5 Moves to Combat Runner’s Tightness

If your New Year’s resolution was to ramp up your weekly runs, you’re in good company. But with an increase in mileage comes an increased risk in runner’s tightness, or a tension in the hip flexor muscles, located in the front of hip.

This is particularly true for people who run on a treadmill, says Ashley Borden, a celebrity fitness trainer in Los Angeles. “Whereas outdoor runners tend to propel themselves forward using their hamstring muscles, indoor runners rely more on their hip muscles to keep up with the electronic moving belt,” she says.

And even casual exercisers aren’t immune to too-tight hip muscles—especially those who sit at a desk all day. “People’s hip flexors are often tight from inactivity even more so than running,” says Borden.

Ready to open up? Here are five exercises that will help loosen your hip flexors and ward off hip muscle tightness. Here are five exercises to help reset your body—from your hamstrings and calves to your back and groin. 

Downward dog


1. Start in a high plank.

2. Tuck your toes underneath your feet and push your body upwards, lifting your hips up and back toward the ceiling and lowering your head between the shoulders. (Your body should form a triangle with the mat.) Hold the position for 30 seconds.

Forward fold


1. Start in a standing position with your feet together and your hands on your hips.

2. Take a deep breath, then exhale, bending forward at the hip until your fingertips touch the mat and your head is in front of your knees. Hold the position for 30 seconds. If you don’t have that mobility, and tight hamstrings are preventing you from going that deep, bring your hands to your shins, your calves, or to the backs of your knees. 

3. To return to the starting position, place your hands on your hips, take a deep breath, and lift (don’t round) your torso until you’re standing upright again. 

Runner’s lunge


1. From a standing position, bend forward and touch the mat with both hands. Then, take one large step back with the ball of your right foot, keeping your heel off the ground. If you’re hamstrings are tight or your having trouble balancing, rest your back knee on the mat. 

2. Lower your body your left knee is above your ankle, forming a 90-degree angle with the mat. Your torso should be parallel with your left thigh.

3. Hold for 30 seconds, then return your right foot to the starting position and repeat with the left leg.

Upward dog


1. Lie face-down on a mat, with your palms placed firmly on the ground at about waist-level.

2. With the tops of your feet flat on the ground, keep your shoulders directly over your wrists and your chest forward. 

3. Push your body up until your torso and legs are hovering a few inches above the floor. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, then lower your body to the floor. If lifting your torso and thighs causes discomfort, try doing this move on your knees. 

Dolphin pose


1. Begin on all fours, with your knees placed beneath your hips, and your elbows placed beneath your shoulders.

2. Curl your toes underneath your feet and push your hips up toward the ceiling, lowering your head between your shoulders.

3. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then lower your knees to return to the starting position.


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