The exercises you do before your workout may matter just as much as the main event. That’s why we tapped David Reavy, founder of React Physical Therapy in Chicago, to show us the best exercises to become a better runner. According to Reavy, getting the body warmed up pre-run is key, since “your muscles aren’t elastic.” By easing into exercise, you reduce your likelihood of injury and prime your body for the activity head. The four exercises in the video above will prep your muscles so you have a better (and safer!) run.
Watch the clip above to see Reavy demo the key exercises every runner should be doing regularly, or read up on the important moves below.
Hip flexor release: Start with your stomach on the mat, using your elbows and forearms to prop the upper body up so your chest is lifted off the floor. Bend your right leg at a 90-degree angle at your side and extend your left leg long on the floor behind you. Bend the left leg at the knee, bringing the foot toward the glutes 30 times. Switch the positioning of the legs and repeat the movement 30 times on the opposite side.
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Lateral quad release: Start with your stomach on the mat and use your elbows and forearms to prop the upper body up, so your chest is lifted off the floor. Place a foam roller underneath the left quad with the right leg bent at a 90-degree angle to the right side of your body on the floor. Bend the left leg at the knee, driving the foot from the floor toward the glutes 30 times. Switch the positioning of the legs and foam roller and repeat the movement 30 times on the opposite side.
Four-way lunges: Start in a lunge position with your left leg in front. First, continuously move your hands from chest-height toward the mat, moving your torso back and forth slightly with the movement. Return to a regular lunge. Next, continuously twist your torso from left to right. Return to a regular lunge. After that, raise your hands up, bending the elbows at 90-degree angles on each side. Continuously lower each elbow toward your waistline one at a time to stretch your side body on the left and right. Return to a regular lunge. Do 10 to 15 reps of a standard lunge. Repeat all four exercises in a lunge on the other side, with the right leg in front.
Inner thigh squat: From standing, complete 10 to 15 deep squats with the toes turned slightly out to target the inner thighs.