If you’re a new runner, it probably sounds like you have a lot to accomplish, like putting your miles, testing your gear, fine-tuning your hydration, and learning about different types of workouts (what is a fartlek?). Maintaining a consistent mobility practice probably doesn’t get top spot on your priority list. But it probably should.
As a runner, you want your body to move and perform to its peak with your joints utilizing their full range of motion, Amber Rees, chief curriculum lead at Barrys in New York City and co-founder of the Brave body projecttells World of runners. Explain that the inability to achieve the full expression of a runner’s stride—specifically, hitting the knee and hip extension—can result in motion inefficiencies that slow you down and, over time, cause pain and injury.
The benefits of these mobility exercises for beginners
Regular mobility practice can support you as a runner (and in your everyday life) by keeping your joints healthy and functional, preparing your muscles for activity, and battling the hours most of us spend hunched over in front of screens.
For the novice runner or any athlete looking for a gentle mobility routine, Rees has programmed the following circuit, which targets the spine, hips, knees and ankles with six accessible yet effective mobility exercises for beginners. Working through these mobility exercises will help prevent injury, improve form, improve running efficiency, and help reduce stiffness and pain, she says.
Rees recommends doing these exercises often, incorporating them into your pre-run warm-up or post-run cool-down. As a beginner, the more frequently you do these mobility exercises, the better able you’ll be to progress to more advanced mobility work that, in the long run, will make you a better and stronger runner, says Rees.
How to use this list: Perform each exercise in a row for the indicated amount of time, resting 10 seconds between exercises. Complete 2 rounds.
Each move is demonstrated by Rees in the video above so you can learn proper form. You will need an exercise mat.
1. Hug Knee to Hip Stretch
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and shift your weight onto your right foot. Without bending at the waist, lift your left knee and use both hands to pull it towards your chest. Pause, then slide both hands down your shin just above your left ankle and open your left knee out to the side. Pause, then release your leg and return to standing. Repeat on the opposite leg. Continue alternating for 60 seconds.
2. Leg swing
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your left hand on a wall or fixed structure, such as a column or post. Shift your weight onto your left foot and, starting the movement at your right hip, swing your right leg forward until you feel a stretch in your hamstring (it’s okay to bend your knee slightly). Immediately swing your leg out behind you, stretching your hip flexors and quadriceps. Continue rocking back and forth, keeping your upper body as still as possible, for 30 seconds. Then switch sides and repeat.
Start on all fours, knees under hips, shoulders over wrists. She inhales slowly, lifting the crown of your head and tailbone up so that you lean back slightly. Exhale slowly, drawing in your belly button as you reach your tailbone toward the back of your knees and draw your chin toward your chest. Repeat for 60 seconds.
4. Quadruped hip AUTO
Start on all fours, knees under hips, shoulders over wrists. Keep your belly button pulled in towards your spine, with a flat back. Lift the left leg out to the left side, keeping the knee bent 90 degrees and stopping at the hip. Then, lift your left leg back and up like you’re doing a donkey kick. Circle the left hip inward to complete the circle. Then reverse this motion, hitting the donkey kick first, then lifting the knee out to the side and swinging back to complete the circle. Keep the rest of your body as still as possible, shrinking the circle if necessary. Repeat for 30 seconds, alternating directions of the circle. Then switch sides and repeat.
5. Overhead Reach Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on your right knee with your left leg forward and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Let your arms hang by your sides or place your hands on your hips. Keep your left foot directly under the knee and bend your pelvis slightly forward. Push your hips forward, further flexing your left knee and stretching your right hip flexor. Simultaneously extend your left arm over your head and lean to the right. Pause, then push your hips back and lower your left arm. Repeat for 30 seconds. Then switch sides and repeat.
6. Down from dog to cobra
Start in a high plank with shoulders over wrists, neck neutral, back flat, core engaged, and legs straight. Keeping your arms and legs straight and your spine in a neutral position, lift your hips up and back and bring your chest towards your legs. Maintain downward dog and pedal by alternately bending one knee while pressing the opposite heel to the ground. Keeping your arms and legs straight, lower your hips to the floor, press through your hands and lift your chest into a cobra position. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds. Repeat, switching from down-dog to cobra for 60 seconds.
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Image Source : www.runnersworld.com