Saturday, January 31, 2015

3-D Hip Flexor Stretching

The detrimental affects of prolonged sitting, especially in office workers, has been the center of much recent discussion. Some have even considered it the "new smoking." Athletes moonlighting as office workers are scrambling to find solutions to counter-act the forces of sitting.  Standing desks and stability balls have been finding their way onto office floors to provide a solution for the standard office chair.

For runners, the number one affect of prolonged sitting is tight hip flexors.  They originate from the back and attach to the hip. The hip flexors are located a couple inches outside the belly button. Tightness of the hip flexor limits your stride length, and contributes to low back pain, knee pain and even foot pain. For example, if your left hip flexor is tight it will limit the right leg’s ability to reach forward, resulting in a shortened stride or forcing the leg to cross midline.  Since the hip flexors attach to the spine, tightness will pull the spine forward leading to bad alignment. Lastly, it can lead to prolonged pronation of the foot.

Here are 2 different techniques on how to stretch the hip flexors. AND on 3Drunner, I'll show you how to stretch them in all three planes of motion.

Hip flexor stretch  #1

Hip flexor stretch #2

*** The stretches should be felt in the front of the pelvis. If you don't feel a stretch in the front of the hips, tuck your pelvis under your body. Another cue is to contract your glutes.

For each stretch perform 10 -15 movements per plane of motion depending on how tight you  feel.

After stretching, your hip muscles may feel a bit funny, loose and wobbly. This feeling is due to the newly stretched muscles not knowing how to control movement. They have been “sleeping” for some time and need to be retrained. In running, the hip flexor muscles are used eccentrically ( meaning they lengthen) so it’s better to work them eccentrically.

Lunge with overhead reach

Perform 5-10 of each of the lunges.

Here's a bonus video on how to mobilize your hip flexors.
Using a ball to roll on the muscle is like getting a massage. This will enhance the stretches and mobility exercises.

Hip Flexor Roll Out


A minimum of 2 minutes per side.

Hope this helps. 

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

3D Calf stretching

With the New Year comes resolutions to run faster, longer and stronger, yet shortly into your New Year's Day run, your foot, ankle and/or knee starts to ache. You're tough and want to stick to your new years goals so you keep going, but what gives? How long is this going to last? Is this going to turn into an injury which may impact your 2015 goals?

For females, our ankles and calves get tight from wearing high heels during the New Year's Eve celebrations. Yes, just those few hours of wearing heels can have long lasting effects on the mobility of your ankle. Males who wear certain styles of dress shoes are also prone to having tight ankles which impact mobility. The limitation in mobility can alter your mechanics leading to ankle, knee, hip or even back pain.


Here are a few ways to keep your ankles and calves mobile to help you stay on track to reach your running goals.

Lacrosse Ball Roll 

Compression Band for the Calf

 * a bike tube cut into a long strap and down the center can be used if you don't have a compression band. Use for no more then 2 minutes.

Calf Stretch