Training your body to walk farther or run faster is basically done by hitting the pavement, trail, or treadmill. But you can (and should!) support your ambulatory efforts by building muscles, moving joints, and relaxing your body.
In particular, combining hip mobility with hip flexor and gluteal strength will give you a longer, more powerful stride. Hip flexor strength will enable a stronger knee drive, while hip mobility will allow you to access the range needed to engage your glutes. Taken together, these will put exactly that pep in your step.
To that end, Well+Good Trainer of the Month Elizabeth Akinwal, a certified personal trainer leading our New Year’s Movement Plan, designed an 8-minute full-body workout packed with mobility and strength moves specifically designed to support runners and walkers. has been
After a fast-paced warm-up, you’ll cycle through three moves performed three times. Most directly applicable to running is a set of high knees that drive forward to the front of your mat (followed by gentle backpedaling to move back to the back of it). Akinwale tells you how to get the most out of this exercise.
“When you lift your knees, you really want to hit the ground with that midfoot and try to flex the leg as you come up and use those arms to really pump yourself up,” Akinwal says. His tips: Be aggressive with the arms and think about punching the legs.
The second move in the set is an alternating plank lift, where you alternate lifting arms and legs while in a plank. Keep it controlled, and stretch your limbs to get the most out of it. “It’s creating that anti-rotational force that you need for stability when you run,” says Akinwal.
Next is the flutter kick, during which Akinwal really wants you to flex your legs to strengthen your shin muscles. (Because no one wants to be stopped in their tracks by a shin splint.)
Finally, you’ll complete the workout by shifting onto all fours, and, working one leg at a time, kick back and then bring the leg out to the side as you open your hips by bending the knees. Have that hip mobility for you. It’s all coming together now.