By Brittany Moran
Do you ever experience tightness in your shoulders or upper back while running? You’re not alone. In my first marathon, the only thing that really bothered me was stiffness and soreness in between my shoulder blades. Having
just graduated from chiropractic college, I was not impressed by this.
Today, we spend a lot of time at a desk over a computer and over our phones. This of course is not our most ideal posture. Posture is important in running for a couple of reasons: we need neutral posture for our core to work best. We also need neutral posture to engage our diaphragm and allow our ribs to extend fully so that we can get as much air in as possible.
First things first: relax. I know for me personally as soon as I see my pace start to fade, I get stressed and my shoulders immediately creep up. This is bad for multiple reasons, the most obvious one being that you’re restricting your breathing and can’t move as well.
Next thing is to find what exactly that neutral posture you want is and how to get there. Along with this you need to make sure you can move throughout the spine as well.
Now we have to strengthen those oft ignored postural muscles, which is a common area of weakness for runners. Using your arms while running should be seen as a secret weapon that can really help you push through some of the discomfort you may experience in your legs.
Four Warm-Up Moves That Will Rid You Of Tight Shoulders
Stretch your pecs
It does not matter how much you strengthen your postural muscles if your pecs are too tight you will not be able to engage them correctly.
Get on all fours. Take one arm, hold it bent and to your side; rotate your trunk until your arm points to the sky, then
down, hooking your arm under your chest and as far to your other side as you can without creating tension. Do this five times for each arm. This will help keep your movement fluid through the spine.
Stand against a wall; hands up, keeping your arms straight out, and squat down until your knees are in mid-bend. You should feel this open up through your mid back.
Ski jump posture
This is a great way to help realign yourself and find that neutral posture. Stand normally and think about where all of
your weight is (typically, this will be in your heels). Now lean forward from the ankles shifting your weight to the
middle of your foot. This is where you want to be. Use this throughout the day while standing and when you end up
stopping while running.
Brittany Moran is a chiropractor at the Runner’s Academy in Toronto. She ran for the University of Windsor and now runs marathons.