Top 5 exercises for runners
Exercises for runners
Runners are much more likely than the general population to suffer short-term injuries, such as sprains, strains, and stress fractures. In the United States the annual injury rate of recreational runners is close to 50%. Also, nearly 70% of injured runners will be re-injured within 12 months. Although there will always be the cursed few who will sustain injuries, simple exercises can be done to dramatically reduce your chances of a running injury.
Running is a single legged activity, and with all single legged movements hips stability is key. Weakness in both the core and hip abductor muscles have been proven to predispose individuals to knee injures. Due to the high demands on the hip during running, many of our exercises focus on engaging the hips. While there are many exercises out there for runners, below is our top 5.
Eccentric clam shell
To perform the eccentric clam shell exercise lie on your side with a resistance band just above your knees. Keeping your knees bent and your heels together raise the top leg up then slowly lower the top leg back down under resistance.
Eccentric calf raise
To perform eccentric calf raises stand on the edge of a stair with your heels unsupported. (It is recommended to perform while wearing a weighted backpack or holding a weight in front of yourself) lift upward with both legs simultaneously and lower yourself slowly back down. Should be done with legs straight and with knees bent.
To perform the side plank rest on the floor with your hips and knees bent while your upper body is supported on your flexed elbow. While maintaining ground contact with the legs and the down knee, lift the pelvis up and forward as if rising from a chair. To perform the front plank keeping your elbows under your shoulder and toes touching the ground raise your body up so you are straight from head to toe.
To perform the glute bridge lie flat on your back with knees bent and heels flat on floor. Contract glutes and elevate pelvis. Contract glutes so that pelvis is inline with knees and shoulders. If cramping occurs in the hamstrings try starting with your heels closer to your butt.
Lateral band walks
To perform the lateral band walks stand with your knees and hips slightly bent. A band is placed around knees, and while maintaining your feet facing forward walk side to side avoiding knees moving in front of toes.
How often to perform these exercises for runners
The ideal number of repetitions and amount of resistance necessary to improve strength varies from person to person according to their level of fitness. A good starting point for unfit individuals would be 4 sets of 12 repetitions performed to failure 3x per week. For fit individuals, 4 sets of 8 repetitions performed to failure 2x per week. To reach failure use a stronger resistance band as needed. The plank exercises can be held for a duration.
Behm Muscle & Joint Clinic and running injuries
It is important that if you are dealing with a specific injury to seek the advice of a medical professional. These exercises are designed to be implemented into your current training program, specific rehabilitation exercises are used for specific injuries. At our clinic in Bellevue, NE we treat many Omaha runners. Our clinic combines Chiropractic, Rehabilitation, and evidence based soft tissue therapies (Active Release, IASTM, Dry Needling) treat various overuse injuries caused by running. If you are seeking the advice of a professional do not hesitate to call our clinic at 402-292-1450 or schedule a consultation online.