Always check with your doctor prior to starting/modifying any exercise/nutrition program. The information presented on this site constitutes my opinions/viewpoints and should not be used as medical, personal, training, or professional advice.

"Pain is temporary, it lasts a minute, or an hour, or a day, but eventually it will subside and something will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever." --Lance Armstrong
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These exercises I have found useful in preventing the muscle imbalances / tightening / shortening that may lead to injury in the runner. However, I am not implying that they would be good for everyone. Obtain your physician's permission before starting or modifying any exercise program. I do the following exercises 3 times a week (60-90 minutes/session) to strengthen and stretch my muscles and soft tissues. When I start to feel some repetitive strain, I will substitute one of the cross training workouts above plus the exercises below for an easy running day. As an older runner, I have found these exercises to be beneficial in allowing me to run high mileage with minimal downtime due to injury/strain.The other two components of remaining injury free and continuing to run in the older years are proper nutrition and proper distance running form. It's not a good idea to stretch a cold muscle, so I always do 10 minutes on the stationary bike prior to doing the exercises below. For the same reason, I use the first mile of my runs as a warmup mile, going slow and letting the muscles, ligaments, and tendons warm up. At the end of a run, I do the last 1/4 to 1/2 mile as a cooldown and then perform a series of 5 stretches for the calf muscles, hamstrings, quads, and IT Band.
Strengthening and Stretching
Core Strengthening: Abdominals
Name: Standard Crunch


Muscles Worked: Upper Abdominals


Reps: 20
Description

Lie flat on your back with knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Use your abs to lift the upper half of your body as high as you can, hold the position for 1-2 secs, then slowly return to starting position.
Name: Left Oblique Crunch


Muscles Worked: Left Obliques


Reps: 20
Description

Lie flat on your right side with your legs slightly bent, knees elevated about an inch or two above the floor. Twist your torso to the left and do your best to keep your upper back and shoulders parallel to the floor. Use your obliques and upper abs to lift your upper body as high as you can and hold for 1-2 secs. Return slowly to starting position and repeat.
Name: Right Oblique Crunch


Muscles Worked: Right Obliques


Reps: 20
Description

Lie flat on your left side with your legs slightly bent, knees elevated about an inch or two above the floor. Twist your torso to the right and do your best to keep your upper back and shoulders parallel to the floor. Use your obliques and upper abs to lift your upper body as high as you can and hold for 1-2 secs. Return slowly to starting position and repeat.
Name: Tailbone Lifts


Muscles Worked: Lower Abdominals


Reps: 20
Description:

Lie flat on your back with your feet and knees elevated so that your shins are parallel to the floor. With your stomach flexed, use your lower abs to raise your tailbone an inch or two off the floor. Hold that position for a second or two before lowering your tailbone back to the floor.
Lower Back and Glutes
Name: Hip Extension


Area Worked: Hips, glutes, lower back


Reps: 20/leg
Description:

Lie on your stomach, with your legs extended. Lift the working leg 4 to 6 inches off the ground. Keep both of your hip bones touching the floor (don't roll onto the other side). Hold 2-3 secs, return the leg to the ground, and repeat.
Name: Bent Knee Lift


Area Worked: Hips, glutes, lower back


Reps: 20
Description

Lie on your stomach with non-working leg extended, and your working leg bent at a 90 degree angle. Raise the bent leg, hold for 2-3 secs, return the knee to the ground, and repeat.
Name: Bridge with Block


Area Worked: Glutes, lower back, core, hamstrings


Reps: 20
Description

Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor. Place a block or ball between your thighs. Keeping your shoulders on the floor, raise your hips. Hold for 2-3 secs, lower to ground and repeat.
Name: Glute Kick (equipment)


Area Worked: Gluteus maximus, low back


Reps: 20/leg
Description

Using thigh and glute machine with following setting: 20 lbs on weight bar, diamond foot plate, cam position of 30, and sliding pin right of weight bar.

Hold push position for 2-3 secs and return to ground.
Name: Gluteus Medius Leg Raise


Area Worked: Gluteus medius (IT Band)


Reps: 20/leg
Description

Lie on one side with bottom leg bent (the one closest to the floor) and top leg extended in front of the body at a right angle to the torso. Keep a slight bend in the top knee, with hips stacked, and avoid shifting the body backward as you lift the leg up. Keep the heel higher than the toe in order to maximally recruit the glutes. Add a ski boot or ankle weights when the weight of the leg becomes too easy. Hold position for 2-3 secs and then return to ground.
Hips and Thighs
Name: Hip Flexor


Area Worked: Hip flexors, lower back, quadriceps, psoas


Reps: 2X/leg
Description

Kneel with one foot on the ground and one knee on a pillow or towel. Keeping your body upright, lean your weight forward so that you can feel a stretch from your back, through your hip flexor, to your thigh. The knee of the front foot should never be farther forward than your toes. Hold 20-30 secs .
Name: Hip Hike (step)


Area Worked: Gluteus medius (IT Band)


Reps: 20/leg
Description:

Stand sideways on a step, box or bench at least 4” high, with one leg held free of the bench. Keep both hips squared forward and shoulders level. Keeping your standing leg (the one on the bench) straight (no knee bending!), raise your free hip directly upward and then drop the leg down so that your beltline alternately tilts up and down. To increase the difficulty of this exercise, add ankle weights to each leg or hold dumbbells in each hand. This exercise is one that many physical therapists use to help correct what is known as “Trendelenburg gait” in which the affected hip goes into hip joint adduction during each weight-bearing phase (step) of a walking gait. The femur (thigh bone) tends to ride upward, causing a pronounced limp or waddle. Hold each position for 2-3 secs.
Name: Hip Abductor (equipment)


Area Worked: Hip abductors (outer thighs, hips)


Reps: 20/leg
Description

Use glute and thigh machine with following settings: foam roller, 20 lbs on weight bar.

Right Outer Thigh: Sliding Pin left of weight bar, cam position 1. Raise leg as high as possible, hold 2-3 secs, and return to starting position.

Left Outer Thigh: Sliding Pin right of weight bar, cam position 1. Raise leg as high as possible, hold 2-3 secs, and return to starting position.

Name: Hip Abductor (resistance band)


Area Worked: Hip abductors (outer thighs, hips)


Reps: 20
Description

Using resistance band as shown, raise upper leg as high as possible, hold 2-3 secs.
Name: Hip Adductor (equipment)


Area Worked: Hip adductors (inner thighs, hips)


Reps: 20/leg
Description

Use glute and thigh machine with following settings: foam roller, 20 lbs on weight bar.

Right Inner Thigh: Sliding Pin right of weight bar, cam position 23-29. Lower leg to floor, hold 2-3 secs, and return to starting position.

Left Inner Thigh: Sliding Pin left of weight bar, cam position 3-9. Lower leg to floor, hold 2-3 secs, and return to starting position.

Name: Hip Adductor (resistance band)


Area Worked: Hip adductors (inner thighs, hips)


Reps: 20
Description

Using resistance band as shown, raise lower leg as high as possible, hold 2-3 secs.
Name: Leg Raise with Rotation


Area Worked: Hips flexors, inner thigh


Reps: 20
Description

Recline as shown, flex the working foot up so the foot is flat and turn it slightly (the right foot will point to 1 PM and left foot will point to 11 AM). Tighten the muscle at the top of the thigh, left your leg parallel to the oppostie knee, hold 2-3 secs, return to ground, and repeat.
Calf Muscles and Tendons
Name: Calf Stretch


Area Worked: calf muscles (gastrocnemius)


Reps: 2X/leg
Description

Place both hands on the wall at shoulder height, and move one leg behind the other. The front leg should be bent, while the back leg stays straight with the heel on the ground and the toes turned outward a little. Lean forard into the wall until you feel the stretch in your calf. Hold for 20-30 secs.
Name: Calf Stretch


Area Worked: calf muscles (soleus)


Reps: 2X/leg
Description

Place both hands on the wall at shoulder height, and move one leg behind the other. The front leg should be bent, while the back leg is also bent with the heel on the ground and the toes turned outward a little. Lean forard into the wall until you feel the stretch in your calf. Hold for 20-30 secs.
Name: Inner Calf Stretch (pigeon pose)


Area Worked: Medial Gastrocnemius


Reps: 5 up / 5 down
Description:

Using step as shown and holding a shelf for stability, position feet pigeon toed, raise up, hold for 5 seconds, then lower heels as far down as possible off edge of block.
Name: Outer Calf Stretch (duck pose)


Area Worked: Lateral Gastrocnemius


Reps: 5 up / 5 down
Description

Using step as shown and holding a shelf for stability, position feet pigeon toed, raise up, hold for 5 seconds, then lower heels as far down as possible off edge of block.

Name: Achilles Tendon Stretch


Area Worked: Achilles Tendon


Reps: 5 up / 5 down
Description

Using step as shown and holding a shelf for stability, position feet straight ahead, raise up, hold for 5 seconds, then lower heels as far down as possible off edge of block.
Quads and Hamstrings
Name: Quadriceps Stretch


Area Worked: quadricep muscles


Reps: 2X/leg
Description

Stand, supporting yourself with one hand on a chair or other surface. Hold the outside of your foot, and gently pull your heel toward your buttock until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold 20-30 secs.
Name: Seated Leg Press (machine)


Area Worked: quadricep muscles


Reps: 20
Description

Using diamond plate, sliding pin right of weight bar, 20 lb weight on bar, perform exercise as shown, holding push out position 2-3 seconds and returning legs to bent position, repeat.
Name: Isometric Quad Push


Area Worked: Quadriceps and muscles, ligaments, tendons supporting the knee


Reps: 30/leg
Description:

Sit up as shown. Place 2 rolled towels underneath the knee you're working on. Push the back of your knee into the towel, keeping the heel down and in contact with the floor. Hold for 3-5 secs, release, and repeat.
Name: Terminal Knee Extension

Area Worked: Quadriceps and muscles, ligaments, tendons supporting the knee


Reps: 15/leg
Description

Recline as shown with legs extended in front. Place two rolled towels under the working knee. Push the back of your knee into the towels so that your heel comes up off the floor. Hold for 2 secs, release, and repeat.

Name: Hamstring Stretch (resistance band)


Area Worked: hamstring and supporting muscles, ligaments, tendons


Reps: 2X/leg
Description

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Slip the resistance band behind the ball of one foot, and gently extend your leg until it is straightened, not locked. Moved your foot above your head until you feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold 20-30 secs.
IT Band
Name: Iliotibial Band Stretch


Area Worked: IT Band


Reps: 2X/leg
Description

Right IT Band: Cross your left foot over your right foot with your right hand on the wall and your left hand on your hip. Lean your right hip into the wall while bending your left knee, keeping the right knee straight until you can feel a stretch in your right hip. Hold 20-30 secs.

Left IT Band: Cross your right foot over your left foot with your left hand on the wall and your right hand on your hip. Lean your left hip into the wall while bending your right knee, keeping the left knee straight until you can feel a stretch in your left hip. Hold 20-30 secs.

Name: Piriformis Stretch


Area Worked: IT Band


Reps: 2X/leg
Description

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Cross your legs at the knees with the side you're stretching on top. While grapsing the back of your bottom thigh with both hands, gently pull that bottom knee towards the shoulder on the same side until a stretch is felt in the buttock and hip area. Hold 20-30 secs.
Name: Pigeon Pose


Area Worked: IT Band

Reps: 1X/leg
Description:

This is a yoga pose that stretches the IT Band. From Downward Facing Dog, bring the left leg up into a Downdog split. Bend the left knee and swing the leg forward, bringing the left knee outside the left hand while releasing the top of the left leg to the floor. Square the hips towards the floor. Take padding under the left side of the butt as necessary to bring the hips square. Hold 20-30 secs.