How To: Active Isolated Stretching

Prevent injury before it happens with this pre-run stretch.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

We can put in all the miles we want in training, but a proper stretching routine aids in the recovery process, improves range of motion and helps stave off injury.

“This hamstring stretch is for those wishing to improve range of motion, prepare muscle fibers actively pre- and post-activity, and to improve circulation and blood flow to speed recovery between workouts,” says Phil Wharton, a musculoskeletal therapist, author and 2:23 marathoner, who helped pioneer Active-Isolated Flexibility—practiced by Meb Keflezighi and other elites.

How to do it:

Step 1: Following the example above, lie on your back on a soft surface, bend one leg 90 degrees and place that foot flat on the surface.

Step 2: Put a stretching rope or strap on the arch of the other foot and, using your quads and hip flexors, lift the leg up until you hit the end of your range of motion. “Exhale as you move up and inhale as you return to start position,” Wharton says

Step 3: Perform 8-10 reps, pausing briefly at the height of each rep before lowering your leg in a controlled manner. Resist the temptation to bounce, jerk, or pull too hard with the rope.

RELATED: Monday Minute: Active Hamstring Stretch