• MK

Quick & Easy Post-Run Rope Stretch Routine

Updated: May 8

stretching ropes for runners | madelinekopp.com

Rope Stretching For Runners

Whether you've just started running or you've been doing it for a long time, you probably experience muscle soreness.

Actually, I know you have. 😜

So I'm sure that you've tried a ton of different recovery techniques to help with those sore muscles...I know I have over the years as a runner.

I hate to be that girl, but I'm going to introduce to you yet another way to recover: rope stretching for runners.

Post-run rope stretching is definitely worth trying, and that's an opinion I held even when rope stretching was relatively new to me.

Trying new ideas is just part of the process of reaching peak athletic performance, so I decided to explore the idea when my coach introduced the idea of post-run rope stretching. Why not, right?

Obtaining a rope and learning the movements is easy!

So now I'm here to talk about why you can benefit from rope stretching as a runner, breaking it down into a simple concept so you can make the decision for yourself.

And then to wrap it all up, we'll finish the post with 7 different rope stretching exercises that you can add as a quick addition to your cool-down or warm-up routine.

If you want to jump right to the stretching rope exercise examples, you can click here.

Using a rope for stretching can take anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes...so easy!

stretching rope

What is Rope Stretching?

The first question that comes to mind is probably, "why do I need a rope to stretch?"

Maybe you've been stretching just fine since dance class at 4 years old.

Which is fair, I totally get that.

Rope stretching, though, is a great technique for dynamic stretching, which sometimes gets overlooked. But it's super-valuable to know about!

Dynamic stretching is the type of stretching you'd typically do in a warm-up because it

  • warms up the muscles making them less stiff

  • doesn't hinder their ability to move quickly

Basically, instead of holding a long slow stretch, dynamic stretching is characterized by movements.

You can do dynamic moves without a rope, but a leg stretching rope gives you a helping hand. Rope stretching is technically called Active Isolation (AI) stretching because you isolate and focus on one muscle at a time.

Activated isolate stretching was keyed by Phil Wharton, so if you want more background research and sciencey reasons to learn rope stretching for runners, look him up.

Here's how to do active isolation stretching:

  1. Do your best to reach your full range of motion in a stretch, unassisted at first, relying on your muscles only.

  2. Then, you gently pull on the stretching rope to feel the stretch. The key is using your own muscle first, activating it, which then really isolates the opposite area (the one you're trying to stretch).

The theory with using a rope for stretching is that stretching your muscles too extensively can trigger the muscular protective reflex. This reflex happens when muscles freak out and want to prevent themselves from tearing.

AKA, if you're pulling your muscle more than it's used to, it will be like "whoa whoa stop, I need to protect myself" and then trigger this reflex.

The rope stretching technique keeps everything controlled so that this doesn't happen.

The stretching rope exercise also involves activating the muscle opposite of the one you are stretching which actually helps the targeted muscle relax even more.

(Ex: hamstring stretch, quads contract.)

active isolated stretching

When Should You Do Rope Stretches?

Another big question to figure out is when should you stretch when running.

When it comes to this type of stretching, you can do rope stretching before workouts, after workouts, and/or off days!

Most important is figuring out what works best for your routine and your body. I've known people who do rope stretching at each of these times because it works for them specifically.

Stretching is a healthy body movement for everyone, even if you don't do frequent extreme exercise.

I know people who like to rope stretch before the workout to loosen everything up without slowing down their muscles. I prefer to do it after workouts as a part of my cool-down.

Remember, routines are great and I absolutely love how we share routines with each other so much, but at the end of the day everyone is unique.

Do what makes you feel the best.

Big fan of off days? Trust me, I am too.

But an off day doesn't always mean doing absolutely nothing. Take advantage of the extra time for maintenance and recovery on days you don't have a workout.

This is where rope stretching is a great option!

Getting Into A Stretching Rope Routine

Did you know that there are stretching rope specialists?

Stretch specialists can tell you everything you need to know about maximizing the effects of rope stretching. I learned movements from someone who helps people stretch for a living and it was interesting and helpful to learn some of the nuances of these movements.

You can also find fitness places like Stretch*ed, which have professionals who walk you through a full stretching routine.

I'm not a stretch specialist obviously, but here are some of the main rope stretching movements I use now because they are great rope stretches for runners.

They target hamstrings, quads, hips, and glutes. Give them a try after your next workout! Soon you'll want to do them every single day.

If you're looking for the best stretching rope, I put links at the end of this post showing you where you can get ropes.

4 Ways to Stretch Your Hamstring With a Rope

  • Rope on bottom of foot, coming up evenly on both sides