Greetings from Sun Valley! It’s been hotter than normal here, and the Gold Team has been training well. We’ve been fitting in our longer and harder sessions early in the morning to beat the heat, but we’ve also been treated to a few afternoon thunderstorms over the last week. As we continue to increase our training load, recovery becomes even more essential. Running, lifting, and rollerskiing all rely heavily on our hips. As I’m sure many of us have experienced, when our hips get too tight our whole body gets thrown off. I often feel this as further tightness in my lower back, shoulders, or knees. Here is a quick mobility and stretching routine that I like to pair with some foam and soft ball rolling to loosen up the hips. Hopefully it will help you feel better!
- Standing hip opener. To get some blood flowing and start loosening things up we’ll begin standing. Stand on your left leg. Lift your right knee straight up to hip level and then open it out before putting your foot back on the ground. This is also known as “opening the gate.” Switch sides and repeat 10 times. Then close it up. Start by standing on your left leg, bring your right knee out up to your right elbow, and then bring it back towards your left knee before placing it back on the ground. Switch sides and repeat 10 times..
Standing hip crossover. Standing on your left leg, cross your right ankle over your left knee and sink down into it. This is a balance exercise combined with a stretch! You can rest your hands on your right ankle/shin if you need to, or you can fold your upper body down over your legs. Hold for a count of 20 and switch sides.
Spiderman lunge. Walk your hands out in front of you into a plank position. Raise your right leg and bring your right foot up to the outside of your right hand. Hold here in a deep lunge for a few seconds, then raise your right hand off the ground and straighten it towards the ceiling as you twist your chest up with it. Bring your hand back to the ground and raise to open five more times. Step back into the plank position and repeat on your left side.
- Hip crossover. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and drop your left knee down to the ground so the bottom of your right foot is also on the ground. Use your leg muscles to push your knee out away from you. Hold for a count of 20, then roll out of it and switch sides.
- Pigeon. Roll over onto your stomach again and push up into a plank position. Raise your right leg and bring your right knee up towards your right elbow and your right foot towards your left elbow. Sink into it and rest your arms wherever is comfortable. If you need to keep your arms straight, that’s totally fine, and if you’re feeling really flexible you can put your elbows on the ground and rest your forehead on your hands. Hold for a count of 20 and switch.
- Wall squat. Put your back against a wall and squat down to 90 degrees. Think about pushing your lower back into the wall and hold as steady as you can for a count of 30. This will bring some activation back into the legs.
I hope this helps keep you running happy. Always remember to breathe through the exercises!