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Mobility moves for runners

This is an excerpt from Breakthrough Women's Running by Neely S. Spence Gracey & Cindy Kuzma.

Mobility exercises loosen your body, balance your muscles, and pinpoint areas that are sore, tight, and in need of additional attention. I have an entire 20-minute mobility routine I do two or three times a week, before or after a long run or workout (you can find the whole thing on my YouTube channel). Here are some of my favorite exercises, and table 8.2 lists a few ways to combine them. For exercises with the foam roller or lacrosse ball, pause on any particularly sore or tight spots, then breathe deeply and feel them gently release.

Table 8.2 Targeted Training

Exercise 1: Hip Flexor Stretch into TFL Roll

How it helps: Opens up hips, helps prevent side stitches

How to do it: Lie on your back with your upper back and head resting on the floor and the foam roller under your hips (photo a). As you feel your hips release, lightly massage the front of your hips and obliques with your hands. After about 15 to 20 seconds, bend your left knee and twist your lower body to your right side; for about 10 seconds, gently roll the TFL, a key muscle on the side of your hip (photo b). Return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side, bending your right knee and twisting to your left.

Hip flexor stretch into TFL roll (a) start and (b) finish.
Hip flexor stretch into TFL roll (a) start and (b) finish.

Exercise 2: Three-Part Lunge

How it helps: Stretches hip flexors and obliques

How to do it: Kneel down, then step your left foot forward, bending your knee at a 90-degree angle. Hold the foam roller in front of you with your arms outstretched. First, pulse forward gently with your hips as you lift the roller over your head (photo a). Repeat five times. Then extend your torso to lift the roller above your head and to your left while again gently pulsing forward five times (photo b). Finally, hold the roller out in front of you again and fully twist your torso to your right five times, over your planted knee, and keep the roller level (photo c). Switch your legs and repeat all three movements on the other side.

Three-part lunge (a) start, (b) middle, and (c) finish.
Three-part lunge (a) start, (b) middle, and (c) finish.

More Excerpts From Breakthrough Women's Running