The theme of this month’s workout round up could not have been more appropriate: injury prevention workouts for runners! We all deal with our fair share of injuries, whether they are running related or you just happen to step on the wrong spot on that slick rock while hiking and sprain your foot…
Injuries are NOT an inevitable fact of being a runner, despite the statistics that proclaim that as many as 80% of runners are injured per year. No matter what your biomechanics are, you can smooth out muscular imbalances and strengthen weak areas. Here are 6 injury prevention workouts for runners!
Most running injuries stem from a major area: the hips and the glutes. IT band syndrome, piriformis syndrome, runner’s knee, hamstring issues, etc – all stem from weak and imbalanced hips. Even foot issues can be related to hips, since usually the foot that pronates more than the other does so because of a shorter leg or imbalanced hips.
So let’s strengthen those hips and activate those glutes!
Kneeling Donkey Kicks:
Kneel on your hands and knees. Engage your abs and keep your back flat and your hips level. Squeeze your glutes and kick up your right knee while maintaining a bent knee (90 degrees). Lower slowly back down and repeat on the left. Alternate until you complete all reps.
Single Leg Bridges:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor close to your butt. Raise your right leg straight up. While keeping your abs engaged, hips level, and squeezing your glutes, raise your butt off the ground. Your body should form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Slowly lower back down, keeping your hips level. Complete all reps on one side and then repeat with your left leg extended up.
Lie on your right side with your hips stacked, legs, and feet stacked and knees bent to a 45 degree angle in front of you. Keep your right leg on the floor and your right foot touching your left foot and raise your left knee up to lift your right leg. Only raise your knee as high as you can go without your heels coming apart from each other. Pause, and then slowly lower down. Do all reps on your right side and then repeat on your left side. You know you’re doing this move properly when your glutes really burn!
Side Lying Leg Lifts:
A Pilates favorite of mine for strong hips and glutes. Lie on your right side with your shoulders, hips, and legs stacked, legs extended straight out from your hips at a 45 degree angle in front of you. (An easy way to align: line up your back along one side of a yoga mat and extend your feet out to the bottom corner of the opposite side). Flex your bottom foot. Point your top foot and lift it up as high as you can without shifting your hips or rotating your torso, pause, and flex your foot to lower down. Complete all reps on one side before repeating on the other side.
These may not work your glutes and hips as much, but they will strengthen your feet, ankles, and calves – which all runners will benefit from. Stand up straight with your feet hip distance apart and slowly raise up until you are standing on your toes. Keep your back straight and avoid wobbling your torso forward or backwards. Pause and slowly lower down. To make this exercise harder, lift one leg and perform the calf raises on just one leg at a time.
Of course, you can customize this workout to add on exercises to target your specific areas. For example, I’ll be adding on resistance band exercises for my feet to rehab my sprained ankle. No matter what your weak area, these five moves will help you prevent injury!
Not a fan of donkey kicks or bridges? Try one of these other workouts from my wonderful partner running bloggers:
Allie at Vita Train 4 Life is practicing the best form of injury prevention: recovery after a race. She’s in Italy relaxing, not training hard, and enjoying delicious food after a triumphant Olympic distance triathlon. No matter how good you are about injury prevention, you should never neglect recovery!
Nellie from Brooklyn Active Mama will keep you injury-free with her 5 Easy Tips for Runner Injury Prevention!
Carly at Fine Fit Day has a quick and effective routine for you to sneak in after a run to keep injuries away.
Sarah at Run Far Girl‘s routine will give your balanced hips, activated glutes, and a strong core for many injury-free miles.
Angela at Happy Fit Mama has a workout that will build an injury-proof body with strong legs, glutes, and core!
What’s your favorite injury prevention exercise?
Have you ever experienced a injury that kept you from running?
What’s your best tip for staying injury-free?