Instructions for pliability self-check

Many injuries and ineffeciencies in running bio-mechanics come from postural imbalances, where one leg is moving, absorbing forces, and propelling forces differently than the other. Though gait-retraining is a possible corrective action, we prefer runners to first work on balancing out the tension levels in the key major-movers of the hips - namely the lower back, glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. If these areas are balanced and the mechanics are still off, and/or the symptoms still remain, we can now more safely move into gait-retraining. Given this, it is highly recommended runners first spend some time identifying any imbalances in tension on the foamroll.


On a foamroll, while focusing on one leg at a time, track your sensitivity/tension levels on a chart. Do one side, one leg at a time using a high density foamroll on a hardwood floor. Use a number system 0-10 with 0 being no tension, no discomfort, and 10 being something too intense/painful for you to handle. Perform a similar test with your hands/thumbs/theracane for the calves and shins - as instructed below.


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area pic description RIGHT
glutes Keep your weight over one glute only to fully assess the tension. Now very slowly rotate your body clockwise then counterclockwise. Then glide your body right then left along the foamroll. Then, again very slowly, roll forward then backwards on the roll. Switch sides and repeat.
lower back Slightly rotate so the pressure is just to the side of the spine on one side. Now slowly roll up and down on the foamroll. Switch sides and repeat.
upper back Focus on the areas around rear shoulder and then the back of the armpit. Slowly roll up and down. Switch sides and repeat.
quadriceps Focus on three areas for each quad. AREA 1: hip flexor (first 2-6" below the hip bone) AREA 2: mid quad (halfway between hip and knee) AREA 3: lower quad (just above knee) upper
hamstrings With legs crossed and body weight positioned over one leg, all the pressure should be felt from the foamroller going into your mid-thigh/mid-hamstring area. Now very slowly rotate your body right to left, glide right to left, and/or roll forwards and backwards. Switch sides and repeat.
calves With strong pressure of your hands and thumbs, and while in one or more of the positions shown, assess the tension/pliability throughout the calf.
shins With palm of the opposite hand pressing the fingers of the placed hand, strongly apply pressure and assess the tension/pliability of the shin.

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