Stability and Mobility Video for Healthier Natural Running

I’ve often heard it said that you can’t fire a cannon from a canoe. The phrase seemingly dates to naval warfare from the 1800s, but the expression has been popular with fitness instructors and personal trainers who maintain that to “fire a cannon” (build strong arms and legs) you can’t do it from “a canoe ” (if you have weak core and hip stabilizers, and feet). This analogy rings especially true with running.

To run efficiently and without injury, you need a strong, stable, and mobile base.  This involves a complex combination of unconscious movements that take place with every running step.

The web is loaded with videos on core training and strength work. Most runners though fail to put these videos in context for what their individual needs are.  Stability is about strength and balance from the ground up; this is why most get it wrong by focusing on abdominals, usually with isolation (sit ups) and do not connect it with functional movement.

And while many videos focus exclusively on the running form, what is often missing from them is a look at “chassis” issues; how your body supports and responds to natural running.

Laura Bergmann demonstrates a stability exercise.

So  here at Two Rivers Treads and the Natural Running Center, we decided to make a video that concentrates on improving stability and mobility. See above for video.

Our new training video has three objectives:

1. This video is targeted to you as a runner trying to learn better form.

2. It will help you identify weaknesses and restrictions in your kinetic chain and give you some simple corrective exercises you can do at home.

3. These exercises are taught and practiced by us at Two Rivers Treads in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, so we know they are easy to learn and effective with minimal time investment.

Showing you the stability and mobility exercises in this video are Athletic Trainer Laura Bergmann and Physical Therapy student Brad Dodson.

Laura, who has a Master’s degree in exercise science, is a world-class duathlete and Crossfit Endurance Coach. She is a popular member of our Two Rivers Treads’ team teaching clinics and mentoring the community in healthy running and movement.

Brad Dodson is one of the emerging leaders in natural running. He was a 4:07 miler at the University of Delaware, where he obtained a B.S. in Exercise Science. He is also an accomplished triathlete.  An unfortunate series of severe injuries led to his discovery of healthy natural running principles.  He finishes his physical therapy degree this Spring and will be teaching and spreading the” run-injury-free” message here locally in West Virginia and elsewhere in the health care community.

Finally, a special thanks to our video producer Dave Ehrenberg who put this all together.


19 Responses to “Stability and Mobility Video for Healthier Natural Running”

  1. Thank you Dr. Mark and Laura. I found this very helpful, as a 64 yr. old just getting back into running after a long bout of inactivity. This website is a gold-mine, I appreciate your time and commitment!

  2. Les K says:

    Thanks folks for a very informative video. I fully agree with Ramesh about the value of your website.

  3. Richard says:

    As a personal trainer, runner and triathlete, I have been reading, learning, trying new things when they come along.
    Through following Phil Maffetone I have found this website.
    I have moved to the natural running style gradually, but now find it intuitive.
    Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.
    Many of the movements in the video have been in my arsenal of exercises for a while, but your explanation will be helpful to the novice.
    Thanks again,

  4. Indy M. says:

    From this and other Video on this site(great site, thanks!), I see examples of ‘loading’ of the foot arches, the Calves and the Tendons. Can somebody point me to an example Video where the Hip Flexors are being loaded dynamically as well please? Thanks in advance!

    • MarkC says:

      great question. you cannot “see” this as visually as the foot and achilles/calf loading the spring. watch and measure the stride angle (thigh spread) of the truley elite runners, their foot is behind the center of mass on toe off. you can feel it yourself just by doing a donkey kick. kici your leg behind with the glutes and feel it recoil. Need to have hip extension to allow it to happen. many too tight from sitting all day
      watch this vid
      Dr. Mark


      • Indy M. says:

        Thank you Doc; watching the video, they seem to be ‘puddle jumping’ on each step. Quite amazing! To counter the effects of chair-sitting, I have been stretching ‘Psoas’ every am and after runs; have started doing squats at end of runs as well( as you show at the very end of this Video). So lets hope one of these days, I will feel the hip flexor loading kicking in. Learning and evolving! 😉

        On another note, I have been following your AirForce talk instructions on building a better Aerobic Base, using Aerobic Threshold running(I use Friel’s method for estimating LT) training body to run hybrid. Slowed down to 12minute miles(from my usual 8.5-9 minute miles running for an hour or so). One thing I notice is that post runs I do NOT feel as hungry, as I used to before(I am fairly slim, 5-9″, 132#, body fat ~12%) Do not know if that is an expected outcome of running ‘Long distance, slow distance’ while training in the Aerobic Threshold zone.

  5. Keith Billington says:

    Thank you so much for making this wonderful video available. It is the best summary of stability exercises specifically for runners I have seen, and I find myself returning to it often. Thanks for pointing out my weak links! Great job.

  6. Ben says:

    Great video – thanks!

    What would be a good response to limited mobility in the big toe (ie, poor dorsiflection)? Are there good exercises, drills or stretches to improve this limitation?

  7. Rima says:

    This is a great resource!! Thanks for making this video and sharing it here!

  8. Nicolas says:

    Great video! Is that a Winnie the Pooh potty seat (6:05/7:44)?

  9. Lance says:

    Do you have a written workout to go a long with the video? I would love to incorporate this in to my training.

  10. David says:

    Wow I love your site! Everything is so informative and I read up on here a lot! A few questions though. I’m currently building up my aerobic base. I’m training at max aerobic heart rate and have been for a little while now. I’m 18 and have a history of cross country and track for four years in high school, but feel like I always lacked a proper aerobic base. I know you mention you shouldn’t be doing anything that gets you out out of your aerobic range, but what about strength training? Do you think strength training 2-3 types a week is fine to incorporate? And how about these functional strength workouts? Could I do these everyday or should I limit how much I do these per week? Thanks! Sorry for all the questions..

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