Running occurs in three planes: sagittal (front/back), frontal (side-to-side), and transverse (left/right rotation.) Efficient, healthy running happens when your joints are able to move freely through these three planes. For runners, full-range movement at the ankles, hips, and thoracic spine (t-spine) is crucial. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle may be an impediment to good running. Sitting, hunched forward for work and travel promotes rigid, poorly moving joints.
Running requires you to generate force for propulsion and absorb impact forces. Optimally, those forces are distributed efficiently through all of your joints, muscles, connective tissue, and bones. If a joint is restricted, then forces are distributed inefficiently and certain tissues may receive more stress than they can withstand. The consequences of poor joint mobility may include tendinopathies, and pain in your knees, hips, low-back, shoulders, and/or neck. You can guard against these problems by addressing mobility in your ankles, hips, and trunk.
The following exercises are dynamic drills, not static stretches. You’ll drive in and out of the position of stretch. Hold the stretch no more than about a second.