Five muscles you should release before you run

Should we stretch, or should we roll before we run? Let’s bench that particular debate for the moment and acknowledge that different preparations work for different individuals.

So, let’s talk self myofascial release – basically the act of releasing muscles with foam rollers, trigger balls etc. There is a growing body of evidence to support the notion that it works! At Subiaco Physiotherapy, we love foam rolling and self release and use them as a key part of many of our rehabs. Read why we love it here

So, we’ve picked our five favourite roll and release techniques for runners as everyone launches into a great year of running. We’d suggest spending just a couple of minutes on each of these muscle groups prior to a run.


Whilst we accept now that it’s the muscle beneath our ITB, rather than the thick fibrous band itself, most of us know the outside part of a thigh as a source of short-term pain for long-term gain. Roll from just below the bony part of your hip to just above your knee. This can really help to reduce pressure in the front of the knee, particularly on the hills!


Your glutes are the fleshy part at the back and outside of your hip which work to propel you forward and up as you run. Sit on a trigger ball and hunt around for some of the hot spots on each side. Again, avoid the bony areas.


Time to take care of your calves – the muscle that literally puts a spring in your step! Start with the foam roller at the back of your knee then move your body up so that the roller goes down to the top of your achilles. To increase the pressure, hook one leg over the other. Still not enough? Try the trigger ball in there again!


We think the hamstrings are best released in sitting, using a trigger ball. Sit yourself on a chair, bench or strong table and place the ball under your hamstring, hunting around for the most relevant areas to you in the back of the thigh. Take care to avoid your sit bones as you do this.

Thoracic spine

Many of us runners can become slightly rounded through the shoulders and stiff through the upper back. Your thoracic spine can be a good source of power when you run, so keeping it as free as possible will hopefully help your movement, comfort and speeds. Sit the roller horizontally across where your bra line would be, lift the hips, give yourself a bear hug and move up and down so that the roller makes contact between the shoulder blades as high up as the collar line.

Give us a call if you’d like to learn more – we’d be happy to put together a customised program for you. We also run multiple Run Strong classes each week if you’d like to work in the gym to improve your running strength, capacity and speeds.

Best of luck with the training!

The team at Subiaco Physiotherapy




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