3 Pendulum Lunges With Balance and Side Bends
“This movement pattern mimics the forward momentum and core engagement needed in running, as well as lengthens the hip flexors on the reverse lunge portion,” Darby says.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands out in a goalpost position.
- Step forward into a lunge, bending both knees at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Hold for two seconds.
- Keeping your core engaged, push off your front heel to return to middle, balancing on your front leg.
- Immediately step back into a reverse lunge. Hold your back knee a couple inches off the floor as you reach the same-side arm overhead into a side bend. Keep your chest lifted and shoulders engaged.
- Push off your front heel to return to the middle (balancing on one leg).
- Continue this pendulum movement back and forth on the same leg for 8 to10 reps, and then repeat on the other side.
4 Planks Variations With Knee Drives
“This ‘triple threat’ addition to a traditional plank is an excellent warm-up for the core and helps develop hip mobility—which is key in running,” Darby says.
- Start in high plank with feet hip distance apart.
- Keeping your core engaged and hips neutral, drive one knee to the opposite elbow. Return to plank and drive the same knee to your chest. Return to plank and drive the same knee to the outside of the same-side arm.
- Repeat on the other leg. Continue alternating sides for 45 to 60 seconds.
5 Glute Bridges With Knee Drives
“This exercise is great for strengthening the posterior chain and lengthening the quads while improving core stabilization—all necessary components for an optimal running gait,” Darby says.
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Push through your heels to lift your hips up while engaging your hamstrings and squeezing your glutes.
- Hold the bridge and engaging your core, drive one knee to the same-side shoulder. Return to the bridge and lower your pelvis to the ground before repeating on the opposite side.
- Continue alternating sides for 45 to 60 seconds.