Increase stability and bid farewell to running injuries from runner’s knee to shin splints, if you’re a regular runner then you’ll be no stranger to a niggle.
THE impact of pounding the pavements can wreak havoc on your joints, while your running technique could exacerbate existing muscle imbalances.
But fear not – these hurdles don’t mean you have to pack it in.
Founder of Body Control Pilates, Lynne Robinson, says, “There is a reason why Pilates has grown in popularity with runners, both elite and amateur – it works!
“A few simple moves, done before and/or after your run can make a difference to your stamina and help reduce your risk of injury.”
Boost core stability, alignment and breathing – all of which are a must for anyone looking to run safely and efficiently – with this workout from Lynne.
“Even small adjustments to your alignment can make a huge difference,” she adds.
This workout should ideally be done before runs, but you can do it afterwards, too.
Aim for at least five times a week regardless of your running schedule.
Area trained: QUADS, CALVES, HIPS, KNEES, ANKLES
Why? This move helps correct leg alignment by working on your quads, calves and feet. It also mobilises your hips, knees and ankles.
* Stand with feet hip-width apart and parallel.
* Breathe in and lengthen through your spine as you bend your knees and hips simultaneously to hinge forwards slightly from the hips.
* Reach forward with both arms to counter your balance. Ensure that your ankles, knees and hips are lined up.
* Breathe out as you straighten your legs and repeat.
SAFETY TIP: Keep your chest proud and shoulders back
Area trained: GLUTES, CORE
Why? A more advanced variation of the squat, this will challenge yourpelvic stability and balance as well as strengthening your gluteal muscles.
* In the Pilates squat start position (above), lift one leg. Breathe in as you bend the knee of your standing leg to squat. Keep your hips square and reach forward for balance.
* Breathe out as you straighten your leg and repeat.
REPS: 8 PER SIDE
Area trained: SIDES
Why? In this exercise you achieve a great stretch down the whole side of your body and leg, which can all become tight with lots of running.
* Sit on the floor with soles of feet together and knees bent. Allow them to drop out to the sides.
* With spine long and posture tall, reach up and over with one arm as the other hand stays on the floor for support. Hold the stretch and breathe deeply.
* Repeat on the other side.
REPS: 10 PER SIDE
SAFETY TIP: Make sure you’re not hunching over as you lean
Area trained: BACK, HIPS
Why? This exercise works on mobilising the spine and challenging your pelvic stability.
* Stand tall with your arms bent in front of your chest, just below shoulder height, palms stacked.
* Breathe in to prepare then breathe out as you turn your head, neck and upper spine to one side.
* Breathe in as you lengthen up and rotate back to the starting position.
* Alternate sides.
REPS: 5 PER SIDE
SAFETY TIP: Keep your pelvis still and weight even on both feet
Area trained: GLUTES
Why? The ultimate gluteal exercise, this will also help to ‘correct’ medially rotated femurs.
* Lie on your side, supporting your head with your hand and your other hand on the mat in front of you. Bend your knees and draw your feet back, so that your heels are aligned with the back of your pelvis (as pictured).
* Breathe in to prepare, then breathe out as you open out your top knee from the hip joint, keeping your feet connected.
* Breathe in as you return your leg to the starting position with control, then repeat.
REPS: 12 PER SIDE
SAFETY TIP: Keep your pelvis stable and your waist long
Area trained: BACK
Why? This is a brilliant exercise to correct your posture and strengthen your back muscles, both of which are important for your running form.
* Lie on your front in a straight line with your arms down by your sides, your palms facing down and legs together.
* Breathe in to prepare, then breathe out, reaching through your fingertips.Leading with the crown of your head, lift your head, neck and chest from the mat. At the same time squeeze your inner thighs together.
* Breathe in and ‘feel’ the length of your body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head.
* Breathe out as you lower back down. Release all tension.
SAFETY TIP: Keep your feet on the floor throughout
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