Part 1 we discussed “How to Improve Your Running Technique”.
Lets build on this, and go deeper with specific exercises that will ensure you are minimising your
risk of injury and improving on your running. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, read that before you
delve into this article.
“Well, there are many ways to ensure you reduce your chances of sustaining an injury but firstly
ask your self, have I got healthy joint range of motion and am I strong enough through my trunk
and legs, have I done any neuromuscular training?”
Major areas to stretch include:
– Hip flexors
– Upper back
The 5 Best Stretches That Prepare Your Body For Running:
1.) Hip Flexor
Lengthen your hip flexors as they take a serious beating when it comes to running. They got short and tight and can lead to injuries.
– Both hands on the ground
– Head and chest up
– Drive hips FORWARD and DOWN
– Back knee relatively straight
– Squeeze the glue (back side muscle) of the STRAIGHT LEG
2.) Hip Flexor + Upper Back Rotation
The additional rotation will assist you with a more natural
running style, that requires upper back rotation.
– Left leg in front
– Left hand in line with leg shin (creates an anchor point)
– With right leg behind and relatively straight knee
– Slowly rotate with your upper back leading with right arm
– Chest facing outward
– DON’T lose balance, keep core strong!
3.) Hamstring Stretch – Elbow to Arch of Foot
Think about how many times your knees bend when running. Every step! Hamstring length and strength play a major role in reducing injury risk, and helping you run efficiently.
– Kneel onto your LEFT KNEE with RIGHT foot flat in front
– Actively push your right elbow towards the arch of your RIGHT foot
– Left hand is placed down for further support
– Slightly rock forward and backward slowly to find specific areas of hamstring tightness
– Note: Your elbow does NOT need to touch the ground.
4.) ITB + Hamstrings + Upper Back + Arm Rainbows
Not enough can be said about this stretch and it’s ability to stretch and release so many areas of the body.
– Lie on your back with both knees straight
– Raise the RIGHT leg and cross it over your body (keep knee relatively straight)
– Arms are out to the side making alert “T” position
– Your RIGHT arms crosses over your body to the left arm
– The RIGHT makes a semi-circle or RAINBOW slow around from the left arm all the way above your head then back to the LETTER “T” position you started with
– Use your upper back (thoracic spine) to help make the stretch more effective
Why do preparatory Exercises for Running?
Running places a lot of stress on the joints, muscles and bones and is mostly attributed with repetitive strain or overuse injury.
What holds us up? Our skeleton
What supports our bones? Our Muscles.
Enter resistance training: allow the muscles to take the tension, not the bones and joints. Preserve your cartilage from wear and tear!
There are hundreds of strengthening exercises out that can assist. We are going to address some of the main muscle groups utilised in running.
Major areas to Strengthen include:
– Core Front (anterior chain) and back (posterior chain)
– Hips (Gluteal group: Glute max, medius and minimus)
– Hip Flexors
3 Essential Strength Conditioning Exercises for Running
Hip and Core Stability:
1.) Paloff Press
This will help keep the sides of your core strong and along
with your hip stabilisers.
Band strength: Choose tension that allows you to keep your
technique whilst still being challenged.
Technique & Instruction
– Position yourself in a HALF SQUAT posture
– Hold the band with both hands (make a double fist)
– Keep the band in line with your sternum (midline) as you slowly punch forward and back,
WITHOUT letting the resistance of the band pull your fist away from your midline
2.) Side Plank
This will help keep the sides of your core strong
and minimise lateral instability.
Technique & Instruction
– Lie on your side and ensure your hands are in line with your feet.
– Easy version: do them on your knees
– Harder version: do them on your feet, knees off
– Hips up in the air, don’t let them sag, your feet, knees, hips and worse should create a straight line
– Hips and chest facing outward, don’t allow hips or torso to twist
3.) Single Legged Squat + Step Up
Strengthens your glutes, quadriceps, calves, core and
* Caution: this is an advanced exercise, only to be done if
you are pain free, and have already mastered the different
variations of double legged squats (bodyweight squat,
back squat, front squat, kettle bell swings.)
Technique & Instruction
– Find a box to step up on
– Place 1 foot on the box (your “driving” leg)
– Push up and place load on your “driving” leg
– Other leg in the air: knee goes to chest
– Opposite arm to leg combination (this will really test your coordination, but replicates the same
movement patterns used in running!)
Put the 2 together!
Put both x4 stretches and the x3 Strengthening exercises into your weekly running program and
you will feel a major difference in the speed and power of your movements. You will also feel more
confident when you experience LESS niggling aches and pains after your running sessions.
You’ve read how to improve your running technique and the strengthening exercises that will help
compliment your running. Now it’s time to peel yourself away from reading and start your journey
All the best with your running!
Interested in improving your running technique or strengthening exercises? Matthew provides
running and gait analysis, followed up with corrective exercise prescription and strength
conditioning. Want to know more about Exercise Physiology services, and how it can help you?
Get in touch