I’ve been learning so much in my running journey over the last three-months. Did you know that if you stretch your range of motion in your hip joint you can actually become a better runner? If your hips are too tight your leg won’t extend behind your body very far before swinging forward, which reduces the propulsion your body has the potential to exhibit. These stretches are meant to open your hip joint in order to improve your running.
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Kneeling Hip-Flexor Stretch
Step into a lunge position, and lower you back knee to the ground. Keep your upper body straight while you tilt your pelvis forward. Hold for one minute, release, and repeat twice more. Then switch to the other leg.
Pull in your right knee, holding it against your chest. Keeping your head and shoulder blades on the floor, push up with your left leg into a bridge position while keeping your right leg against you. Push up, keeping the pelvis level, then lower yourself down. Do 12 to 15, then switch legs. Do three sets on each side.
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With your head, shoulders, and both feet on the floor, push up into a bridge position. While up, begin “marching”—alternate lifting each foot about an inch off the ground, while keeping your pelvis steady and facing straight up. Do three sets of 20 marches (10 on each leg), with a short break between each set.
Bend and lift your left leg in front of you, then swing it back behind you as far as it will reach without moving your pelvis or lower back. This is the running motion you want to have—hip extending back, pelvis and lower back neutral (not arched). Do two sets of 20 swings with each leg, alternating legs with each set.
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Starting in a v-shape position with hands and feet flat against the floor, pull your right leg through, placing your right foot next to your left hand and your right knee next to your right hand. Bring your butt as close to the floor as you can as you place the top of your left foot on the ground with your leg stretching behind you. Sit up tall and then bending forward at the waist, touch your forehead to the floor. Hold, release and repeat on the left side.
Get into a lunge position with the right knee at a 90-degree angle, knee not passing the toes, and the left leg straight. Put your hands flat to the floor on either side of your right foot. Then move your right foot to the outside of your right hand, toes at a 45 degree angle. Move around in this stretch, roll to the outside edge of your right foot opening your right knee to the floor, or lower your left knee to the floor. When you feel adequately stretched, switch legs.