Runners: Joint Maintenance & Mobility
Running is a demanding sport and you can’t perform at your best if mobility restrictions, joint pain, or stability issues hold you back. Runners commonly experience knee pain, sore feet, hip tension, or back tightness during or after a run. Joint maintenance for runners is incredibly important. Thankfully, you have the power to avoid these problems before they start.
In this post, I’ll share some pre-hab warmup and mobility movements that you can use to level-up your pre-run routine and your post-run cool down. This joint maintenance for runners program will improve your warmup and cool down programs.
Pre-Run: Running-specific mobility
We all warm up before running… right? It’s not uncommon for people to static-stretch before running to loosen up; however, it’s been proven more beneficial to prime the powerful muscles of the posterior chain and coordinate functional movement patterns prior to a run. Add these two movements to your pre-run routine and feel the difference!
The glute bridge is one of the best posterior-chain engagement exercises. When done properly (without extending the low-back or letting the quadriceps or hamstrings dominate the movement) the glutes are able to kick on strong, which will help propel your stride forward and take some of the burden off your quads, hip flexors, and knees.
Posterior-chain strength and activation is paramount for an efficient stride. This functional movement closely mimics a running motion, allowing for great musculature activation while offering an opportunity to improve your running movement patterns. Make sure the knee of the standing leg stays relatively over the ankle (rather than trending forward to the toes) so you load the glutes, lateral hip, and hamstrings instead of your quads.
Post-Run: Cool Down
After you finish running, your body immediately begins recovery. You have a short period of time to set the tone for your body to recover. It’s important to do two things: 1) transition to a parasympathetic state and 2) incorporate mobility movements and/or stretches to alleviate tension and flush in nutrients the body needs to rebuild. Try this to increase your recovery time to feel fresher, faster.
The anterior-chain (quadriceps and hip flexors) are very active during a run. The psoas stretch provides an opportunity to alleviate tension between the knee and hip that may build up during a training session. To execute properly, posteriorly tilt your pelvis, eliminate lumbar extension, squeeze your glute, and breath slowly and fully for 60+ seconds.
The adductors are often overlooked, and can tight as a result. This movement is a great way increase blood flow and flush tight muscles surrounding the hips that can tighten up during a run. Make sure to keep your core engaged and back relatively neutral to get the most of this mobility drill.
You have a short period of time to set the tone for your body to recover. It’s important to do two things: 1) allow muscles to recover evenly without imbalance, thereby reducing tightness and 2) increase blood flow to your muscles, letting them flush out toxins and bring in nutrients they need to rebuild.
Want more Joint Maintenance for Runners? Attend a workshop
You can take your running maintenance to the next level by attending a workshop. Our workshops are a great way to gain new tools to eliminate pain and armor your joints.
We have 2 running-specific clinics coming up:
Grab your running buddies and get your tickets today. See you on the trail!