Top Back Stretch for Runners

When you think about stretching, what areas would you usually focus on?

Probably the hamstrings, hip flexors, and ankles.

While those are all great areas to address, there’s one important part of the body that’s typically overlooked.

The mid-back.

As a Physical Therapist, I can tell you that many running injuries stem from tightness in the mid-back.

Why Stretch the Mid-Back?

Running is a whole-body motion – and that includes using your midback.

Since many of us spend all day working at a desk, we naturally lose motion in that region.

If you can’t use your whole body to run because of stiffness, compensations will develop which result in injuries.

That’s why it’s so important to prioritize rotational stretches for the mid-back.

If you want to avoid injury, give this stretch a try!

How to Do It

Lie down on your bed on your right side.

Pull your left knee up and catch the bed with your right foot. This should look like a running posture.

Extend your right arm straight across the bed. Put your left hand behind your head and touch your elbows together.

Take your left elbow and rotate your torso open. Give a little exhale as you rotate.

Then roll back to your right and bring your elbows together again. Do 10-15 on each side.

Most runners make the mistake of lifting their left knee as they rotate. It’s important to keep the left knee down to get the proper stretch.

You will probably find that one side is tighter than the other. Just breathe through it.

The Takeaway

Stiffness in the mid-back results in compensations that may lead to injury.

If you want to stay healthy, you need to focus on rotational stretches targeting the mid-back.

The stretch above is a great start, but you will need more stretches to stay flexible for running.

RunSmart offers exercises like this and many others designed to help you run injury-free.

Run your best all year with RunSmart!

Ready for More Runner-Specific Stretches?

Try RunSmart!

Get everything you need to run, train & prevent injury – all in one place!

Training programs designed by Physical Therapist Steve Gonser PT DPT.

Here’s what you get with RunSmart:

  • Strength workouts for runners to prevent injuries and run faster
  • Customized training plans tailored to your goals and ability
  • Run form coaching to improve your stride for faster, injury-free running
  • A global community of 2,000+ runners for training, race & gear advice
  • Runner-specific yoga for flexibility so you can feel your best running
  • 24/7 access to your training anytime, anywhere & on any device

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