Are you thinking of returning to running this spring? Perhaps you’ve been on hiatus from impact exercise since giving birth or experiencing an injury.
If running is on your list of spring plans, you’ll definitely want to include at least a few weeks of core and lower body stability and strength work before you head out on the roads and trails.
Ensuring we give our body enough time to strengthen and stabilize before adding the impact of running can make all the difference in our return-to-run experience. We’re less likely to experience injury, and more likely to enjoy ourselves when our base of strength and stability has been built up prior to engaging in impact exercise.
The following exercises are tried, tested and true for myself and my clients who have made successful returns to running after injury, birth or any hiatus. They’ll work your glutes, hamstrings, ankles and hips to help you run more powerfully and without pain!
Here are three must do lower body strength and stability exercises to prepare your body for running this spring:
3D Wall Steps
Cues: Using a wall, you’ll step one foot forward, keeping your heel on the ground and back leg straight (not locked out). You’ll do 10 steps going forward, 10 steps laterally out to the side, and 10 steps crossing over. This helps to restore ankle and hip mobility and is honestly one of my favourite exercises as it feels SO good.
Hip Bridge with Ankle Pump
Cues: Using a wall, you’ll set up your body so that your leg has a 120 degree angle. Imagine you’re dragging your foot down the wall, and then peel your hips up off the ground. Lift and lower your heel off the wall while keeping hips elevated.
Be sure to breathe! An excellent exercise to get your calf and hamstring muscles on board to spread the load away from your knee joint. Do 10-15 repetitions on each side.
Equipment: Wall and mat.
Single Leg Clock Taps
Cues: You can use a wall to assist with balance in this exercise as needed. You’ll do a small knee bend to reach your foot out to the front (12 o’clock), then straighten your leg to stand up, repeat the knee bend and take your foot out to 2 o’clock, then 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock and 6 o’clock.
Repeat 3 times and switch to the other leg. This is a stability and strengthening exercises for the muscles of the foot, leg and hip.
Equipment: Optional wall for added stability.
Add the exercises above into your workouts (or do them as a stand alone session) by starting with 2-3 sets. Give yourself at least 3-4 weeks of regular (2-3 times a week) strength building before you head out on the roads and trials and you’ll be so happy you did!
Want to follow the in-depth Return To Impact program I’ve used successfully with myself and hundreds of my clients? Sign up for Return To Impact and build your core strength and hip stability with me for 6 weeks. Includes a bonus 5 Week Return To Running plan too! Sign up HERE.