Five key mobilisation exercises for runners

Improve your running posture and reduce the risk of injury

WORDS: Adam Stephens

Here are five mobilisation exercises for runners from rehabilitation specialist personal trainer Jack Healy.

The first three exercises mentioned are for your warm up routine and the last two can be used during you’re warm up or cool down period:

Alternating side lunge

Jack Healy demonstrating the first of the mobilisation exercises, the alternating side lunge

This exercise helps strengthen key running muscles such as the adductors, glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. It is recommended to aim for 8 to 12 reps per side.
This is great to incorporate in to your warm up exercise routine before running as it can help naturally lengthen your stride and improve your single leg balance.

Standing knee hugs

Jack performing the standing knee hug. The second of the mobilisation exercises

The standing knee hug is effective as a warm up exercise – try doing 8 to 10 reps on each side. Jack advises to aim to hold the position for two to three seconds at a time.

The benefits are that it improves your balance and begins to activate your hip flexors ahead of your run and helps improve your running posture. It also stretches the glutes and hamstrings and activates core muscles; these are also the primary muscles that are used for runners.

Single leg deadlift (DL)

Jack demonstrating the third mobilisation exercise called the Single Leg Deadlift.

The single leg deadlift works the hamstrings and challenges core stability and strength. This exercise is good to do before your run, as it’s a dynamic exercise. It also improves balance and posture, which are crucial components to develop as a runner.  A good target is two to three sets of around 8-12 reps on each side.

Greatest stretch in the world

Position one

Jack performing the first of two poses in the greatest stretch in the world mobilisation exercise

Position two

Jack showing the second part for the mobilisation exercise called the greatest stretch in the world.

This exercise targets every muscle, including the hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes and adductors, which are vital to runners. It is a dynamic stretch with static aspects to it.  This means that it can either be used as a warm-up exercise or put into your cool down routine. Hold each position for three to five seconds if you are using it in your warm up and five to ten seconds for your cool down. You should aim to move through each series at least three times.

Ankle and calf mobilisation

Jack showing the final mobilisation exercise, the ankle and calf mobilisation stretch

This exercise is good for people who suffer from achilles, shin and calf problems.  It mobilises and increases flexibility, which is important as a lack of ankle dorsiflexion can cause anterior knee pain.

This is an excellent exercise for either before or after a run and helps you avoid injuries such as shin splints and plantar fasciitis.

The positioning of the stretch is similar to a high plank.

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