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Runners, Here's Why You Need to Stretch AND Strengthen

7/24/15 11:03 AM


 

 

Stretching is a very critical piece of preparing for and cooling down from a run, no matter the length or intensity.

Warm up stretching should be minimal and non-aggressive prior to running; followed by extensive and more aggressive stretching post-run.

Major muscles and muscle groups should be stretche

d at both times. These include: quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hip rotators, shoulders and upper / lower back. These are all very important muscles involved in running. Keep them happy and they will keep you running happy!

 

Strengthening

Most of us runners like to get out there and just RUN. Right?!...

However, to be a really good runner, there should be a strengthening regime added to your running program to improve your performance and minimize your risk of injury.

Forward movement in running is partially generated by hip flexion (bending at the hip to bring your leg forward) and excelerated by hip extension (gluts / buttocks contract to extend your leg behind you). But this also requires stability to land your foot properly with each stride. This is supplied by the total package that is your hip musculature. Good strength and control in your hips (and of course other parts of your body) is one of the key components to good, strong running.


Here are a few strengthening exercises you can do right in your own home to get started. These are all compound exercises to improve (primarily) hip and knee strength.

 

There are several more exercises, of course, that can be done to improve your general strength for better running. Need some guidance on these exercises? Check out the nearly 5 minute free vieo below for some tips.

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If you experience any musculoskeletal pain while running or completing these exercises, Physical Therapy here at Onondaga Physical Therapy may help! Always consult your physician prior to starting a new workout to make sure it is safe for you.

The skilled Therapist’s at OPT can help you get started or maintain your running so you don’t miss a step!

Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: running, exercises, stretching, strengthening