According to most of the physical trainers, warm-ups and mobilization exercises for runners are more important than the actual exercise regime. In other words if you are a runner your primary focus should be on mobilization exercises rather than other fitness routines. This is because, your mobilization routine determines how your hard-core exercises are going affect your body and in turn help you in running better. Now that we have identified, what we need, lets now try to figure out how can we achieve it? Well, body mobility can be improved by following some simple mobility exercise routines. A mere ten minute workout with these mobility exercises can work wonders for you on the field.
Ankle mobility exercise
This exercise helps you to improve you ankle mobility. You have to stand facing a fall with one foot out front in such a way that only your toe touches the wall. Now, slowly bend your knee until your knee cap touches the wall. Now, slowly shift your leg back by about an inch and repeat the knee motion until it touches the wall. Continue doing this until your knee can barely touch the wall. While doing this, you might feel a bit of strain on your ankle; this means that the muscles and bones are becoming strong ready to handle hard running regimes.
- Ensure that heel remains grounded at all the time.
- Ensure that knee goes straight towards the wall and not inward
- Ensure that heel remains grounded at all the time.
Walking butt kick
This exercise is meant to affect your thigh muscles, which in fitness parlance are known as quadriceps. Stand straight and take a step forward, now as you lift your leg try to push the heel towards your butt. It might not be easy so you will have to literally kick backwards and thus the name ‘walking butt kick. Hold the leg alongside your butt for about one second and try to pull it further backwards to put maximum strain on your thigh muscles. Repeat the same with the other leg.
- Avoid leaning forward
- Don’t allow the leg to move sideways
- Repeat at least 5 times for each leg
Overhead lunge walk
This exercise improves single leg stability and hip flexors, which is very important for runners. Raise your arms over your head while standing. Take a step forward and bend down until the knee of the front leg makes a 90 degree angle and the knee of the back leg is barely 2-3 inches away from the ground. Push ahead and lunge with the other leg. The key here is to ensure that your back knee remains slightly above the ground, as it puts lot of strain on hips, thighs and butt. While performing this exercise, ensure that your arms are raised at all the time and that they remain straight up and do not bend sideways.
- Complete at least 5 cycles
Squat to stand
This mobility exercise is aimed to improve your inner thighs and hamstrings. Stand with your feet spread out, bend your knees and hold your toes with your hands, try getting into a squat position using your feet and hands while holding the same position for about two seconds. If you can create a slight arch formation in lower back areas, it will aid mobility of hamstrings and loosen up muscles of inner thigh area. While performing this exercise, ensure that your knees are out and chest is up at all the time for maximum benefit.
- Repeat at least 10 times
This exercise hits the muscles that are located around the lower spine, these are very important for long distance running. Lie down on the ground with you face towards ceiling, lift and bend your legs upto 90 degrees. Lift them high enough that your knees are now facing the ceiling. Now spread your arms and swing both your legs towards floor on the left side, try doing so without lifting your shoulder blade from ground. Slowly get back to the original position and repeat the same for the other leg and arm by twisting your body towards right side.
- Perform 8 cycles on each side.
This exercise is aimed at improve mobility of hip flexors or the muscles which help in flexing of thigh bone. Take a stride forward from a standing position until you reach a lunge. Lower you elbow and place it next to the leg which is forward. Now try to pull the behind leg and stand up right by shifting all the pressure onto the first leg. Slowly return to the up-right position and try to thrust your back leg to an even level with your front leg. Repeat the same movement with opposite arm and leg.
- Perform 5 lunges for each leg
This exercise improves flexibility of lower spine area and hips and upper spine and shoulders. You will need a chin-up bar to perform this one. Hold chin-up bar with overhand grip, keep your hands shoulder width apart. Now lift your legs and extend your arms i.e. hang from chip-up bar. Now once you are hanging, try twisting your body from left to right. Initially you might find this very difficult but keep trying to increase the degree of rotation or the body twist. Once done with left side, try the same exercise by hanging and twisting your body from right to left side.
- Repeat 10-12 times for each side.
This is a very simple but one the most important exercise to improve mobility of upper body. Stand against a wall in a way that you back facing the wall. How extend your arms sideways as and raise them to form an ‘L’ shape on both the side. Try pressing your butt, elbows, arms and palms into the wall. Once you are comfortable in this position, raise your arms above your shoulder height and bring them back. Ensure that you keep applying pressure on your butt, elbows, arms and palms against the wall. Now slowly return to the original position.
- Repeat 6 times on both the sides.
This exercise helps in improving mobility of heels and toes, thereby giving you good grip on the ground and assisting in better, faster running. Lean against a wall with the help of your hands in a way that your entire body weight is towards front toes of your feet. Now slowly raise your heel of your left leg about one to two inches off the ground, while doing this, ensure that your toes and front section of the feet is firmly planted on the ground. Keep hands firmly placed on the fall because your toes alone will not be able to support your body in this position. Now return to the original position and repeat the same action with your right leg. Continue this action with both your legs continuously in a bouncy fashion.
- Perform 12 to 16 bounces on each leg