3 back mobility moves for runners

A lack of mobility in the spine can alter loading patterns and raise your injury risk, says a new study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. For the study, runners’ spines were ‘splinted’ to prevent rotation. When rotation was restricted, the subjects experienced higher ground reaction forces. ‘The spine and pelvis are the engine that drives human locomotion, especially running,’ says study author Joseph Morley. To restore rotation, he recommends exercises that combine spinal rotation with counter-rotation of the legs and pelvis to improve mobility.

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Pre-run: The corkscrew

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your knees soft. Begin to rotate your torso rhythmically from side to side, keeping your hips facing forward but allowing your arms to follow the movement and ‘flop’ against you. Gradually increase your range of motion, staying tall throughout. Perform the move for 30-60 seconds.


Post-run: Side-lying T-stretch

Lie on your left side with your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees, arms outstretched in front of you, palms touching. Keeping your knees together, open the right arm in an arc across the body as far as you can. Focus on extending from your left hip to your right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, breathing freely. Swap sides and repeat.


Between runs: Kneeling thoracic rotation

Begin this move on all fours but with your hips situated slightly behind your knees. Next, place your right hand behind your head, with your elbow pointed directly out to the side. Rotate the torso towards the left arm as far as you can, pause, then rotate to the right as far as you can. That’s one rep. Complete 2 x 10 on each side.

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