Below are a group of muscles that every runner should foam roll prior (to increase blood flow) to your run and also after to improve blood flow/ speed up the recovery of the muscle.
Calves – help control plantar flexion and dorsiflexion of the foot. These muscles allow to push off the ground and propel (spring) your self forward as you run. They will also help absorb impact as your foot comes into contact with the ground.
Hamstrings – work to extend your hip and flex your knee through your phases of running. The hamstring may also act as a braking mechanism for the hip flexors. Strains of the hamstring may result from a sudden increase or decrease in speed.
Gluteus Medius – work to dynamically stabilize the pelvis in a neutral position during single leg stance of running. A weak or inactive gluteus medius can cause instability or an increase in pressure to other joint in your lower extremity (knee, foot). Weakness of this muscle may also cause trendelenburg gait – If one side is weak, the other hip may drop as a result
TFL – stabilizes the hip & pelvis. Due to its role in pelvic stability while running the TFL can be overworked if other abductors and stabilizers are not working properly.
- IT band originates from the TFL. TFL dysfunction can lead to IT band syndrome, with pain presenting at the knee
Quads – primary muscle to move your legs forward. These muscles extend the knee and propel yourself forward. During hill running, the quads will absorb a lot of shock. Even during a downhill run, the quads will be working harder to absorb the shock and help stabilize the knee
T/S – tightness in your thoracic spine can lead to pressure above (neck) or below (lower back). This may also lead to tight internal rotators of the shoulder, causing you to cross your midline with your arm swing – wasting energy while you run.