Seven best 5-minute mobility routines for runners

Open up those hips and loosen those ankles and knees to become a better runner

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mobility is one of those buzzwords in running circles that you should pay attention to, as adding more mobility workouts to your exercise regime can significantly increase running performance and reduce the chance of injury. If you want to get more mobile but don't know where to start, we collected seven of our favourite 5-minute mobility routines for runners to help you get started.

One great thing about the below routines is that they can be done quickly, enabling you to incorporate them into your running plan easily. Of course, continuously adding new items to your running agenda isn't the best idea, as you can end up doing more work than your body can handle.

A solution is to call for the aid of a running watch. Most modern running wearables, like the best Garmin watches, offer workout suggestions based on your general fitness level, how much you exercise, your training load, and recovery and sleep data. All you need to do is wear them as much as possible, and they do the legwork for you.

Even if you like to follow the workout suggestions of your running watch, it's nice to mix things up every now and then by doing strength (here's the best strength training plan for runners) and mobility workouts. Remember: running requires all your body's muscles to work in unison, not just your legs, so make sure you train your upper body, too.


Let's start with a workout you should be doing before every running session. This re-run mobility workout helps warm up all key joints you'll put through the ringer when you run, including the hips, knees, ankles and more. Do each exercise for 30-60 seconds. Add hip flexion lift-off at the end if you want to push the boat out. Make sure you have a firm footing before you stand on one leg! The exercises in this workout are:

  • Quad stretch with hip hinge 
  • Hip CARs
  • Ankle CARs
  • Hip flexion with knee hinge
  • Multi-angle calf stretch and passive range hold
  • Hamstring stretch with hip rotation
  • Tibia (knee) rotation
  • Optional: Hip flexion lift-off


Of all the mobility exercises we don't do often enough, hip mobility workouts are on top of that imaginary list. The above workout can be done at home, on the carpet, on a rug or an exercise mat. Some moves are trickier than others, while others require more strength; only do them to a level where you feel comfortable. The scorpion hip openers can be challenging for some – a less intense alternative is the seated spinal twist. The workout:

  • Seated hip openers to extension (each leg, x5)
  • Rotation complexes (each leg, 3x)
  • Frog pose openers (each leg, 3x)
  • Hip drive extensions (each leg, 3x)
  • Scorpion hip openers (each side, 5x)


The most often neglected area for runners is admittedly the upper body. This short and sweet upper body mobility workout runners contains only five exercises, which you should do for a minute each. Starting from the top, you'll work the neck first, followed by the shoulders/scapula, and finally, the spine. The exercises are as follows:

  • Neck circles
  • Scapula rotations
  • Shoulder swimmers
  • Linear spine segmentation
  • Spine CARs


Here, we have a gentle workout focusing on the ankles. There are only four exercises, with each should be performed for around 60 seconds. Most exercises can be done at home, besides the shin stretches, which require a soft surface, like a pillow or exercise block. Feel free to mix up the order of moves as you see fit:

  • Seated ankle CARs
  • Shin stretches
  • Wall bends
  • Wall toe raises

Static full-body

This full-body mobility session focuses on isometric exercises. Better still, it's the follow-along variety, which we're sure some of you, especially beginner exercisers, appreciate more. The key is to perform the moves slowly and with as much control as you can muster. Relax the muscles not in use as much as possible, and listen to your body. The exercises are:

  • Pike relations
  • Figure foar neck stretch
  • Kneeling back bend
  • Thoracic rotations
  • Butterfly slides
  • Mckenzie push-ups

Dynamic full-body

This dynamic mobility session will benefit those who find static exercises hard to hold for long periods of time. Here, we have six exercises that loosen up your whole body, not just your legs, which, as mentioned above, is essential, especially for runners. Thanks to the follow-along nature of this workout, it's easy to get started, but for those of you who like to see what lies ahead, here's the list of moves included in the session:

  • Heel sit neck nods and turns
  • T-spine rotations
  • Wide stance rock on forearms
  • Split stance adductor mobilisation
  • Leg up rocking
  • Cobra to downward dog

Daily routine

We selected this daily mobility workout for a simple reason: it's recommended by a runner, and not just any runner, but one that won races across a wide variety of distances, from 5k to ultras. The routine itself is relatively simple – another good point in our books – and focuses on the hips and legs. Like the two workouts above, it's the follow-along variety, so prop up your phone and get stretching!

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(Image credit: Garmin)
Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.