If you could correct for the variables that make you vulnerable to running injuries, would you?
Most runners like to do one thing… Run!
But the act of distance running lends itself to muscle imbalances which can lead to movement dysfunction, overuse, and injury.
Common imbalances for runners include:
- Hip flexor tightness
- Lower back tightness
- Calf tightness
These imbalances can lead to what is called lower crossed syndrome, a movement dysfunction where tightness in one muscle group causes weakness and overstretching in the opposing muscles. So as the hip flexor muscles become tight, the gluteals become weak. Likewise, as the low back muscles become tight, the lower abdominal muscles become weak. Uncorrected, these imbalances can set you up to be on the sidelines for the next race.
To avoid lower crossed syndrome and the aches and pains that go along with it, add these exercises to your routine:
- Hip flexor stretch
- Soleus stretch
- Posterior pelvic tilt
- Cat and Camel
1. Hip Flexor Stretch: Hold a arms together overhead. While in tall 1/2 kneeling position, reach arms up and towards the left. Rotate towards the up knee to feel a stretch in the front of the right leg. 15 sec hold, 3 reps.
2. Calf stretch: In 1/2 kneeling position, shift weight forward to feel a stretch in the back of the lower calf. Make sure to keep your heel down. Hold 15 sec, 3 reps.
3. Single leg bridge: While lying on back, perform a 2 legged bridge, then extend one leg. Hold for 30 sec each leg, 3 times each.
4. Posterior pelvic tilt: lie on back, press your lower back to the floor by pulling in your lower abdominal muscles. Repeat for 10 repetitions holding for 10 seconds.
5. Cat/Camel: while in a hands and knees position, pull lower abdominal muscles in to round out your low back, then allow your back to sag. Repeat 10-15 times.