Running Series #15

mobility banner

If you’ve been following this entire running series, congrats!  You have made it through all of the 12 movement standards.  Again, these are all summarized right out of Kelly Starrett’s book Ready to Run which is not just about running.  It helps you perform self maintenance on yourself and take care of your body instead of just running it into the ground (pun intended).  Testing how you performed against these standards will help you pinpoint your major weaknesses.  They usually fall into 4 categories:

  • A lifestyle issue (not standing with neutral feet)
  • A mobility issue (poor hip extension)
  • A position issue (being unable to squat well)
  • An issue of mechanics (poor jumping and landing technique)

These are usually related.  For example, if you live your life wearing high heeled shoes (lifestyle), it can have a direct effect on your joint mobility which will affect your mechanics.  It can look like this:



  1. Spend at least 10 minutes a day (every day) working on your mobility issues.  You can do this while watching tv, right before bed, first thing when you wake up, etc.  So having a busy and full life is not an excuse.  These things matter.  It’s all about priorities.  While it’s good to take days off of training, you do not need days off of maintenance.
  2. Spend 2 minutes dedicated to each mobilization/body part you’re working on.  2 minutes is the minimum amount of time you need to effect real change in your tissue.  It has to be a focused 2 minutes.  This does not mean haphazardly moving back and forth on a foam roller while you check your email.
  3. Work upstream and downstream.  If a certain area or joint is trouble for you, taking care of the area above it and below it helps to create some slack in the trouble area.
  4. Use good positions.  Pay attention to your posture and positions when you’re doing mobility work.  Keep a braced neutral spine and don’t let your knees collapse inwards.


There are way too many pictures to post of all the different mobility exercises.  If you are truly interested and dedicated to this, just purchase a copy of Ready to Run by Dr. Kelly Starrett.  All the mobilizations are in the back.  If I see you on a regular basis, you can ask me about 1 or 2 different ones for a particular area of trouble.  Below I will list the different types of techniques used, not necessarily the mobilizations themselves.  You need a different technique for improving the position of your hip joint than you do for a patch of sticky sliding surfaces in the arch of your foot, for example.

  • SMASH – This is a compression based technique.  It enables you to to get into the depths of your tissues.  To perform a basic smash, place a ball or roller on the area you wish to work, take a breath, let it out, and allow your muscles to relax around the mobility tool.
  • CONTRACT-RELAX – This is an established neuromuscular technique that does wonders to improve range of motion.  If you hit a hotspot with a smash, it’s  natural for your body to respond by tensing that muscle.  You counter it by breathing in and relaxing the muscle with the exhale, allowing for a deeper tissue penetration.
  • PRESSURE WAVE – This is for pinpointed work and is highly effective for deep-tissue needs, like a deep knot in your hip.  Put a ball or roller on the spot you intend
    to work, then use your body weight to sink the ball deep into the tissue.  Then slowly move the tissue back and forth across creating a pressure wave.
  • STRIPPING – This is simply using a ball or roller along the grain of muscle tissue to comb through various fascias and fibers.  The key is to move slowly.  For example, you want to strip your quads.  Start with a smash to get in good and deep, and then slowly roll through the muscle from above your knee to your hip bone.
  • SMASH and FLOSS – A vital technique for restoringmobility smash the natural glide that should exist between layers of skin, muscle, nerves, and fascias that can get all bundled up.  Use the smash to position a ball or roller deep in the tissue.  Then you begin the flossing by moving your foot and ankle (for the ankle) through as much range of motion as you can muster, back and forth.
  • GLOBAL SHEAR – This is designed to rake through large muscle or a range of muscles all at once.  If you want to work on your thoracic spine mobility it would be helpful to start by using a roller to shear up and down your back to create some general release and warm up the tissue for the deeper work to come.
  • FLEXION GAPPING  This is a specific joint-capsule technique to address a tight, gummed up knee.  Put a ball or towel behind your knee and  then pull your leg into full flexion.  The gap created by the ball or towel creates a force that can help you develop full range of motion.
  • TACK and TWIST – A great move for restoring sliding surface function.  Use a softer ball that has some grippiness to it.  Smash it into the tissue to tack things down and then start twisting the ball.  This is great for the achilles tendon.
  • VOODOO FLOSS BAND COMPRESSION – I covered the voodoo floss band in a previous post.

There will be one final post summing up this Running Series before moving on.  It’s been a long journey.  If you have questions or are an avid runner or other athlete and have seen results from starting some of these exercises, please let me know!

Running Intro,
Running Series #1,
Running Series #2,
Running Series #3,
Running Series #4
Running Series #5
Running Series #6
Running Series #7
Running Series #8
Running Series #9
Running Series #10
Running Series #11
Running Series #12
Running Series #13
Running Series #14

One thought on “Running Series #15

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s