As the weather cools and the rain rolls in after a warm and dry summer season, there is no better way to enjoy the colorful changes of fall than to head to the local hiking trails for some muddy trail runs. Running on trails can be a welcomed change of pace from road running and offers new ways to challenge your body and become a stronger runner. It provides an opportunity for you to work on balance, agility, and strength by running on undulating surfaces. Runners tend to be very strong with any forward movement, but they fall short when it comes to the stabilizing lateral muscle groups. Weakness in these important muscle groups on the side of your body can lead to frustrating and debilitating injuries that can prevent you from enjoying the trail running season. Fortunately, a simple strengthening program can help to keep injuries from occurring, which means more time on the trails!

A strengthening program doesn’t have to involve a gym membership or fancy equipment. In fact, some of the most effective strengthening programs can be performed easily at home. By strengthening the lateral muscle groups, your body can fine tune your posture and position while running, which allows for greater efficiency and stability while you run. This strength training routine should be performed two to three times per week in order to provide your muscles with enough challenge to become stronger. Allow at least 48 hours of rest between sessions to allow muscles to recover fully.

Give this simple stabilizer strengthening routine a try to help keep you healthy out on the trails. If you experience any pain with these exercises or feel an injury coming on, seek out assistance from your physical therapist.

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