Best Mobility Drills For Runners – A Complete Guide
Even though running is one of the best ways to improve endurance, cardiovascular health, and fitness. Without the right recovery plan, it can cause the runner to experience strains, pains, and injuries down the track. That’s why it is important to not only rest from running but to stretch and include mobility drills into your training plan.
Because recovery is so vital, in today’s article, we show you the best mobility drills and exercises that can help improve your running and speed up recovery.
What Are Mobility Exercises And Drills?
Mobility drills are exercises that work your joints to achieve optimal range of motion and improve muscle length. Since muscles have a naturally elastic property, it is often prone to shortening with inactivity, without stretching, or used to their maximum range of motion.
This is why improving your mobility as a runner is one of the best ways to improve your running. Mobility drills and exercises not only help you hold better running form, but they can also help improve running efficiency and economy. Thus in turn helping to reduce the chances of injuries.
Another fact is that running’s repetitive motion can also cause our muscles to shorten, that’s why hip, back, and knee issues are common among runners. To combat this it is vital to include mobility work to help release muscle tension and improve your flexibility and range of motion regularly.
Below we have put together a list of the best mobility exercises and drills for runners. Try adding these into your training or as part of your post-run routine.
Hip Mobility Drills For Runners
Here is a series of exercises that you can perform almost anywhere and at any time to improve your hip mobility. The below exercises will help loosen and strengthen the surrounding stabilizing muscles of the hips.
The Standing Figure Eight
The standing figure eight is a great mobility exercise for the hip muscles. To do this exercise, begin standing on your right leg and bring your left knee up to a 90-degree angle. Then move the left knee through a figure 8 motion. If you need to, hold onto a chair or the wall for balance.
To do the 90/90 mobility exercise, start by positioning yourself on the ground sitting. Bend your left leg in front of you and with your hip rotated out. Next, bend and place your chin as close to your foot as possible. Make sure the forward bend motion is fluid and only hold the final position for a few seconds. Then return to the seated position. Repeat this exercise 6-8 times and then swap sides. Make sure your torso is over your hips the entire time.
The Spider-Man stretch
The spiderman stretch is a great stretch to help improve your mobility as a runner. To do this exercise, start by getting into a push-up position and engage your core. Next, bring your left leg to the outside of your hands and keep the foot pointed inwards and flat on the floor. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, then bring your left leg back to the starting position and swap sides.
Repeat 6-8 times on each side.
To do the supine hip rotation exercise, start by lying on your back. Then extend both arms to your sides with your palms on the floor. Next, while bending your knees to 90 degrees, lift your legs into the air and then drop them down to your left side. Make sure you keep your back flat at all times. You should feel the stretch in your right hip. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat on both sides for 4 to 6 repetitions.
The Frog Stretch
To do the frog stretch, first set yourself up in a table position on your hands and knees. Position yourself so that you are facing sideways, and make sure your knees are under your hips. Next, lower your body towards your forearms while moving your knees apart (sliding movement). Hold this position for 60-90 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position. You should feel the stretch in your inner thigh and adductor area.
The Reverse Plank
To perform the reverse plank, start by lying on your back. Move your arms so they are placed by your hips and fingers facing your feet. Next, press your hips upwards so that your hands and feet are the only parts of your body in contact with the ground. Keep your body straight and for a deeper stretch, try lifting your left knee off the ground and hold that position for 15-30 seconds.
This article has shown you some of the best basic mobility exercises and drills that can benefit a runner. While these are basic mobility exercises, once mastered, you can move into more difficult exercises. This way you can increase the amount of mobility the joints and muscles have.
Start by spending a few days a week working on your mobility, then after one month start increasing these to three sessions weekly. Include mobility exercises after a run or on your rest days, and as your get better flexibility, you can start using them in your warm-up routine for more intense training sessions.