Bean Basics: Stretching 101

Hi Friends!

We’re kicking off Fitness Friday a little early around here this week. As you may know, I’ve been participating in Best Body Bootcamp AND I’ve been recovering from a shin splint. One of my goals when bootcamp started was to spend 10 minutes stretching every day. Confession- I am TERRIBLE about stretching. I think it’s boring and I skip over it more often than not.

However, I do know how important it is…which it why I thought it would be a good idea to make it a goal…so that I could get back in the habit. When I got my shin splint, I realized that not stretching my calves after all the running I was doing may have contributed to the shin splint.

So, the good news is I’ve gotten much better about it! But I figured that if I don’t always stretch, then some of you probably aren’t stretching either! So I recruited of my fellow Fitfluential Ambassadors to take over the blog today and share some basic stretches with you guys!

A little about Meghan and her business:

Hot Bird Running, founded by Meghan Reynolds and Jessica Green, promotes long-term wellness and a fitness focused approach to running and goal setting for all levels. USA Track and Field certified running coaches work closely with clients to provide one-on-one support, design and implement training programs, improve overall running performance and expand your running experience.  We believe that running is fun and social as well as healthy.


So listen up, friends! These ladies know what they’re talking about!
To check out their website, CLICK HERE.
To read their blog, CLICK HERE.

I’ll leave the rest of the talking to them.


Stretching is crucial to keeping your muscles healthy as an athlete. Learn some basic stretches to add to your warmup and cool down.

We all know how stretching is important and makes our muscles and bodies feel so much better after a run or a workout. We don’t always do it though, right?  Many of us, athletes, runners and instructors included, do not stretch properly pre and post workout. This post is geared to give you tips and real life examples of how to properly stretch so that your body feels new and improved everyday!

 There are two types of stretches – dynamic and static. We recommend you perform both on a regular basis, and in addition to your running and/or fitness program. Dynamic stretching is best performed at the beginning of a workout because it preps your muscles for power, which you need for a run or any type of fitness class. Static stretching is best for post workout because it allows your muscles to lengthen and rest.

We live in NYC which means very little space. Thus, we recommend to all of our clients that they stretch outside of their house. We purposefully give our clients exercises that require a bar for balance or a step. Thus, they are required to stop outside of their apt and stretch. You don’t need a mat or grass; all the stretches are done standing up and require very little space.

Pre workout:

Run about 1 mile and then perform a few dynamic exercises: high knees, butt kicks, slide and glides, karaoke and leg swings. About 20 meters for each exercise.

Post workout: It’s best to stretch each muscle group for 30 seconds but we know you are busy so count to 10 for each side of the following exercises.

Shoulders/Arms: Bend your elbow behind your head and gently pull the elbow behind you. Repeat, on the other side.

Abdomen & Chest: Interlace your fingers behind your back and move your hands down and away from you to stretch the front of the body.

Hamstrings: Stand with feet together, bend your knees and slowly bend forward. Relax your neck. Slowly bend one leg and then the other to stretch each hamstring.

Hips: Hold onto a railing for balance and cross the left ankle over the right knee. Sit back like you were sitting in a chair to stretch the whole hip area. Repeat on the other side.

Hip Flexor: Step your left foot back and bend your right leg so your knee is directly over your ankle. Push back through your left heel to stretch your left hip flexor.

Hold onto a railing for balance. Bend your left leg so your heel moves towards your glute. Grab the outside of the left foot with your left hand. Bring your knees into alignment, keeping the knee pointed straight down and back straight. Push your hip forward and bring your foot away from your body for more a quad stretch.

Calves: Stand on a step. Drop your left heel off the edge of the step to gently stretch through the calf.

That’s it! Nice and easy. No excuse to not stretch after each and every run. Need extra stretching but don’t have time? Bring a golf ball to work and 2-3x a day, slip your shoes off, stand up and roll your foot on the ball.

Check out our website for more runner specific information: Happy running!


Your turn!

Do you stretch before and after every workout?
What’s your favorite stretch? 


Huge thanks to Meghan and Jessica for sharing their stretching words of wisdom with us! Hopefully this post has inspired those of you who previously skipped over stretching to spend a few minutes doing these simple stretches before and after your next workout!


About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. That hip flexor stretch is probably my favorite stretch ever!
    Erica { } recently posted..Las Cruces: The End

  2. I am a stretcher! I try to fit it in all day everyday!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..ENERGYbits Review

  3. Great post! And I do most of those stretches every time I work out. If I skip stretching, I definitely feel it the next day!
    Betsy recently posted..My Son and the Divorce

  4. I must admit, I don’t incoporate much stretching into my exercises. Coincidentally, I added a bit more yesterday and enjoyed the benefits (through a Yoga routine). I’m hoping to make a better effort of adding stretching to my workout routine.
    Katie @wishandwhimsy recently posted..Traded Zumba for Yoga & A “Clean” Dinner

  5. dynamic stretching has saved me from so many injuries! i love how active it is too.
    lindsay recently posted..Summer Staples- Make it COLD

  6. I don’t because, like you, I think it’s boring and I feel like I’m “too busy” for it! I usually only stretch when I’m super tight or super sore which is probably not a good thing!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..Boston, Here I Come!

  7. Fabulous reminder to stretch! it’s not recommended to stretch before a weight workouts (which is my primary workout), but I need to get a LOT better about stretching after. Especially on leg day!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Grilled PB&J with Peanut Tofu Butter

  8. I’m so glad you posted this on your blog! Lately, I’ve been realizing I need to include stretching into my routine. It’s something I know I should do but often neglect. My knee is starting to hurt after running..and I’m pretty sure it’s from not stretching properly! Stretching is so important to prevent injury!
    Anjali recently posted..Good “Grub” and Good Times

    • Hi Anjali,
      stretching will definitely help your knee. we recommend adding in some strength training as well: squats, one legged squats and single leg deadlifts to help build up the muscles around your knee. consult your doctor if you have one! Good luck!
      Meghan and Jessica

  9. I’m pretty good about post-stretching my upper body, but I am terrible at sticking around for stretching out my lower body or for doing anything pre-workout….and I usually suffer for it later LOL. You would think I’d learn!

    I love the abdomen/chest stretches the best!
    Andrea @ Vegvacious recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday

  10. Love the street stretching from one NYCer to another. Thanks for sharing this Lindsay!
    Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted..5 Tips for Beginning Your Fitness Journey

  11. I don’t stretch before I run, but I do pretty much always stretch after. I also try to get in a good 10 minute stretch at the end of the day before bed.
    Kiersten recently posted..Recruiting for Reach the Beach 2012

  12. I’m weird with stretching … I tend to skip it pre and post workout. Buuuut I have this strange love of stretching in front of the TV every night (along with foam rolling). It’s weird. My scheduling is out of whack 😉 need to incorporate it into my workouts!
    Yellow Haired Girl recently posted..Thankful

  13. Those are very easy stretches to do and it seems like I do them all of the time! I just don’t do the initial warm up stretches – something to add in! Thanks!
    Jen recently posted..Thankful Thursday

  14. When I started running, I barely ever stretched post-run. Now that I’ve upped my mileage significantly, I’m always sure to stretch after I finish any run, and it’s the best feeling ever. My legs get so tight, and stretching out all the tightness and pain is so wonderful. I definitely think it’s helped me stay healthy and uninjured as well, which is huge!
    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions recently posted..Rogue Reviews: If I Stay and Where She Went

  15. I’m so bad at stretching!
    Brittany @ Delights and Delectables recently posted..Vegan Gumbo

  16. I learned the hard way, after injury, how important stretching is.
    Leonor @FoodFaithFitness recently posted..WIAW- travel edition

  17. I try to stretch for at least a minute or two after a workout. I know it saves some pain later if I’ve had a tough weights workout, and I’ve also had some annoying strained muscles in the past that I’d like to not have happen again!
    Charise recently posted..In Season: Grilled Strawberry “Crumble”

  18. Hi. I do all of these stretches and a few more before and after my stretches. My fave stretch has been the hip stretches. Specificallt the one that’s almost like the pigeon pose in yoga. However, as of this week I have to put a hold on my marathon training and will not be doing my 16 mile long run tomorrow. This is my longest run to date. My left hip has really started to hurt. I do yoga, I stretch a ton, i’ve tried rolling it out on the foam roller and bought resistent bands to try and strengthen. Im not really sure what else to do. Somebody said to me I might be over stretching. Is there such a thing? Am I doing too much? Should I just do nothing for a while and let it rest for a week or so or should I try and strengthen. What would be your opinion? Thanks for the help. I’m desperate.

    • Hi Kyndra,

      Yes, you can overstretch. It sounds like you do need some time off and to go see a physical therapist. Do you go to a regular yoga class? If so, talk to the teacher and have them look at how you move.

      Rest is the best option right now! Take a week off and do some gentle yoga classes and stretch around the hip; try to not aggravate it by doing deep stretches. If it’s still really hurting after a week, we recommend you go to a PT. Also, one week off will not hurt your marathon training – it will make you a smarter and stronger runner!

      Good luck!
      -meghan and jessica, hot bird running coaches


  1. […] Basic Stretching 101–The Lean Green Bean […]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP ( and so is spam.

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

FitFluential Is Fitness Found The Lean Green Bean