This routine is a fantastic full-body routine that can be done before or after a run. It is designed to release the tight spots that most commonly limit runners, while also strengthening key areas that are often neglected. To understand the general theory behind these exercises we recommend watching this video, which we created to explain how our mobility programs work. Essentially the most important concept for real mobility is that there is ‘active’ intent (i.e. muscles are being contracted & not simply relaxed into).
Most common limited areas for runners.
This routine addresses all three of these areas.
Breakdown of the Exercises
Standing Assisted Knee Drives – This exercise is really designed to focus on opening up the entire hip flexor complex. It is a great drill to provide an active mobility stimulus in order to help the often tight hip flexor to release. This is important for running because of a concept known as reciprocal inhibition. Essentially reciprocal inhibition is the idea that we can create range in one muscle group by releasing or activating the muscle group opposing. In this particular exercise, we are aiming to utilise this concept in order to improve our hip extension and the ability of our glutes to fire effectively.
Standing Hip Flexor Drives – This is the same concept above, with a strength training focus applied (i.e. placing a loaded stimulus on the muscle). Because we are working on our end range strength we are able to actually work towards increasing our mobility long term. This is because we are causing a tissue response to occur, that will interplay with our nervous system, thus allowing greater trust from our brain when moving in ‘risky’ end ranges due to the increased control we have.
Spinal Peel downs – Moving our spine is one of the best things we can do for our overall longevity. Because absolutely everything that our body does runs through our spine, it is critical that we keep healthy. One of the best ways to maintain spinal health is through movement. This drill is designed to create articulation through each one of the individual spinal facet joints in order to get our spine articulating properly. A lack of movement in the spine can be a contributor to pain, particularly if our brain perceives a lack of control over certain segments of the spine.
Egyptians – It’s incredibly important to get our shoulders moving through their rotational axis, allowing the humeral head to move in the glenoid fossa. This is one of the first things to go in a healthy shoulder that lacks movement, which can lead to aberrant shoulder function over time. This exercise does just this, allowing our shoulder to rotate through its full range of motion, while also
Neck CAR – A lot of people ask the question, is it safe to move my neck like this? Our answer is always if you can move it there, then it was designed to go there. Where people come into problems is through the ‘use it or lose it’ principle. A lot of the time, people don’t move their neck much at all [See detailed anatomy here]. The body the maladapts to this lack of movement & starts to perceive less control. When someone is in this state, all it takes is an unexpected application of force & their brain will send a pain signal in response to the perceived threat. By performing this exercise we can help our brain to communicate with the muscles in the neck, providing a movement stimulus to the joints. This tells our body that our neck is still in use and is safe to move.
1/2 Kneeling Hip Flexor Drill – An active isometric drill. This has the effect of reciprocal inhibition for our hip extension (glutes) that we described above, as well an effect of increased range that is best described by a concept called Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. Essentially when we contract our muscle at its end range of motion isometrically we send a stimulus to our brain that our body it is safe to move in this range of motion. Our brain then recognises this and allows our muscles to move in this increased range of motion by approx. 10-15 degrees. By doing this drill regularly we can not only temporarily increase our range of motion, but also create strength in this range (as we are forcefully contracting). Creating strength means that our body will be able to maintain this range, as it will cause an adaptation to the tissue itself, making it more resilient so our brain will recognise the end range as a now ‘safe range’. NOTE: this typically applies to ‘lost’ ranges of motion that are within anatomical limits.
90:90 PAILs/ RAILs – The principles behind this exercise is the same as above. This drill is incredibly important for runners, as a lot of soft tissue restrictions stem from internal rotation of the hip. The main limiter of hip internal rotation is the hip capsule itself, which is mostly ligamentous (non-muscular). This tissue will respond to active stimulus over time. This drill is crucial for runners who regularly struggle with any form of hip limitation, as in almost all cases people with hip issues struggle with their internal rotation.
Hip Internal Rotation 90:90: “This drill is crucial for runners who regularly struggle with any form of hip limitation, as in almost all cases people with hip issues struggle with their internal rotation.”
Swivel Hips – An active end range mobility drill to take advantage of the increased ROM (Range Of Motion) created by the last drill.
Glute Bridge – A strength-focused exercise that will help build strength by working the large glute muscles in hip extension to cement the range of motion that has been created by the exercises above. Hip extension loss and glute dysfunction are two of the most musculoskeletal dysfunctions we see in sedentary populations.
Hip CAR – An active end range mobility drill to take advantage of the increased ROM created by the last drill. Remember that active mobility is what helps our nervous system to trust us in ranges of motion.
Founder – This exercise is going to provide strength in the low back, mid-back, while lengthening the hamstrings in a loaded position. It also highlights the importance of breathing into mobility positions. Breathing allows us to relax effectively and causes our brain to calm down its nervous response the facilitates muscle tension. Essentially when we breathe, our brain trusts our ability to control itself.
Warrior – Another example of an active hip flexor stretch that is placing load on the tissue (i.e. Hip Flexor).
So Why The Detail?
The aim of this article is to educate you on how the amazing structure that you’re walking around in daily (i.e. your body) actually works through a practical introduction to achieving your goals, We find that when people understand what they’re doing, they’re able to get significantly better results and enjoy the process a whole lot more.