into it until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.

Calf Stretch: Stand facing a step or a curb. Keeping your back, straight step forward with the left foot and place the ball of the foot on the edge of the step, allowing the heel to rest on the ground. Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Upper Back: Stand tall and reach arms forward in front of you, placing your hands together, palms pressing into one another. Reach your hands forward until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Keeping your hands together, reach overhead until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.

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First Published May 17, 2011

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