- Calf & Achilles Stretch: Stand with one foot in front of the other with enough space between the front and back foot that when you bend the front knee, you can feel a stretch in the calf of the leg in back. If you do this stretch with the leg in the back having a STRAIGHT knee, you will feel this stretch in the upper portion of the calf. When you perform this stretch with the back leg in a BENT position, the stretch will be felt closer to the Achilles. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds. Do not bounce.
- Quad Stretch: Stand on one foot and bend the opposite knee (preferably catching and holding onto that ankle, back of your shoe or sock). The goal here is to keep the bent knee pointing to the ground. Try to avoid bending forward and letting bent knee push forward, behind or out to the side. If holding onto the foot isn’t possible, stand in a split-stance with one foot in front of the other. Bend both knees, squeeze the glutes and tilt the pelvis under until a stretch is felt in the front of the thigh of the BACK leg. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat for other leg.
- Hamstring Stretch: Stand on one foot with the opposite foot either elevated onto your running board or car door frame. Keep the extended leg as straight as possible while bending supporting leg. It is important to keep foot relaxed to get the stretch to target your hamstrings. If you flex your toes upward, you will very likely feel this stretch in your calf and stop the stretch before you feel it in your hamstring.
- IT Band Stretch: Stand facing your car and cross one leg behind the other. Lean towards the leg in the back and push weight towards and into that hip. (If you are standing with your left leg behind the right, lean left and vice versa.) You really need to lean INTO that hip to feel the stretch. Do not tilt from the waist.
- External Hip Rotation & Piriformis Stretch: Sit on your running board or car door frame (with door open) and cross one leg over the other with the knee open. Press down on the open knee until a gentle stretch is felt in hip rotators. Release the stretch and from the cross-legged position, bend forward to feel deep glute stretch (piriformis).
- Lower Back Stretch: Sit on your running board or car door frame (with door open). Put feet about hip-width apart. Start with hands on your knees and slowly let hands slide down shins towards your feet. This is safer than just dropping hands to feet with no support. If you can reach your feet, take one hand and see if you can reach the ground. Put that hand back on your foot and see if you can reach the other hand to the ground. Alternate this a few times until you can put both hands on the ground.
Hold each of these stretches for about 10 seconds. Repeat if this is a particularly tight area. Remember to breathe and avoid holding your breathe during these stretches. If anything hurts, stop. Stretches should only reach a point of slight discomfort. Pain is not the goal and could result in injury.