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Simple Self-Test for Tight Ultrarunning Muscles

Loosen up runners!

Hip Flexors – Hamstrings – Calves/Achilles

These are three common areas on an ultrarunner that can become excessively tight and negatively affect that poetic running motion.

(Poetic running? Are those the new orange Newton performance heels I see?)

What is too tight?

I found a cool little self-test by Therapeutic Associates that provides a simple method to determine if one of these areas could use a bit of extra love and attention.

Here is the simple Hip Flexor Test:

  • Lie on back and draw both knees to your chest.
  • Continue holding right knee to the chest while extending the left leg until it lies flat on the floor.
  • Repeat the procedure to the other side
  • If you can’t lay the extended leg flat, the hip-flexors are too tight

If your hip-flexors are tight, I really like this hip flexor stretch by A-B-C of Fitness. It includes text and animation to highlight the form and movement.

Check out the Therapeutic Associates article or glossy PDF (with pics), to see the other self-tests.

Other Stretches

If the hamstrings are tight, check out the Standing and Supine (lying on your back) hamstring stretches by A-B-C of Fitness.

For the calves, Debbie Pitchford highlights how to stretch both major calf muscles in a halhigdon.com article (stretch #4 and #5).

My Self-Test Results

The hip-flexors were my tightest area and it doesn’t help that I don’t normally stretch it like the calves and hamstrings. I could really feel a nice stretch when performing the stretch noted above. I need to add this one to the routine.

Do you have any other favorite stretches for the hip flexors,  hamstring, or calves?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

(Photo: Courtesy of vestman.)

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

2 Responses to “Simple Self-Test for Tight Ultrarunning Muscles”

  1. on 01 Jun 2010 at 3:17 pm Dave

    no…but the gal on the left pronates with her left foot…;-)

  2. on 04 Jun 2010 at 8:44 am David Hanenburg

    She also appears to be having the most fun and leading the race. Maybe there is something to that pronation-thing. 😉