Five stretches that boost middle distance runners' endurance capacity
Runners will probably book better times if, before running 3-5 kilometres, they do five simple stretching exercises. Researchers at Rakuno Gakuen University will publish an article about them soon in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The stretching programme only takes three minutes, but boosts endurance capacity considerably.
The Japanese researchers did an experiment with 7 well-trained male runners, all of whom were long and middle-distance runners. The researchers got the men to run on two occasions – once after they had been sitting on a chair for several minutes and once after they had stretched their hip and leg muscles for several minutes.
The stretch programme consisted of the following five exercises.
#1: stretch for the hip extensors.
#2: stretch for the leg extensors.
#3: stretch for the hip flexors.
#4: stretch for the leg flexors.
#5: stretch for the plantar flexors.
The athletes did dynamic stretching, so as fast as they could. They did 1 set of 10 reps for each exercise.
If you're not sure what the difference is between dynamic and static stretching, click here for an short explanation.
After completing their stretch programme, or after sitting on a chair, the subjects ran on a treadmill at a speed that required them to use 90 percent of their VO2max.
The researchers got their subjects to run until the point of exhaustion. They discovered that the athletes could run for longer after having stretched their muscles. The stretching also increased the distance the runners managed to cover.
"This finding suggests that this dynamic stretching routine if used during actual warm-ups for well-trained runners might improve their race times in 3000-5000 meters events in track and field", the Japanese wrote in summary. "Thus, we recommend that well-trained runners and their coaches utilize the dynamic stretching protocol described in the present study."
J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Apr 29. [Epub ahead of print].
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