Running-specific warm-up exercises The exercises described in the following section are applicable to runners of all speeds and abilities. Jog for a minimum of 5 minutes before performing them and progress gradually in terms of distance, reps and sets (the drills covered in the previous two chapters can also be included). Suggested reps and sets are provided but these are for guideline purposes only.
Ex 4.1 Lunge walk Benefits This exercise loosens up the hips and hamstrings and strengthens the quads, glutes and hamstring muscles. How to perform Take a large step forward into a lunge then step forward into another lunge. Keep your chest up and look straight ahead, co-ordinating arm and leg movements (opposite arm to leg). Keep your knee behind your ankle when planting on each lunge.
Do: 4 x 20m
Ex 4.2 High knee march Benefits This exercise benefits the hip flexor muscles and ankle strength and improves the running drive phase. How to perform Extend onto the toes of one leg, while lifting the thigh parallel to the ground. Next, dynamically drive this leg towards the ground to strike it on your forefoot, while lifting the other to a thighâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parallel position. Repeat. Co-ordinate your arms with your legs and keep the chest elevated throughout. The speed of the drill can be increased as the warm-up progresses.
Do: 4 x 15m Progressions Perform with arms held straight over head (see photo) or perform holding a Powerbag or weights disc at armâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s length.
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Ex 4.3 Elbow to inside of ankle lunge Benefits This exercise benefits hip flexibility and hamstring strength and will also develop better balance. The forward lean also stretches the lower back. How to perform This exercise is very similar to exercise 4.1, the lunge walk, except that you should extend your trunk forwards over your extended leg during each lunge. So, if your right leg were to the front, you would take your right elbow down to the inside of your right ankle. Pause, then step into another lunge, incline your trunk forward and repeat to the left side.
Do: 4 x 15m
Ex 4.4 Calf drill Benefits This exercise benefits lower limb and Achilles tendon strength and flexibility. How to perform Keep your legs relatively straight and use a heel-to-toe action to move forward. Co-ordinate your arms with your legs and keep your chest elevated. Try to â&#x20AC;&#x153;rollâ&#x20AC;? across each foot and take small steps.
Do: 4 x 20m
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Ex 4.5 Backwards running Benefits This exercise benefits lower limb and ankle strength, agility and flexibility. Also known as back-pedals, they are often used by sports rehabilitation specialists treating ACL injuries (see chapter 1) and lower back injuries. Often the injured runner can back pedal before they can run forwards. How to perform A great warm-up exercise, performing drills such as backwards running will also pre-condition against common running injuries, such as shin-splints, and strengthen the knee and ankle joints. While doing them you should focus on being “light” on your feet and generating movement from the balls of your feet. This plyometric drill will improve your reactivity and leg power.
Do: 3–4 x 20m Progressions On pushing back into each step, lift each leg up, out and back further, to run in reverse. This will open up stride length and develop quadriceps and calf muscle strength.
Ex 4.6 Simulated running arm action See page 35 for details on how to perform this exercise.
Ex 4.7 Hamstring and lower back walk and sweep stretch Benefits This exercise will mobilise your lower back and hamstrings, which is an area in which runners often suffer from stiffness/tightness. How to perform Step forwards, placing the heel of your extended leg on the ground and dorsiflexing your foot, while sitting back over your rear leg’s heel and sweeping your arms from behind your body to a position in front. Hold for a split second and then stand and move forward by advancing the rear leg to the front and repeating the movement. If you experience problems, isolate one rep at a time, performing a number of reps to one side at a time. Do: 4 x 10 reps
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Ex 4.8 Standing to press-up Benefits This exercise warms up the lower back, hamstrings, calf muscles and torso (and also strengthens the latter, the shoulders and the chest). How to perform Stand tall and hinge from your hips to place your fingers/hands (depending on your flexibility) on the ground in front of your feet. Then gradually start to walk your hands away from you, extending your body into a press-up position as you do so. Complete a designated number of press-ups and then walk your hands back in to stand back up.
Do: 6 reps Progressions Make the press-ups strong â&#x20AC;&#x201C; lower to a two count and press up to a one count.
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