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Running with Hypermobility

Running with Hypermobility: Building Stability for Better Performance

chronic tightness exercises and drills running skills May 16, 2024

Are you running with Hypermobility? Some of the bendiest most flexible runners tend to be some of the stiffest in a few specific places in the body- usually feet, calves, pelvic floor & neck. Check out a few exercises that will help reinforce the stability we need to run! 

I shared this to my IG yesterday:

I got lot’s of the following in the comments and DMs:


“It’s me.”

“I feel seen”

“Yes, help”


So I wanted to expand on running with hypermobility here:


The body needs stiffness, stability, safety, and awareness of itself in space.


Being hypermobile somewhere might cause you to grip somewhere else to create that feeling of safety that it’s missing.


That means stretching often isn’t the answer. Lasting relief from the tension often requires stiffness, stability, and safety elsewhere. It means we need to create “good” tension somewhere else to be able to release where we are feeling the tension chronically.


Put more simply:

Sometimes to truly release tension in one part of your body we need to create tension somewhere else where you are missing it. When the body has that tension (safety) it’s craving, it can finally let go of the tension it holds chronically.


I may be beating a dead horse here, but I’m going to say it one more time with a visual, because I think understanding this point is so important.

In the image above, you see 3 concentric circles. The biggest, outermost circle represents the fullest range of motion humanly possible (hint you don’t need this!). The middle circle represents the range of motion needed to fully participate in life/sport (you really only need this). The smaller, darker circle represents a case where the range of motions is less than that needed for fully participating in life/sport.


If your range of motion is in that dark orange circle, you could likely benefit from increasing your range of motion.


If your range of motions is way out in the biggest circle, aka. you are hypermobile and have a lot of laxity in that tissue, you could likely benefit from creating more stiffness, stability, and safety.


If your range of motion in one area is in that dark orange circle and, in another area, is way out in the biggest circle, it will be hard for you to increase your range of motion where it’s limited without creating more stiffness, stability, and safety in the other.


One really common example I see is when laxity in the proximal hamstrings (the hamstrings right up at the top by your butt) presents as tension in the neck, difficulty rotation through the torso/ribs, gripping in the pelvic floor, and/or gripping at the feet. In other words, if you can place your palms on the floor, I’d be willing to bet you are holding tension in at least one of those other places. And your hamstrings might also feel tight because the body grips there too saying “I’m already stretched so far, I can’t stretch anymore.” Aka. it doesn’t feel safe for the body to stretch more.


I’m going way back into the movie archives with this one, but it made me think of that scene in Super Troopers where those teenagers are flipping out because the officer tells them to pull over when they are already parked on the side of the road. “He's already pulled over. He can't pull over any further”

More mobility isn’t better and being able to palm the floor isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Bendy does not equal broken!


However, with more mobility comes the need to be strategic in creating strength/stiffness/tension in your body where/when you need it!


It’s important to note that in some cases this can simply be a mismatch in stretching vs strengthening in your training history (constantly stretching your hamstrings because they feel tight, for example). In other cases, the connective tissues in your body might inherently be more lax and be more prone to this idea of hypermobility. Most cases, it’s likely a little of both. Either way the strategies below will be helpful.


If you want to understand more about where you might fall on this spectrum, the Beighton Score is a good place to start. You can learn more about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder  (HDS), and other potential symptoms of each at the respective links as well.


If any of the above resonated with you, what can you do about Hypermobility?


  • Build safety, stiffness, and stability where you need it - connect with proximal hamstrings, learn to truly exhale, find your stack, and use references in your strength work.
  • Learn to let go where you are creating that extra safety - connect with the ground through true pronation, learn to inhale 360 degrees into your ribcage, and find length in the glutes/posterior pelvic floor.
  • You’ll have a hard time trying to make progress in one without also making progress in the other.


Try these seven exercises to put these ideas into practice.


Connect to your proximal hamstrings to help find your stack.


All 4s Pelvic Tilts

Connect with your proximal hamstrings and use them to tilt your pelvis forward and back with control. Keep the movement small and at the pelvis instead of big, cat/cow type movement through the spine.



Toe Taps with Wall Reference

Connect with your deep abs and move through hip flexion/extension without moving through your flexion/extension at your low back.



In both cases here we used the wall for reference. This can be incredibly helpful for that idea of safety, stiffness, stability where you need it so you can move more freely elsewhere.


Even though we are focusing on keeping the spine still in these two exercises, doesn’t mean we never want it to move! We just don’t want ALL the movement at your hips coming from hinging at the spine instead.


Practice moving through your ribs.


Foam Roller Rolldowns

Now allow your spine and ribs to move. Move slowly and breathe into your back with each inhale.



T-Spine Rotation with Wall Reference

Create some tension/stability at your pelvis so that you can really breathe/move through your whole ribcage.



Find the ground with your feet.


Heel Rocker Standing Pronation Drill

Go very slow with this one and focus on feeling the weight shift along the bottom of your foot as your knee travels forward.



Use references in your strength work (at least at first).


These are just two examples.


Overcoming Hinge Iso

Create tension in the system so that you can truly let go in your glutes/ posterior pelvic floor. The foot grounding above is really important here too! Start with a small hinge and work on slowly letting go in the backside. If you feel it more in your low back, you are likely hinging too far. Check out this blog to learn the strategy to hinging well.


Knee Banded Foam Roller Goblet Squat

Use the foam roller and the wall to give your body feedback for its position in space and the band to give you some 



While most of the above is body weight work, that doesn’t mean don’t lift heavy weight if you are bendy. Just the opposite in fact, overall strength goes a long way. Strength is safety, stiffness, and stability! This is just a starting point and example of what I mean when I say use references.




When the body has the safety, stiffness, and stability it craves, it can finally let go of the tension it holds chronically.


The pelvic floor can be one of the most difficult places to finally let go of that chronic tension. This more often than not is the root of most pelvic floor symptoms with the runner’s I work with. Patience and consistency with the principles above can go a long way.

AND my soon-to-be-released Pelvic Floor Fundamentals program will build these principles into a step-by-step plan to support your pelvic floor so that you can run freely without worry!


Get on the waitlist now.


Next on your reading list:

Stress & Running: How to Achieve Better Results With Fewer Injuries

Strength Training for Runners at Home. How to Get Results!

Tight Calves During Running: Solutions Beyond Stretching for Lasting Relief

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