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Zombie Heel Walks
Heel walks are a simple but effective way to help prevent shin splints. They’re also useful in training if you’re going from swim to bike or run, to trigger your ankles to transition from plantar flexion (water) to dorsiflexion (bike or land).
Try it: Lift your toes off the ground and walk on your heels, taking small steps as you raise your toes as high as possible. You would typically do this with arms in a normal walking motion, but for added zombie effect, keep your arms out straight in front of you.
Advanced: Do it uphill!
Frankenstein Hamstring Kicks
A long muscle is a happy muscle, so work on increasing your hamstring mobility with some Frankenstein kicks before you run. Frankenstein noises are welcome.
Try it: With your arms straight out in front of you, kick toes up to meet your hands with your foot flexed. Keep legs as straight as possible and maintain good posture with a straight back.
Advanced: Twist your body over your leg as you kick.
Incorporate monster walks into your weekly workouts to strengthen the gluteus medius muscles, which have a tendency to be weak in triathletes and consequently play a part in common running injuries such as IT Band Syndrome.
Try it: If you have a Theraband or tubing, put it around your ankles. Start with feet a little wider than your shoulders and bend down in a slightly squatted position. Step out with your right foot, landing heel first, and follow it with your left, always keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Move right for 30 seconds then back facing the same direction for 30 seconds.
Advanced: Add a squat every time you take a step.
Your hip flexors and groin will be happy after you crawl across the floor with this super mobility exercise.
Try it: Starting in a kneeling position, put both hand on the inside of your front leg. Flatten your back out and extend your back leg behind you, as if you’re in a deep lunge. Hold that pose for a moment. If you have space to go forward, swing your back leg up to the front in a lunge position and keep moving. If you’re limited on space, you can switch your front leg from a stationary position.
Advanced: While in the deep lunge position, swing your outside arm up over your body so your torso is facing the side, to enhance the stretch.
The (Creepy) Inchworm
Another great mobility stretch for your hamstrings as well as your calves and lower back.
Try it: From a standing position, bend down to touch the ground in front of your toes, keeping legs and arms straight. Keep your feet planted as you walk hands out until you reach a push-up position. Stop and lower to your belly, put the tops of your feet on the ground, and push up to arch your back, pausing for a moment. Then walk your feet to meet your hands (go as far as you comfortably can). Start over with your hands moving first.
Advanced: Add a push-up at the bottom of the stretch.