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Running is great for you—but what about the other 23 hours of your day? Dr. John Ball says runners can do a lot of damage while they’re not pounding the pavement. “Most runners work a nine-to-five desk job and spend hours in the car,” he explains. “This creates a posture, which cuts down on your ability to get air into the lungs and does not provide a solid base for your arms and legs.”
Running is not the only way to keep your leg muscles strong and healthy. These three moves will eliminate weaknesses and keep injuries from occurring. Pair these leg moves with our expert ab and arm workouts!
Janet Hamilton’s Pick: Hip Drop
Position a bar on a squat rack so that it’s about 3.5 feet off the floor.
(a) Stand on a step or bench with one foot free to dangle off the step.
(b) Keeping your knee totally straight, let your pelvis tilt and drop down so your dangling foot goes below the level of the step. Use your hip to raise your foot higher than the step again. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
Janet Hamilton, author of the book Running Strong and Injury-Free, is an exercise physiologist and running coach based in Atlanta.
Amy Brown’s Pick: Wall Squat
(a) Begin standing with your toes 8 inches away from a wall with your arms behind your head.
(b) Squat down as far as you can without bending forward. Return to a standing position. Get one inch closer to the wall and repeat, moving closer each time until your toes are touching the wall. To finish, perform 10 squats with your toes against the wall.
Amy Brown, owner of Athena Rehab and Fitness in Portland, Ore., helps Olympians, including Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan, perform at their best.
Dr. John Ball’s Pick: Stork Reach
(a) Stand on one slightly bent leg with the free leg bent so that the foot is touching the opposite knee.
(b) Push your free knee backward, hinging at your hips and reaching your arms forward until your back is parallel to the floor. Repeat 10 times then switch sides.
Dr. John Ball, chiropractic sports physician and founder of Maximum Mobility in Phoenix, Ariz., has worked with elite track athletes such as Lauren Fleshman.