Mobility is often overlooked, but this 15-minute workout will help you avoid injury

Jordan Smith
·5-min read

From Runner's World

This workout is part of the 30-Day Cross-Training Challenge designed to build strength, boost speed, and increase your power so you can become a better, more well-rounded runner in just 30 days.

Rest days are important, but spending just a few minutes a day—even on rest days—to focus on low-intensity mobility work can keep you off the injured list and improve your performance. With this workout, you can restore or improve your flexibility and range of motion and relieve the stress and tension that build up in your muscles and joints during training. The best part is it only takes 15 minutes.

Photo credit: Hearst
Photo credit: Hearst

This session is so easy, you can do it in your living room wearing socks while watching your favorite show. Performing this workout just one to three times a week will help you stay loose and flexible, which is important for nailing that proper running form and increasing efficiency. But you can do it every day if you choose.

How to do this workout: This workout was created by Tinman Elite trainer, Chris Lee. Review each move, demonstrated by Lee below, so you can master the proper form, then follow along with him in the video above. Perform each exercise for the recommended number of reps. Complete the workout at least once a week. You don’t need any equipment; an exercise mat and towel are optional.

Ankle Mobility

Start in a 90-90 kneeling position with left knee on the mat and your right foot forward, knees bent at 90-degrees. Place left hand on mat next to right heel and right hand on right knee. Hinging forward at hips with a flat back, drive your knee forward over big toe. Return to starting position, then drive knee forward again over second toe and back, working your way toward your pinky toe, one toe at a time. Reverse from pinky toe to big toe for a total of 10 reps. Ensure your back stays flat, your hips stay centered, and your heel doesn’t come off the ground throughout. Repeat on left leg.

Hip Mobility

Start in a 90-90 kneeling position with your left knee on the mat, right foot forward, arms at sides (rest knee on a folded towel for added support). Shift weight forward as you press hips forward and raise both arms overhead, keeping a straight back. You should feel a stretch in your left hip flexor. Slowly lower your arms as you return to starting position. Complete 5 reps, then repeat on the other side.

Adductor Mobility

Start on all fours, knees under hips and shoulders over wrists. Place a towel under your right knee for support if needed. Extend your left leg out to the side, planting your foot flat on the ground. With a flat back and neutral neck, rock back by sending butt toward right heel, then rock forward to return to starting position. Complete 5 reps. Repeat on other leg.

Hamstring Stretch

Lie faceup with legs extended. Bend left knee up to a 45-degree angle, placing hands behind left thigh. Extend leg straight up, gently pulling the leg and toes toward you at the top. Complete 5 reps. Repeat on right side.

Windmill

Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart and arms extended straight out from sides. Send hips back to hinge forward as you bend right knee and rotate to touch left fingers to right toes as right hand reaches up toward ceiling. Return to starting position, then bend left knee and rotate to touch right fingers to left toes as left hand extends up. Continue to alternate.

Figure-Four Stretch

Lie faceup with knees bent, and cross left ankle over right knee. Lace fingers behind the left hamstring, then gently pull the right leg toward you to activate the stretch on the left side. Lower leg back down to the ground. Relax, then repeat. Complete 5 reps on each leg.

Quadruped to Downward Dog

Start on all fours, knees under hips and shoulders over wrists. Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the ground as you push back through your hands to lift hips up and back into downward-facing dog. Lengthen your spine and relax your neck. Straighten your legs as much as you can without feeling uncomfortable tightness in your hamstrings. Keeping your back flat, lower back down to return to starting position. Repeat. Complete 10 reps.

Modified Brettzel Stretch

Lie faceup then bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle. Rotate slightly to draw right knee over left leg until it touches the ground on the outside of left leg. Place left hand on right knee to hold it in place as you extend right arm straight out to right. Swoop right arm up and around to the left as you turn onto left side. Reverse the motion while keeping right knee down to ground to open up the chest. Complete 5 reps, then repeat on left side.

Lunge to Rotation

Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot forward and bend knees to drop into a lunge. As your right knee bends, hinge forward at your hips and plant your left hand on the ground. Rotate torso to the right as you extend right arm up toward ceiling. Bring right arm back down to frame right leg, stand back up, and return to starting position. Repeat on left side. Continue to alternate, completing 10 reps total (5 on each side).

Alternating Reverse Four-Point Bridge

Start seated with your feet planted and knees bent at a 45-degree angle and hands planted behind hips, fingers pointing out. Bridge up from your hips, engaging your glutes as you open to your right side by extending your right arm to the ceiling as you press hips up. That’s one rep. Return to starting position and repeat on left side. Complete 20 total reps.

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