Many experts and runners will attest to the benefits of stretching before and after a run. After all, a well-crafted stretching routine will allow you to smoothly transition in and out of a workout. But if you don’t know where to start when it comes to stretching out, it can be hard to fit it into your schedule. Enter: these top stretching apps that show you exactly what to do.
Depending on the app, you can easily learn from experts and receive guidance that will help you prep your body for a tough workout or get your body to cool down after one. Whether you’re looking for dynamics movements prerun or you want to bring the heart rate back down with more static poses postworkout, there’s an app that can show you how it’s done.
Postrun cooldowns offer a particularly important time to stretch, Theresa Toczylowski, M.P.T., and clinical supervisor at MossRehab near Philadelphia tells Runner’s World. The perfect cooldown will allow you to transition your mind and body from a sympathetic state—that’s your fight or flight instinct—to the more relaxed parasympathetic state.
“By taking that time to cool down and moving to a parasympathetic state, we gain information about ourselves which then gives us a better sense of our bodies and how we can utilize them,” Toczylowski says. The perfect cooldown routine will allow you to complete a head-to-toe scan of your body to pinpoint and then strengthen possible weak points throughout your body. Any particularly sore spots, aches, or fatigue should clue you into where you need to pay more attention.
With the importance of stretching (and warmups and cooldowns) in mind, we complied this list of the best stretching apps to help you get ready for a workout or unwind after one.
The Best Stretching Apps for Runners
Best Stretching App Overall: Stretch and Flexibility at Home
Cost: $20/year or $5/month
- Offers run-specific warmups and cooldowns
- Tracks your progress through out each week and month, based on the number of workouts you completed, total calories burned, and total duration of exercise
- Provides detailed instructions
- Allows you to build your own routine
- Connects to Apple Music and Spotify
- Only offers 7-day free trial
- Doesn’t offer a cohesive video demonstration
Consider this your go-to app for a range of stretching routines. If you’re not sure where to start, then this app is perfect for you, thanks to its wide variety of content.
Pick from six different categories, including warmup, cooldown, pain relief, body relief, and posture correction. Or you can stick to stretching routines designed specifically for runners, like the three-minute prerun warmup or the five-minute postrun cooldown.
The app is very versatile, and you can customize different sequences by changing the duration of each move or switching up the instructor’s voice. Plus, you can create your own routine in the app, by selecting the “my training” tab, then clicking the “add exercise” option to add exercises from the library of content. This allows you to curate a sequence built for your body.
Best Stretching App for Beginners: ROMWOD
- Personal mobility test that you can take multiple times and therefore see your progress
- Guided tutorials for beginners
- Routines designed specifically for runners
- Wide range of videos with content added daily
- Also tracks progress based on total duration of workouts
- Only offers a 7-day free trial
This app is perfect for beginners because it allows you to learn while you practice. You can test and track your flexibility with an in-app test—a two-minute squat test that analyzes your range of motion and identifies weaknesses in your frame by analyzing a series of photos you take from different angles (front, right, and left).
The app also makes personalized suggestions for classes based on your flexibility level. Plus, it offers a six-day course designed for runners, which includes classes that target your key running muscles like glutes, calves, and hamstrings.
Best Stretching App for Advanced: Stretchit
- Uploads new videos each week
- Tracks your progress and integrates with Apple Health
- Provides detailed instruction and video demonstrations
- Downloadable routines to use when you’re offline
- Connects to Apple Music and Spotify
- Doesn’t offer run-specific warmup or cooldown routines
- Only offers a 7-day free trial
If you’re a seasoned runner looking to switch up your routine—and one who loves to stick to a training schedule—this app is worth the investment. After setting goals like improving health or fitness performance and answering a few questions on your health habits and flexibility level, the app will suggest a program for you (one runners might enjoy: 14 days of hip mobility). And when you sign up, the workouts get added to your calendar.
You can also choose individual classes each day or ask the app to suggest a stretch session for you, depending on your objectives (health or flexibility) and goals, like back pain relief, better sleep, or full body health.
With content uploaded each week, you’re sure to find a routine that works for you. Plus, you’ll find beginner and intermediate sessions, each complete with demonstrations and thorough narration, so you can practice perfect form as you follow along.
You can also download the routines and access them in the app when you don’t have wifi.
Most Versatile Stretching App: Peloton
- Has a wide variety of pre- and postrun content
- Connects with Apple Health
- Tracks progress based on the number of workouts you completed, total duration of workouts, total number of calories burned, and how much time you spent training each muscle group
- Top-notch trainers
- 30-day free trial
- Doesn’t connect to Apple Music or Spotify
You don’t have to buy a bike or a tread to be a part of the Peloton community. The Peloton app has a huge library of content—workout warmups and cooldowns, and postrun-specific stretches included—and you’re bound to find a class that works best for you.
Even better: You get access to range of other classes that can help you unwind and get into a parasympathetic state, including top-notch yoga and meditation sessions. Of course, the app membership also gives you a ton of different cross-training options, from cycling to bodyweight cardio routines to solid strength workouts.
Best Free Stretching App: Nike Training Club
- Instructors demonstrate each move as you follow along
- Connects with Apple Music and Spotify
- Top-notch instructors
- Tracks progress based the type of workout you complete, duration, and perceived amount of effort (you just have to manually enter this measure after each workout)
- Doesn’t offer consistent narration for each video
This app offers a wide variety of mobility courses that focus on different times of your day (like a morning stretch), goals (like addressing posture), or runner-specific routines like restorative yoga flows, shoulder releases, or a dynamic warmup. The routines also range in time from a quick 10 minutes to a full one-hour yoga flow for athletes.
What’s more: You get a ton of other free content that can help you train smart like nutrition tips, running plans, and more.