Best Exercises/Stretches for Runners
Running is a great exercise, which requires the entire body to work in unison. It’s a big benefit for cardio stamina, and for developing both sprint and endurance training. Tons of people use running as part of their daily exercise, but it shouldn’t be your only method of exercise. From a lack of mobility and strength training, runners have one of the highest injury rates due to repetitive movements.
If you have weak hips and glutes, then your knees and feet will take the brunt of the impact. You may not even recognize how weak your hips and glutes are, but you’ll feel it over time. You’ll have aches and pains from your lower back, through the hips, and down the entire leg. Prevent pain and injury by adding some new movements to your routine.
Glute Bridges: Sometimes our brain needs to “wake up” certain muscles to get them to work during your workout. To activate your glutes, lay on the floor facing the ceiling with your heels next to your backside. Take a breath, and quickly push your hips up towards the ceiling.
Hip Swings: Before you start running, you need to open up your hips and lubricate the joints. Hold on to a post or a pole, and swing your legs left to right 10 times and front to back 10 times. Lift your leg up as high as it can go in either direction.
Romanian Deadlifts: Strengthen your glutes and hamstrings with this deadlift. You can do it with or without weight. To prevent back injury, always keep your shoulders rolled back and tucked.
Fire Hydrants: These will activate a generous amount of muscles in the hips, as well as the core and back. Keep your abs engaged as you do this exercise and focus on not twisting your torso to move your leg.
Cat/Cow: To recover from a good amount of pounding the pavement, stretch your back and your core out with this movement. It helps relieve pressure and relax the spine.
High/Low Dragon Pose: The dragon pose tackles tons of areas in the leg all at once. It’s great after a long run to stretch out your hip flexors and hamstrings. Change your hand placement to get different and deeper stretches.
Pigeon Pose: After a long run, your glutes will be tight and tired. Relax into this pose and hold it for at least a minute on each side to reap the benefits.
Pyramid Pose: Immediately after a run, you’ll want to stretch out your hamstrings. Hold this pose for 30 seconds or more after the workout. Do this a few times during the day as well, like before bed, and when waking up.
Happy Baby Pose: To complete your stretching routine, unlock your back and hips with this pose. It will release any tension that you are holding. Breathe deeply through this stretch, and gently rock back and forth.
If you’re an avid runner, diversify your workout routine with some of these exercises and stretches to make your runs stronger. You’ll be surprised at how these simple exercises and stretches will change your running game. You’ll run longer, further, and feel great during it.