When you’re a runner it’s easy to fall into habits that cause injury. These essential stretches will help improve core strength, gain hip flexor flexibility and increase your gluteal strength.
Alongside these main exercises it’s important to remember that consistent training can help reduce injuries, and while the training needs to be tough, the body needs to be able to withstand it over time (so don’t overdo it!).
These core training skills below will help to preserve your running skills for a long time to come.
Knee hug to reverse lunge
This is one fluid movement.
Stand and hug your left knee, lifting the thigh to your chest. Don’t hunch here. Release your leg and send it behind you into a reverse lunge, without touching the floor. The right knee should be above right ankle, and weight should be evenly distributed.
Do 10 of these on each side.
Kneeling quadriceps stretch
Kneel with your left knee, and put your right foot on the floor.
Grab your left ankle and pull it in toward your butt. Squeeze your left butt cheek, tighten your abs and move your hips slightly forward if you can.
If you’re doing this before a workout, do 5-10 short reps. Hold the position for longer if post workout.
Single leg hip extension
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Brace your abs and lift your left leg off the floor, choosing to bend your knee or keep the leg straight.
Keep your hands on the floor and push your right foot into the ground which will lift your hips up off the ground. Keep the angle the same in both hips.
Hold and release, repeating 8-10 times per side.
Lateral bag drag
Prepare a sandbag or other heavy bag.
Get into the top of the push up position (arms at full extension, feet shoulder width apart) with the bag to your right. Without twisting your body or shoulders, use your left hand to reach for the bag and pull it across your chest, behind your right arm.
Repeat going from right to left, slowly, 2 times a side.
Body saw to press up
Grab two hand towels and do this on a slippery floor.
Place the hand towels under your feet and assume a front plank position on your elbows. Slide backwards so you’re almost touching the floor with your abs.
Then pull forwards, locking your elbows as you pull up into plank. This is difficult, start with one rep and build up.
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