Don’t worry, I’m watching your clock! These quick moves take just seconds to do and you can use them as part of your dynamic warm up or your cool down.
Mobility drills are designed to improve functional range of motion in joints, muscles and surrounding fascia while balancing strength and flexibility.
For example if your hips are too tight, you begin rotating them with each step which creates torque on your knees and leads to pain. Or you can’t fully extend your back kick to create optimal force against the ground for speed.The most common mobility exercise to identify and correct imbalances is the squat! It increases strength throughout the body, requires you to engage your core and is a functional movement.
Surprisingly hard to do a perfect squat –
- Feet hip width apart
- Weight evenly distributed through feet
- Butt pushing backward
- Back straight, chest and shoulders up
- Knees remain in line with feet – if they fall outside your toes don’t go any farther down
- Work to squat down with your bum below knees (all of the above still correct)
Here’s why that matters as explained by C Shante Cofield, Doctor of Physical Therapy.
“The best example is that person who’s trying to do an overhead squat and they’re just struggling to squat down.That’s energy that’s being used just to fight against their own body. When people gain mobility and they have this freedom of motion and they can just get into the squat they suddenly have this whole reserve of energy to direct into the actual movement and into whatever they’re lifting as opposed to just trying to get into the shape.”
Ok, but we aren’t really hear to talk about squats, we want to talk about how to increase hip motility to make you a better runner.
Why Mobility Matters for Runners?
Mobility drills make us more aware of our bodies and our range of motion, which leads to better running form and less injuries!
Runners hips are notoriously tight and we often use them only in a straight forward motion, this move helps to increase range of motion in the joint and can loosen up tight areas.
Here are 6 different ways you can improve your mobility ASAP. A few are easy to incorporate in to your warm up, while others are perfect to add to your recovery routine (yes all that time I know you’re spending with the foam roller, right?!)
This mobility workout for runners that takes just minutes to do, but as always yields great results.
Mobility Moves for Runners
How do you loosen tight hips? It’s not just through stretching, these mobility moves are going to provide both flexibility and strength.
On the off chance you don’t want to watch that great video demonstration, here’s a quick review of each move.
Standing figure Eight:
Standing on your right leg, bring your left knee up to 90 degrees and then move it through figure 8 motion. It might feel awkward, but that’s ok, you need to work the hip in multiple different planes.
Imagine you have a hurdle (yup the kind from track and field) on your right side. Swing your left leg up and over, then bring your right leg over. Repeat by moving back across your imaginary hurdle – get that leg up HIGH!
This one looks deceptively easy. Start with both knees wider than your yoga mat and your legs straight behind you (no pulling the feet together like child’s pose). Slowly push back and you should feel the stretch through your inner thigh, if not try legs wider or ensure your legs are straight.
Yes the very one you may have tried in yoga class. It’s one of the ultimate moves for working in to our hips, glutes and IT Band. From a plank position, pull your right knee in to your chest then to the ground with your foot angled towards your opposite hip. Make sure your hips are remaining square to the front of your mat (no leaning to one side). Then if you need more stretch, lean forward over your foot.
Let me introduce you to a muscle you’ve probably overlooked: your TFL. This doesn’t work with a foam roller, you need a small PT ball. You’ll place the ball where the seam of jeans pocket would be and slowly roll it around. This muscle helps to keep your hips and pelvis stabile.
This is a big one for reducing hip pain that many aren’t aware of!
Foam Roller Rotation:
Taking things up a notch, instead of just rolling back and forth, we’re going to work in to the muscles. (And remember NEVER roll your IT Band). Laying on your right side with your hip on the foam roller, you’ll first have your foot pointing forward and then slowing rotate that foot towards the sky.
Mobility Beyond Our Hips
While I focused on our hips here, it’s not the only thing that matters for runners. You’re whole body is connected, so all the tension you hold in your shoulders matters too.
Throughout the week, I include a few other mobility moves that help to open up my shoulders as I know they get tight and a little out of whack from all the time I spend here with you, clickity clacking on the keyboard!! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things we could be doing to improve our runs, so instead pick one or two things at a time to work on.
Maybe you add in a day of yoga each week or add in a few mobility drills and stretching after a run. It’s amazing how much just a few little things can add up and quickly become a natural part of your routine.
BONUS: Try adding in some collagen for additional benefits!
Do you do any mobility work?
Any ares you lack range of motion that need work?
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