Prevent Running Injuries and Muscle Imbalances

If you could correct for the variables that make you vulnerable to running injuries, would you?

Most runners like to do one thing… Run!

But the act of distance running lends itself to muscle imbalances which can lead to movement dysfunction, overuse, and injury.

Common imbalances for runners include:

  • Hip flexor tightness
  • Lower back tightness
  • Calf tightness

These imbalances can lead to what is called lower crossed syndrome, a movement dysfunction where tightness in one muscle group causes weakness and overstretching in the opposing muscles. So as the hip flexor muscles become tight, the gluteals become weak.  Likewise, as the low back muscles become tight, the lower abdominal muscles become weak. Uncorrected, these imbalances can set you up to be on the sidelines for the next race.

To avoid lower crossed syndrome and the aches and pains that go along with it, add these exercises to your routine:

  1. Hip flexor stretch
  2. Soleus stretch
  3. Bridges
  4. Posterior pelvic tilt
  5. Cat and Camel

1. Hip Flexor Stretch: Hold a arms together overhead. While in tall 1/2 kneeling position, reach arms up and towards the left. Rotate towards the up knee to feel a stretch in the front of the right leg. 15 sec hold, 3 reps.

2. Calf stretch: In 1/2 kneeling position, shift weight forward to feel a stretch in the back of the lower calf. Make sure to keep your heel down. Hold 15 sec, 3 reps.

3. Single leg bridge: While lying on back, perform a 2 legged bridge, then extend one leg. Hold for 30 sec each leg, 3 times each.

4. Posterior pelvic tilt: lie on back, press your lower back to the floor by pulling in your lower abdominal muscles.  Repeat for 10 repetitions holding for 10 seconds.

5. Cat/Camel: while in a hands and knees position, pull lower abdominal muscles in to round out your low back, then allow your back to sag. Repeat 10-15 times.

For more information on running, overuse injuries, and training techniques like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or contact our office.

Performance Training – How to Identify Overtraining Injuries

Too much of a good thing might not be great. Many of you have taken the challenge to get in better shape, compete in a sport or competition, or reach for personal fitness goals. We applaud you for your effort and think it is great! We encourage our clients daily to reach for their goals. Unfortunately, some find injury and setbacks due to overtraining.

Overtraining occurs when we push too much, too fast , and for too long. Each workout puts stress on the body. That stress stimulates the body to to respond by rebuilding the tissue stronger. The body is very good at responding to the stresses we put on it. The problem comes when the breakdown process of the exercise or activity, outpaces the bodies ability to heal and recover. When this occurs, injury, performance lulls and even illness can follow. Often, our minds are ahead of our body’s abilities.

Are you training and having any of the following symptoms?

1) Mood changes.

2) Persistent aching in the joints and muscles.

3) Increased frequency of illness.

4) A drop in performance level.

5) Drop in enthusiasm or passion for the activity.

6) Loss of sleep.

If so, you may be suffering the effects of overtraining. The key to avoiding the performance training injuries is to recognize the warning signs. Although we may be working out with good intentions, it is easy to fall into the trap of overtraining. We adopt the “if a little bit is good, more must be better” philosophy. A little success breeds the drive for more. So we push a harder expecting greater improvement only to find the opposite. Unfortunately, improvement takes time. Our bodies have limits, depending on our current level of conditioning, age, and ability. No matter what the activity, knowing the right amounts to push or train is important. Recognize the signs of overtraining, and train smarter and more effectively.

If you would like more information on performance training and how to train efficiently and effectively, please contact our office, or respond through the comments section.

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Rich Baudry

Photo credit: VinceHuang