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I recently injured my left knee on a run and have been getting some amazing rehab from Myodetox, but when I was approached by Brittany of Fine Tune Pilates to strengthen specific areas that affected the pressure I was putting on my knees, I couldn’t say no.

I’m glad I didn’t.

I learned to focus on my glutes from my friend Michelle Jobin, who teaches at Misfit Studios. But Britt (not to be confused with my amazing NTC trainer, who is also a stunning redhead) brought my attention to my ankles and hips – which Vinnie and Kevin of Myodetox also pinpointed my problem areas.

Below Britt details exactly what she worked on and why:

I really wanted to focus on ankle and hip mobility with Meghan. I’ve worked with many serious runners over the years, and almost every runner I’ve encountered complains of “bad knees”, tight calves, and tight hips. Over time this can mean injuries that hold you back from running all together, or bothersome aches and pains that add precious seconds to your speed.

Get a Theraband now!

We started the session with some basic ankle mobility exercises using a Theraband. I asked Meghan to put one foot in the band, stretch that leg up toward the ceiling, and begin to draw circles with their ankle. We continued with flexion and extension at the ankle — think pressing the gas pedal down, and releasing slowly. What followed were whimpers as her tight calf muscles started to lengthen. Let me explain something here — Meghan is a STRONG chic, but what I found during their session was that their muscles were locked tight and not functioning optimally.

Tight muscles are prone to injury

Next, we moved upward to the hips. I asked the girls to cross the leg in the band over their bodies, and rock on the pelvis like a seesaw, then return back to center. This simple movement helps rotate the spine and just feels great! Long distance runners especially need spinal rotation to keep that gentle oscillation happening while they run and avoid stiffening up through their backs. When you swing your leg across the body like this it also releases the piriformis, one of the major rotators of the hip joint that often gets tight when we do a lot of repetitive forward and back motion in the hips, like running.

Common injuries are preventable

The biggest issues runners come across are achy, or injured knees, and tight hips. Between simple movements in the ankle, and lengthening the calf muscles to make them more functional, we create a better base of support for the knees. By mobilizing the hips and practicing full rotation at the joint, we create more functional – and toned – bum muscles to power you forward when you run.

The takeaway

The takeaway is that Pilates can help target the small muscles that will really help runners go the distance, and prevent future injury. It’s a great idea to do a short Pilates routine before you run to prep the muscles, and move more efficiently. Check out Pilates For The People for at-home workouts, or come in and try a session IRL at Fine Tune Pilates.

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