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2. Essential Mobility Drills

Blog 2: 10 Essential Mobility Drills for Runners

Participation numbers for running and athletics are on the rise. In summer 2016 it was announced that 2.49 million people were taking part in some form of athletics. Unfortunately anywhere between 65-80% of all runners are estimated to sustain an injury in any given year with an injury, on average, occurring every 100 hours of running. The last thing you want or need is an injury to limit or compromise your training.

All is not lost! Simple drills done consistently well as part of your training program can dramatically reduce your risk of injury. We appreciate that sometimes all you want to do is put on your trainers and hit the tarmac but due to the physical demands of running a good warm up is always essential.

Both mobility and stability are essential to keeping injury free. This article will focus on mobility and provide you with ten simple mobility drills you can complete either before you run or as part of your recovery to help keep your joints and tissues mobile. It’s true that the body is an integration of multiple systems working together. In the case of your musculoskeletal system, if one joint or tissue isn’t as mobile as it should be a different joint or tissue will have pick up the slack. This could lead to an injury or a loss of efficiency in your running technique.

The following video demonstrates 10 mobility drills you can use before you head out or once you’re back as part of your cool down and recovery.


Video: 10 Mobility drills for runners


Here are some coaching tips for each of the drills in the video. Complete 2-3 sets of 30 seconds on each drill. The times next to the titles are where you can find the drills in the video.

1.     Dynamic Ankles (0:07)

Part 1

Targets soleus and the Achilles as well as the flexors of your toes. Use a wall or step to dorsiflex the foot and repeatedly try and take your knee as far forward as you can. Alter the frequency of the stretch as you work through your set.

Part 2

For the second stretch, work your knee over your foot and back to a neutral position allowing your knee to track inside and outside your toes.


2.     Side lying hip flexor stretch (0:40)

Lie on your side with your head supported if possible. Take your bottom knee up to 90° and support it there with your bottom hand. With your top hand move your top leg back wards so your hip extends and your knee flexes. Keep your core engaged throughout to prevent your pelvis anteriorly tilting.


3.     Thoracic rotations – Side Lying (0:59)

Part 1

Lying on your side with your hands and legs together rotate your torso as far as possible without letting your legs lift or roll in the same direction. Part2

Sweep your top hand through a wide arc overhead and to the opposite side to your body from your knees. As above, don’t allow your knees to lift. Only use the range you have available.


4.     Posterior hip stretch (1:22)

Part 1

In a seated position cross your legs so your heel sits on top of your opposite knee in a figure 4 position. Once in this positioning flex your torso forward to a point of stretch until you feel a stretch through the back of your hip

Part 2

Use a bench or a step as an aid and try and flatten your shin to the surface you are leaning on. Extend your back leg as much as possible. Once set up reach across from your supported leg. Follow your hand with your eyes.


5.     Adductor rock backs (1:42)

Start in a quadruped position and move one leg out to the side. Pivot your pelvis all the way forward and all the way back towards your heels. You should feel a stretch in the inside of your thigh. Once in the back position externally rotate your hip to point your toes towards the sky to change the focus of the stretch.


6.     4 Point Thoracic Reach (1:56)

Start in a quadruped position and reach one hand through under your weight bearing arm. Reach along three axes;

Hip to shoulder

Shoulder to shoulder

Opposite hip to shoulder


7.     3D Hip flexor series (2:11)

In a half kneeling position work through a series moving through the following;

Hands reaching forward at knee height

Hands rotating over your lead leg

Hands over head swinging over your lead leg


8.     Reverse Hurdles (2:32)

Walking backwards flex your hip forward and rotate your knee out as far as you can control. To move backwards reach your toe as far back as you can before grounding it.


9.     Walking knee hugs (2:51)

Stay tall on your standing leg and actively lift your knee towards your chest. At the top of your range use your hands to add an extra stretch to your glute. At the same time add a heel lift to your standing leg


10. Walking hip cradle (3:06)

As above but take your heel across your body of your non-standing leg rotating your hip as you lift your leg towards your chest.

Thanks for reading! Our next post will focus on activation drills for runners that will compliment the mobility drills discussed in this article.

If you have any questions about your running training, an injury or any of the information in this post feel free to contact us using the details below. The Cheltenham challenge offer is still active and we’d be happy to discuss any elements of your training with you.

Tel. 01452 595245




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