This guide has been born out of our 14 years experience in working with and treating runners’ aches, pains and injuries. We’ve seen the lot, from those just starting the sport to those gunning for the Olympics. We’ve seen some very obvious patterns in the contributing factors to runners’ injuries.

These exercises and stretches are designed to help you avoid the same mistakes so many other runners make. They address issues at their root cause and will be more effective than a change of trainers. If you’d like to discuss any of the exercises or you have an injury or niggle you are concerned about then please give us a call on.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Lumbar-Extension
  • 1. Lumbar Extension

    This stretch is a super charged hip flexor stretch. It stretches the hip flexors and the muscles that affect their function. This will help with making your quads feel less heavy when you’re running . Ideally this should be performed over the back of a Swiss Ball but if you don’t have one you can use the back of the sofa or edge of a bed. Simply arch backwards over the Swiss ball (or whatever you are using) and let the arms and legs hang in a relaxed fashion. You should feel a stretch through your stomach. You may get a sensation in your back also. So long as this is not painful carry on. Hold for a minimum of one minute. Longer if you can cope with all the blood rushing to your head! Good for knee issues.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Single-Leg-Raise
  • 2. Single Leg Raise

    Lay on your back as shown in the picture with one leg straight and one leg bent. Use your core muscles to push the arch of your back flat against the floor. Place a hand under the side of the back to make sure there is constant downwards pressure. Whilst maintaining the downward pressure lift one heel about six inches off the floor. Hold for about 3o seconds and then put it back to the floor. If you can, maintain the same pressure onto your hand under your back and repeat on the other side. If you found the first bit really hard have a breather first! Repeat 3 times on each side. This will improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Half-Moon
  • 3. Half Moon

    Another great one for those who struggle with tight quads or knee pain. When the quads are doing too much work your obliques on the same side will tighten. To avoid this stand upright with your hands above your head. From this position bend over to the side as shown – making a half moon shape. You may feel the stretch anywhere along the outside of your body. If you feel a compressive sensation on the side to which you bending then try the other way first and see if that eases the compression. Hold each stretch for a minute on each side.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Quad-Stretch
  • 4. Quad Stretch with Pelvic Tilt

    Just a little tweak on an old favourite to make it more effective and tie in the other hip flexors. Pull the foot up behind the back side as shown in the picture to get to the point where you start to feel a stretch in the quads. From there push the pelvis up and out, like a pelvic thrust, and this should increase the stretch through the quadriceps and in the hip region. Great for tight quads and knee pain.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Quad-Extension
  • 5. Quad Extension

    A progression on from the last exercise. Some people are more flexible than others so the previous stretch may not have quite hit the spot. This not only stretches the quads but also the muscles which work with the quads to affect their efficiency. Start by sitting on your heels on the floor. Reach your hands out behind you to open up your pelvis and place your hands flat on the floor behind you. If you need to increase the stretch push the pelvis upwards until the stomach is flat, as shown.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Hamstring-Stretch
  • 6. Hamstring Stretch

    A fairly standard stretch with a twist to make it more effective. Start by placing the foot on something about table height – flexible people will need something higher, the inflexible will need something lower. When the foot is up on the table in front of you lean forwards with your upper body to bring the stretch on. This is basic standard stretch I’m sure you’ve seen and used many times before. Come back up to upright. This time rotate the foot outwards and then lean in again. You will feel the stretch in a slightly different place – it may tighter, it may be looser. Come back to upright. Then rotate the foot inwards and repeat. Find out which stretch is ‘hitting the spot’ best for you and focus on that one.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Neck-Stretchq
  • 7. Neck Stretch

    Some runners run a little bit too tense which can result in getting a tight neck and shoulders. Biomechanically this has a knock on affect and can affect your hamstring length and glute strength. Simply stand and bow your head and apply over pressure with your hand downwards. You should feel a stretch at the back of your neck. You may even feel the stretch spreading lower down your back. Hold for about a minute and repeat a couple of times.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Calf-Stretch
  • 8. Calf Stretches

    The standard stretch is to lean against a wall, take your leg out behind. Whilst keeping the heel down, lock your knee straight and this will stretch your calf. From this position bring the foot slightly forward – turn the toes inwards slightly and bend at the knee.

Glute Stretch
  • 9. Glutes Stretch

    Sit on the floor with one leg out straight in front of you and bring your opposite foot across your thigh just above the knee and put the foot flat down – as shown in the picture. From here hug the knee that is up into the opposite shoulder. You should feel a stretch in your glutes. If you wish to increase the stretch rotate your torso to the same side you are stretching. Tight glutes limit the amount of force you can generate as part of the push off phase of running and so affect your performance. Equally if the glutes are tight the hamstrings and calves will compensate and so lead to tightness and potential issues as a result.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Peronal-Stretch1
  • 10. Peroneal

    These are the muscles on the outside of your shin which help with balance. If you have flat feet these will be tight. Support yourself against a wall. Roll your foot outwards slightly (i.e. hold the inside of your foot in the air) Now push your knee forwards (front leg shown in picture) whilst keeping the weight on the outside of the foot. This should stretch around the outside of the ankle and into the muscles on the outside of your shin.

Running-Physio-Swindon-Adductor-Stretch-2
  • 11. Adductor Stretch

    Good balance between the adductor group and the hip abductors (glutes) is key for pelvic, knee and ankle stability. It also has a profound effect on the femoral nerve (the nerve that gives sensation in the knee) and so is great for anyone with tight quads and also those with niggles in the knees. To start lift the leg on a table as in the hamstring stretch above and as shown in the picture. This time rotate the foot inwards completely so your inside ankle bone is on the couch. Now drop down by bending the leg you are standing on to increase the stretch to a suitable level.


If having done these exercises you’ve realised you have more pain than you thought, or you’ve been putting off getting an old injury or ache seen then give us a call now at Swindon Sports Therapy and we’ll show you how you can not only enjoy running pain free but improve your performance with absolutely no effort on your part! Call 01793 613352 for a FREE phone consultation to find out how we can help you feel great about your running.

We hope you found this guide useful. If you have any thoughts or questions about the advice please add it to the comments section below. This list is not designed to be exhaustive but reflects the exercises that we’ve found to be the most useful to our running client in our 13 years in practice.

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