Maximize Your Running Potential with Physical Therapy Exercises from MRCP
If you are a new runner, it is likely that one of your biggest concerns is getting injured. In fact, there is a common misconception that runners are more likely to develop knee injuries or osteoarthritis over non-runners. This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you understand how to maintain proper form and prevent future running related injuries. While most runners don’t seek help from a physical therapist until they’re injured, there is a lot you can do to prevent running injuries from wreaking havoc on both your body and training schedule in the first place. Fortunately, many physical therapists are also runners themselves and are highly experienced in the field of restoring and improving motion.
5 Physical Therapy Exercises to Prevent Running Injuries and Improve Performance
Whether you are new to running or a long-time runner, it’s important to find a routine that allows your body time to adapt. Gradually building your base of fitness is a good place to start, as setting more ambitious goals will likely contribute to an increased risk of injury. Here are a few important physical therapy exercises for runners who want to stay injury free:
- Single Leg Deadlift: While it may sound intimidating, a deadlift is a relatively slow exercise that focuses on balance. The exercise works one leg at a time, allowing you to work out your hamstrings. Hamstrings are one of the most important muscles for running, yet they are often the weakest muscle in most runners.
- Side and Rotational Lunges: Runners typically lack mobility in the frontal and transverse planes. Side lunges can help you move into the frontal plane position and open up your hips, while working to stretch the abductors as well as your glutes. Rotational lunges are also a great exercise as they help to open up the hips in ways that many other exercises don’t.
- Squats: Most runners experience tight quads and weak glutes and hamstrings. While these factors often contribute to poor running form and mobility, squats are an excellent way to build a strong foundation for running. Try to vary your foot position periodically to make sure you are working every part of the muscle.
- Hip Flexor Stretch: Hip mobility is extremely important for runners. The hip flexor stretch is especially good for runners who spend most of their day sitting, as this position often contributes to tight hips. Tighter hips make it challenging for runners to extend their leg behind them as they stride, causing you to overwork your muscles when the foot reaches forward.
- Foam Roll: While foam rolling is not exactly a conventional exercise, it is one of the best ways for runners to keep their muscles healthy and hydrated. To foam roll the legs correctly, be sure to move the roller up and down your quads and calf muscles as slowly as possible. As you do so, be sure to turn the body slightly to get the outer and inner parts of these muscles warmed up as well.
For over 40 years, Medical Rehabilitation Centers of Pennsylvania has been providing patients with professional physical therapy services, backed by high-quality customer care. Our licensed physical therapists are experts in preventing injuries and improving performance, in addition to treating injuries if they occur, so you can get back to training quickly and safely. We have an extensive history in providing our patients with significant improvements and successful resolutions to a wide variety of conditions. For runners, we can develop a customized treatment program that includes exercises to increase your body’s strength, which helps to improve form, control and movement patterns, while also reducing your risk of sustaining minor or serious injuries. By taking our injury-prevention strategies into account, we can help you get back to the activities you love doing the most.