5 Mobility Exercises For Runners & Athletes – UPDATED 2022
If you are looking to improve performance and reduce the chance of injuries, mobility exercises are a great way to achieve this.
As most runners know, regular stretching can help improve flexibility, keep muscles supple, and help correct imbalances. But what about mobility exercises? Should it be part of a runner’s training plan?
Continue reading as we look at the best mobility exercise for runners. We also provide some mobility exercise examples for beginners. That way, you can add them to your training plan.
What Are Mobility Exercises?
Mobility exercises focus on different movements that help to improve range of motion. This form of training and exercises are also useful for runners, and other athletes during a warm-up routine.
There are several mobility exercises that different athletes perform to help prevent injury, even out mobility imbalances, and improve form and technique. However, below are some more simple exercises that can be done at home and are not specifically for a runner. But more for beginners, doing a range of sports. These include:
– Glute bridges
– Frog Stretches
– Lunge twists
Glute bridges are a simple mobility movement that requires you to lye on your back. Start by lying on your back. Then bend your knees and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips off the ground. Then once your thighs and upper body are aligned, slowly return to the starting position.
Frog stretches are relatively unknown. However, it is a good all round mobility exercise you can do at home. This exercise is especially good for people that have tit hip joints. It will also help to release tension in the lower body. To start this exercise, start on your hands and knees, in a table top position. Then slowly move your knees laterally. This will allow you to stretch your hip flexor muscles. Then extend your leg out as far as you can while still feeling comfortable. During the extension of your leg, make sure to lower your body towards the ground.
Lunge twists are a popular exercise used by man runners, cyclists, weight lifters, and more. This helps both your lower and upper body, but specifically targets the mobility of your hips, glutes, back, and spine. Start by stepping forward into a lunge position. Then while holding this position rotate your upper body to the left. Hold that position and then return to a neutral position and stand back up. Repeat it again, but this time with the opposite side.
Mobility Exercises Examples For Runners
Some of the above exercises we talked about can be used for runners. However, there are much better mobility exercises for runners that can help improve your technique and mobility. These include:
2. Squat to a stand
3. Lunge Walk
4. Butt Kick
5. Walking butt kick
A-Skips is a running drill that is widely used by elite and professional runners. It helps to develop lower leg strength as well as improve knee lift and an efficient foot strike. This form of drill is widely used during warm-up. Making the muscle fire much quicker and improving mobility before a workout or race.
Squat to Stand is a great hip mobility movement. It also helps the runner to warm up some of the muscles before a workout and to improve blood flow to the glutes, hips, quadriceps, calf muscles, and lower back. To do this movement, start by pulling your toes upwards in a standing position. This will naturally drop your hips into a deep squat. during this movement focus on keeping your chest tall. Then stand back up while holding your toes, and then slowly straighten your legs, while looking at your shoelaces.
The Lunge Walk is one of the more simple exercises to do especially for beginner runners. This movement helps to mobilize the hip flexors and improves the stability of your lower legs. To do this movement, start by standing normally. then raise both arms above you. Take a step forward with one leg and allow both knees to bend. Your trailing knee should then just about touch the ground. then once you are in that position thrust forward from the front foot and perform a lunge on the opposite leg. When doing this exercise keep your arms raised at all times.
The Butt Kick exercise is widely used by runners. It helps to strengthen the hamstrings but also improves speed and acceleration. Start by standing tall, then bring the right heel off the floor towards your glutes. During this movement, the opposite hand should mirror the movement of your right leg. Just as if you were running. Then drop your leg to the standing position and do the same with the opposite leg and arm.
The Walking Butt Kick is a similar exercise to the butt kick. However, when doing the movement walk slowly.
Mobility Exercises For Runners
Mobility exercises for runners should be incorporated into your warm-up routine. Alternatively, they can be also used after an easy recovery run, to promote better movement of the bones, tendons, and muscles.
Generally, these types of exercises should be included in your training at least 2-3 times a week. It will not only help keep your muscles supple but also promote range of motion. This will in turn reduce the chances of injury and stiffness.
It is important though to do these types of exercises with good technique and form. If you are unsure about how to perform these exercises correctly, reach out to a running coach or personal trainer. They can help overlook your movements and make sure you are doing them with the correct form.
There are hundreds of other mobility exercises, that can target different areas of the body. But if you are new to these types of exercises, make sure to start with some basic ones before performing more specific or complicated movements.