The weather has finally brightened up here and I’ve started to see people in Barnes, take to the streets for their daily jog.
Here at our Personal training studio in Barnes, Mortlake, we’ve been working on getting people ready to run.
One of the common issues with running is that the repeated motion and impact can cause more injuries than you’d like.
Tom, 38, works at a desk for 8 hours taking few breaks in between. Constantly on the phone and typing, has caused his shoulders to round forward. Suffering from neck and lower back pain, he’s decided to start running to get back into shape aiming for a 10km run, he’s also joined a local running club to help with motivation.
Imagine, the type of posture that he’s in for 8 hours of the day.
Staring at the computer screen, his head has leaned forward putting extra pressure on his cervical spine, his muscles at the back of his neck and shoulders have had to bear the load causing them to tighten up.
Tension from stress of working have also made his neck and shoulders unusually tight.
Tom’s hip flexors have also tightened up, sitting down for 8 hours have made his core weak. As the hip flexors have become tighter he now has slight anterior pelvic tilt, causing his lower back to strain.
Tom is a broken man with a passion to run.
Here’s how we helped him.
Work on Improving his Thoracic mobility
Since we know his shoulders have started to round, the first plan of action is improving his mobility and flexibility.
Side lying thoracic extension
This movement helps to open his thoracic and lengthen his back and chest.
Perform this movement by –
Lying on your side with both hands on top.
Legs have to be in a 90 degree bend
Lift one arm up and bring it behind you till it rests on the floor, the idea is to be able to reach the floor with your opposite shoulder
As funny as the name sounds, its perfect for people who are tight in their chest and shoulders.
You can perform this movement with a resistance band, light bar, or just your arms.
Lift the band/bar above your head, keeping the elbows straight, pull the arms back behind you.
The end position should be like the above picture.
Reverse the movement back up to the top, keeping your elbows straight as you lift.
If you have trouble lifting the band up again, bend the elbows to make the movement easier until you can do them with arms straight.
Resisted No Money Exercise
This exercise again sounds terrible, this came to our attention when Eric Cressey a strength and conditioning coach in America, started using it with his athletes.
Perform this movement by making sure you keep your elbows as close to your waist as possible. Pull back your shoulders and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Be sure to keep the shoulders down as best you can.
Self Myo-fascial Release Techniques
The foam roller is a tool we use at the studio to help inhibit over-active muscles.
Tom has been sitting on the desk for hours, his hip flexor is tight, we can only assume that this is one of the causes of his low back pain after assessing his lifestyle.
Self Myofascial release
SMR – Hip Flexors ( Very Painful)
This is an extremely painful one to do, I remember lying on the foam roller crying when I first did it. It was not a pretty sight…
However what I did feel after the next couple of weeks was my hips were much more looser.
Sadly, I’ve neglected the foam rolling and I can feel my right hip getting alot tighter and it’s even causing my right foot to turn.
To perform this exercise (picture above)
Lie directly on top of the foam roller with hip on top
Roll towards the mid-thigh
Search for pressure points along the thigh/hip
Once found apply pressure for 30 secs. Work your way up to 1 min in the following months.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Josh Rubin from East West Healing, does a great job of explaining this stretch.
Re-Awaken the sleepy glutes
Yes it’s true, the glutes can also nap during activities such as running, for some they may even be asleep.
This all depends on your running style, stride length, etc.
Here are a few exercises we use to re-activate the glutes.
I’m sure you’ve all deadlifted before, think about the last time you picked up a box? or picked up your child….
This is a common movement we use day to day, but how many of you can do it right?
It may seem like a simple movement but there are at least 8-10 teaching points before we even lift the bar up from the ground.
It’s recommended that you should consult a trainer at your local fitness centre to coach you through, if you happen to be in South west london Barnes/Mortlake, come to our personal training studio and see one of our personal trainers who will be happy to coach you through the technique.
Hip Raise –
The hip raise is a classic move we use to teach people about glute activation.
Once you’re firing off the next progression is doing it weighted
To recap what we’ve been looking at is how we can improve mobility and flexibility to allow for better running mechanics.
Most people will tell you just to run…..but we think you should address a few of the issues outlined in this article to make sure you don’t pick up more injuries.
Remember if you already have bad running mechanics it’s only going to get worse without addressing alignment issues.
Thanks for reading.
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