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Pillar Preparation for Runners

I attended the EXOS Performance Mentorship in Phoenix, AZ, in March. One of my key learnings was that the trainers and educators never skip warm up, and pillar preparation or movement preparation. What does that mean? Before going out and sprinting or doing a hard run, you need to make sure the muscles are ready to go. Your body needs to be primed for that pattern, and in running it’s glute flexion on one side and hip flexion on the other. Putting the time into proper mechanics creates a smoother and more efficient run. It reduces the chance of injury and improves performance – and better efficiency equals faster times.

Pillar Prep Breakdown

  1. Soft tissue work  – 2-4 muscles @ 30-60 sec each
  2. Active isolated stretching – 2-4 muscles for 5-10 reps @ 2 sec holds
  3. Activation – 2-4 corrective exercises with 10 reps each based off your primary and secondary concerns from a Functional Movement Screen (FMS)*

I found this pillar preparation very impactful. Spend just 10 minutes per day, and it adds up over time. For example:

  • 50 minutes per week
  • 210 minutes per month
  • 42 hours per year

Sample Pillar Prep Program for a Runner

This sample program assumes that you scored low on active straight leg raise in FMS*. Watch my videos for more detail on each specific movement:

  1. Soft tissue work

    1. Foam roll the quads, IT band and hamstring/adductors
    2. Lacrosse ball on the calves and glutes
  2. Active isolated stretching

    1. Reciprocal inhibition (flex quad) hamstring stretch
    2. Dowel hip flexor stretch with core activation
  3. Activation

    1. Leg lowering progression
    2. Glute bridge knee hug

If you have any questions about pillar prep for runners, please contact me (Craig Boyd) via email. *NOTE: FMS or “Functional Movement Screen” is a ranking and grading system on movement patterns, and is part of an exercise philosophy called “Functional Movement Systems.” We offer this service here at Precision Athletics. Some of our personal trainers are Level 2 FMS-certified, while others are Level 1 FMS. Please contact us or review bios to determine who can help you with a Functional Movement Screen.   

07.05.2015 | Training Tips