When it comes to running, a common mistake we see is the lack of running-specific-position training and stretching. Running is a repetitive cycle that includes jumping and landing in a stride-stance position. When in contact with the ground, we spend about 60% of the time on one leg when we walk, but with running it’s 100% of the time. If someone lacks strength, mobility, or control in the stride-stance position on one leg - this could impact their mechanics and overall performance.
There are two potential muscle groups that can impact a runner’s mobility during full stride, these include the hip flexors and the hamstrings. If we consider the body’s position during full stride in mid-air, we are asking for a lot of muscle length in the front-leg hamstring as well as the rear-leg hip flexor. SO it would make sense to stretch BOTH of these muscles in that full stride position!
Check out this runners stretch you can perform using a table. Here are a few key tips you must consider to perform this stretch optimally to target the hip flexors and hamstring.
The leg in the air is targeting the hamstrings, and the leg hanging off the table is targeting the hip flexors. Make sure your torso and your pelvis are parallel (limit any side bend or rotation), everything should stay lined up. Get into a stride stance that is comfortable for YOU, everyone’s flexibility is different! Keep your ribs down! The ribs coming up excessively means the low back is arching too much - this can limit the hip flexor stretch. Keep the toes pointed on the leg that is up in the air, we are focusing on a hamstring stretch, not a nerve tensioner. Do not hold your breath! Time your breathing with the stretch and work into larger ranges as time goes on,keep it dynamic
Be sure to perform on both sides, and try this out before and after your next run!