Runners lunge

The runner's lunge is one of the best stretches for everyone, not just runners. The stretch targets your iliopsoas. Because of the importance of these muscles to your back health and overall leg health, no matter what, stretching this area is a must.

If this stretch is uncomfortable for you to get into, try doing it with your back leg extended on an exercise bench and your front foot on the floor.

To do this stretch, follow these steps:

1. Begin standing with your legs spread about two feet apart with the right foot in front of you and the left foot behind you (see Figure 7-2a).

2. Inhale and as you exhale, bend both knees until you can place both hands on the floor directly behind your right heel.

3. Slide your left leg back far enough so you can lower your knee to the floor without putting weight on your kneecap (see Figure 7-2b).

4. Inhale again and as you exhale gently press the front of the hip of your left leg toward the floor.

5. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds or four to five slow, deep breaths.

6. Repeat the same stretch on the right side.

Figure 7-2:

Stretching your iliopsoas in the runner's lunge.

Figure 7-2:

Stretching your iliopsoas in the runner's lunge.

A few do's and don'ts for this stretch:

1 Do keep your chest lifted and your shoulder blades down. 1 Do keep your front knee at a right angle and directly over your front heel. i Do progress through the stretch gradually and slowly.

1 Don't jut your front knee forward — if your front knee is moving forward, you could be putting undue strain on your knee.

1 Don't put your weight on the kneecap of the leg behind you. Instead, your weight should be supported on the softer part of your leg just above your kneecap.

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