By Laurel Leicht; Photograph by Freepik
Make sure your muscles are fired up and ready to go.
Your body works as a unit, also known as a kinetic chain. So when one muscle group gets lazy or tense (say, your ankles), another picks up the slack. That can cause painful inflammation issues including IT band syndrome (hip to knee), Achilles tendinitis (calf to heel), and plantar fasciitis (foot), as well as stress fractures, says Malindi Elmore, an Olympic distance runner and coach at the Run SMART Project in Canada.
So what can you do about it? Take the two-pronged approach of loosening and strengthening. Here, three dynamic stretches and body-weight moves will help ease tightness and improve mobility in your lower body while activating and solidifying your core and glutes so they’re ready to fire during your sweat session. Add these exercises to your routine two or three times a week—especially before speed work or an extra-long session.
1/ Activate Your Glutes: LEG-RAISE COMBO
Lie on your left side with hips stacked, legs extended. Lift right leg slowly and with control, then lower. Do 10 to 15 reps; repeat on the other side. Then lie facedown and bend your right leg so the sole of your foot faces up. With glutes engaged, lift your right hip two inches off the floor. Lower slowly. Do 10 to 15 reps; repeat on the other side.
2/ Strengthen Your Core: REVERSE LUNGE WITH TWIST
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot back and bend your left knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor; twist your torso to the left. Return to start. Do 10 to 15 reps; repeat on the other side.
3/ Loosen Your Hips: FIRE HYDRANT
Start on all fours in tabletop position. Keeping your leg bent and back flat, raise your right knee out to the side. Return to start. Do 10 to 15 reps; repeat on the other side.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com