Track sprinters perform a variety of stretches before they run in a race. Since sprinters run at very fast speeds, stretching is necessary to prevent a possible leg injury. Increasing flexibility is another reason why sprinters stretch their legs on a regular basis.
1. Hamstring Stretch
Hamstring injuries are one of the risks that sprinters face when they run in a high speed race. One hamstring stretch a sprinter can do is a double leg stretch. To perform this stretch, the sprinter will stand up straight and then cross his feet so the outside of the ankles touch. He will then bend over from the waist and try to touch his toes, holding the position for at least 10 seconds.
The sprinter can also do a single leg hamstring stretch by asking a teammate for assistance. To perform the stretch, the sprinter needs to place one of his ankles on his teammate’s shoulder, who must be standing up straight. The sprinter will then bend forward and try to touch the toes on the foot that is slightly past his teammate’s shoulder.
2. Standing Quadriceps Stretch
To perform a standing quadriceps stretch, a sprinter has to have good balance, since she will stretch one leg at a time. To start the stretch, the sprinter will stand on one leg and bend the other leg at the knee. She then will need to reach down with her hand and grab the ankle of the leg that is bent. Once she has a firm grasp on the ankle, she simply pulls it up gently toward her body to stretch the quadriceps muscle.
It will take some time to master this stretch since the sprinter must balance herself on one leg, while performing the stretch on the other leg at the same time. To make the stretch easier, the sprinter can place her free hand on the shoulder of a teammate. This will help her to maintain her balance during the stretch.
3. Butterfly Stretch
The butterfly stretch works the sprinter’s inner thigh muscles. To perform the stretch the sprinter needs to sit down on the ground and put the soles of both feet together. He then will need to hold his ankles and pull his feet in toward his body. To stretch the inner thighs, the sprinter can then use his forearms to press down on his lower legs. The sprinter can have a teammate press down on his legs instead, which will help to intensify the butterfly stretch.
4. Lower Back Stretch
Stretching the lower back is important for any sprinter, especially right before a race. To perform a lower back stretch, the sprinter must lie on the ground on her back with her knees bent. She then reaches up and grabs the back of both knees with her hands, then pulls her knees in toward her body. She can also do a variation of the lower back stretch by reaching for her feet instead of her legs. This version of the stretch will also work the hamstring muscles.