After our ESPA Life Running Club's first run this morning, we thought we would share tips on how to stretch. It may sound simple but getting the technique right can make all the difference!
The foam roller is great way to start a warm up routine. Its low intensity yet is particularly efficient at myofascial release prior to exercise. A great analogy would be to imagine your muscles as elastic bands with knots in them. Stretching a muscle might elongate the muscle tissue however it would not get rid of the knots. The foam roller however ‘irons out’ these knots making it a valuable tool. I particular like the calf and IT band exercises prior to running (Fig 1 and 2). Make sure you roll full length of the muscle and go nice and slowly. Repeat 10 times each leg.
Running should always be performed in the sagittal plane. If there is any inward or outward rotation of the hips (causing outward, inward movement of the knee), this will not only affect performance it will also increase the risk of injury. To ensure this does not occur, you need to mobilise the hip adductors (Fig 3) and abductors (Fig 4), by using lateral movements, which prevent tightness. This will mean all motion will be moving forward and there will be no compromises down or up the body causing unwanted rotation and subsequent injury problems.
I am a big fan of athletic drills, prior to running. My favourite is the high knee drill (Fig 5). Drills are more dynamic than other warm up exercises and of course they raise the heart rate. They also get the body going through further ranges of motion by utilising the stretch reflex as well as replicating the running action. High knee drills or any other athletic drills should be performed fast and you should always look forward when performing them. This will keep your spine in a neutral position and prevent the hip going into flexion/extension, thus affecting stride length. I would perform each drill 5 times for 30 metres. Walk back to recover.
By David Griffin
Join our ESPA Life Running Club every Tuesday & Thursday for a motivating run with us - the ESPA Life at Corinthia Personal Training Team!
We will be meeting every Tuesday Morning(7am) & Thursday Afternoon (4pm) in the ESPA Life at Corinthia Gym to stretch & run a route ofthe local area. Our team will be there to guide the run, help improve your technique, motivate you & make sure you give those muscles an effictive pre & post run stretch.
Whether you're a beginner or a pro, a Running Club is a great way to improve your run or get you started! Water & Towels will be provided!
Tip: Have a light bite to eat, like a Banana, 30 minutes before the run & bring a light rain jacket, if possible.
See you soon, runners!