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Useful Stretches for Track Sprinters


The high-intensity exertion of sprinting requires sufficient physical preparation out of necessity to avoid injury. Stretching is at the foundation of effective pre-race technique for competitive track athletes, especially for sprinters. Stretching increases blood flow throughout the body, which enables working muscles to operate at higher efficiency, and decrease the potential for muscle cramps. It also increases muscle and joint flexibility, which helps sprinters avoid painful injuries in the knees, ankles and hips.
Double Leg Stretch

The hamstring is a composed of multiple major tendons and three posterior thigh muscles that extend from the base of buttocks to the knee. This muscle is the source of common injury for track athletes, and must be properly stretched in order to operate effectively. The double leg stretch is a basic, pre-sprint hamstring exercise that warms up the tendons and muscles behind the quadriceps. Cross your feet so that your outer ankles touch while standing up straight, and bend from your waist to reach your toes. Hold this stretch for at least 10 seconds and then switch legs. You should feel a slight pull in your hamstring.

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

The quadriceps, or "quads," are a large, fleshy muscle group that consists of four primary muscles on the front of the thigh. It's a common focus of leg activity in the weight room, and is targeted using isolated movements such as the squat and leg press. The quads are also the primary extensors of the joints in the knees. Effectively stretching the quads decreases the likelihood of track athletes contracting injuries in both thigh muscles and tendons. The standing quadriceps stretch is an effective exercise for warming up all four major muscles. Stand on a single leg while bending your opposite leg at a 90-degree angle. Reach down with one hand and grab the ankle of your bent leg, and pull up to stretch the quads. Hold this stretch for at least 10 seconds and then switch legs.

Butterfly Stretch

The inner legs are composed of what's scientifically referred to as the medial adductor in human anatomy. These muscles are more commonly known as groin muscles. For sprinters, it's important to stretch these muscles in order to avoid injury. The butterfly stretch is a basic exercise for stretching your groin muscles. To effectively execute this stretch, sit on a flat surface with both legs bent at the knees while touching your feet together. Lean slightly forward and apply pressure to your thighs. Hold this stretch for at least 10 seconds.

Lower Back Stretch

Even though the legs are the point of focus for all track athletes, it's also important to stretch the muscles in the lower back. A common lower back stretch for pre-race warm ups involves you lying flat on your back while bending your knees toward your chest. Wrap both of your arms around your lower legs and pull tight to your torso. You should feel a slight pull in your lower back just above the hip region. This stretch will also work the hamstrings. Hold this stretch for at least 10 seconds.


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John Shea is a team sports fanatic and fitness aficionado. His work has been published across a wide platform of online audiences in the realm of health and fitness. His passion for fitness is exemplified in his writing, as he aims to help readers improve their overall well-being.

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