Stretching 101

by Spartan Coaches

For most obstacles in a Spartan Race, your ability to bend will keep you from breaking. This is because stretching is related not only increased flexility and range of motion, but also injury prevention. This is why a Spartan stretches daily.

Do the following stretching routine to help you maintain flexibility. It will only take a few minutes, and you will feel better afterwards.

Fire Jumping Stretch Routine

1. Hip stretch – Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your butt and raise it off the ground so that your knees, hips, and shoulders are in one straight line. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat 10-20 times. This will help wake up your hips and glutes, and warm you up for the next stretch.

2. Squat Stretch – Keeping your feet flat on, simply squat down so that your butt nearly touches to floor. Do 6-8 repetitions of this, pausing for 2 seconds at the bottom of the squat, attempting to maintain a tall spine.

3. Toe Touch Stretch - Once you’ve squatted a few times, and have your ankles, hips, and spine all working together, the stage is set for a toe touch. Do 10 repetitions, bending your knees as much as you need to, but not more than you have to. After each toe touch stand tall, straight up and down, and reach overhead as high as you can, squeezing your butt.

Other Stretches
1.  Delt/Pec Stretch – Put your hands behind your head and stretch your elbows back as far as you can. Do this 3-4 times, holding your elbows back for 2 seconds.

2. Standing Quad Stretch - Kick a foot up behind you and grab your toes with your hand. Try and point your knee straight to the ground. Stretch both legs a 3-5 times.


Somethings to keep in mind:

1. Move progressively through the range of motion.

2. Have the movement controlled at all times.

3. Do not risk poor technique for additional range of motion.

4. Repeat unilateral stretches on both sides.

More Advanced Stuff

Why You Must Stretch

Warming Up – Pre Workout Stretching Routine

Cooling Down – Post Workout Stretching Routine



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Spartan Group X:  Breaking Down the Warm-Up

by Jeff Godin

Always start your workout with a warm-up.  Although flexibility and unrestricted movement may be important for long term injury prevention, static stretching and flexibility exercises are not an important part of a warm-up. Stretching moves a joint through its full range of motion, however it does this passively and does very little to increase the temperature of muscle. The warm-up should be active and move the joints through their full range of motion. The warm-up progresses from low intensity towards high intensity. For some, the warm-up may actually have them gassed by the end. The benefits of a warm-up include; increased tissue temperature, tissue compliance, energy metabolism, movement efficiency and reduced tissue stiffness. The warm-up can also be used to reinforce fundamental movement mechanics related to speed and agility. The warm-up should emphasize proper foot placement to promote acceleration and prevent deceleration.

Perform one set of each movement at a slow speed for 20 yards and then perform a second set at a faster speed for 20 yards. Stationary movements should be performed for 15 repetitions.

Linear Movements

Focuses on the muscles that cross the hip, knee, and ankle on the anterior and posterior side.

High Knee Walk

As you step forward, grasp just below the knee on the opposite legs and pull the knee towards the chest. Extend the stepping leg, and rise on the toes. Keep the chest high, don’t lean back.





High Knee Skip

This exercise is gentle skipping to warm-up the hip muscles. The focus is on rhythmic movement not height or distance. Swing arms opposite the legs. If the left knee is forward the, left arm is back.



High Knee Run

Start by running in place, keeping the knees high. Slowly progress forward. Focus on landing on the ball of the foot.  Do not lean back or round the shoulders. Pump the arms.





Quickly flex the knee bringing the heel of the foot towards the buttocks. Pump the arms in sync with the legs.



Straight-leg Walk

March with straight legs, and reach for toes with the opposite hand. Keep the chest high, don’t lean back. Do not kick the leg up, actively raise it until you feel tension in the hamstrings.




Straight-leg Skip

Same as above with rhythmic skipping included.





Straight-leg Deadlift Walk

Balance on one leg with the arms out to side. Rotate at the hip and lean forward until the chest is parallel to the ground. Keep both legs straight. Return to the upright position. To move forward, swing the back leg through for one large step.




Backward Run

Literally run backwards. Take large steps, reaching as far as possible with the lead leg. Lean forward at the hips, keep the eyes looking forward.



Start with the hips low, in a ¼ squat position. Take smaller steps compared to the backward run, keep the feet beneath the hips. Focus on short quick steps. Keep the hips low, and the chest held high.




Backward and forward lunge walks

Take one giant step forward; drop down into the lunge position, and then using the forward leg rise out of the lunge position and step forward with the opposite leg.  For the backward lunge, do the same except you are walking backwards.





Begin in the push-up position. Drop the hips until they touch the floor,  keep the arms extended so that the chest is off of the floor.  Keeping the legs straight, walk the feet as close as possible to the hands. Then walk the hands out until you are back in the push-up position.




Lateral Movements

Focuses on the lateral and medial muscles of the hip and thigh

Lateral Lunge

Begin with feet about four feet apart. Shift your weight to the right, flex the right knee and hip, and keep the left leg straight.  Keep the right heel down,and sit back without rounding the back. Drive through the right foot and step back into the upright position.  Repeat for the desired distance and repeat for the left leg.




This drill is done in a stationary position. Assume a push-up position and step forward as if trying to step on your right hand with your right foot. Then, drop the right elbow and touch it to the ground. Return to the start position and repeat for the right side.  Complete 6 reps for each side.



Upper Body

Focuses on the muscles that cross the shoulder and shoulder girdle

Jumping Jack

Stand upright with the hands by your side. Jump and raise your arms up from your side overhead and land with feet wider than shoulder width apart. Jump and return to the start position. Repeat for 15 repetitions.




Seal Jack

Stand upright with your hands together in front of your chest. Jump and move arms out to the side and land with feet wider than shoulder width apart. Jump and return to the start position. The arms are making a seal clapping motion. Repeat for 15 repetitions.




Ski Jack

Stand upright with the hands by your side. Jump and move arms and legs in a cross-country ski motion. Repeat for 15 repetitions.






Here is a link to the videos.


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Photo Credit: Tobyotter on Flickr

by Khaled Allen

When I was running cross country in high school, we always began each practice session by stretching to avoid injury, and after we were done, we’d stretch again. We did this presumably to prevent injury, but despite the fact that I was the most flexible person on the team, I was injured most of my senior year. Nevertheless, I continued to stretch because I felt knotted and stiff when I didn’t.

A few years later, a number of studies came out suggesting that stretching wasn’t helpful to distance runners at all. According to some researchers, distance runners actually don’t need to be flexible. Some cite studies that prove stretching doesn’t prevent injury, and may actually make it more likely. Some say stretch only if you need to get more flexible.

The points against stretching are pretty harsh. According to a study published on the Gatorade Sports Science Institute website, stretching before exercise may cause temporary strength deficits, doesn’t prevent injury, and doesn’t improve exercise performance. The study did find that passive stretching, done away from the exercise environment, may improve flexibility, but the study also claimed that increased flexibility was detrimental to runners.

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