I often get people coming to me that concentrate their fitness routines around improving their running, but neglect to place any focus at all on strength training. The truth is, by running alone you are risking injury and aren’t going to get the best out of your body. Below I dispel a few fitness myths and give my tips on the best exercises to do to help you improve your running and overall health and fitness.
Your body can only be as strong as it’s weakest link, and for many people including many amateur runners, this tends to be your core.
A strong core helps runners, in particular, with:
· Balance – helping to improve your gait and ‘foot striking’
· Stability - stabilization of the torso
· Posture – helping to keep you more ‘upright’
· Control – reduces wobbling when moving your arms and legs
Core strength exercises help your pelvis, abs, and hips and lower back all work in sync with each other to help you exercise, run at peak fitness and reduce injury risk.
A typical gym myth is that ‘crunches’ and endless other abdominal exercises will tone and strengthen your core. This is not the case; you need to utilise movements that recruit your ‘deep abdominal’ muscle. The transverse abdominus is ultimately responsible for stabilizing your entire pelvis and lower back and the oblique’s, which help you to rotate and flex side-to-side.
Gyms can often be very busy in January, with new members joining as part of their news year’s resolutions.
So here are some no kit movements you can add to your routine to target your core.
Do 3-5 rounds of:
Kneeling opposites x 12 reps per arm and leg
Plank rocking x 20 reps
Side plank dips x 12-20 reps per side
Plank jacks x 20 reps
Targeting other muscles:
All muscles are essential, but the muscles that are of most importance to runners are the glutes. Known as posterior chain muscles, the Gluteus Maximus is the largest muscle in the human body. It plays a vital role in generating power and stability around our hip whilst running.
Hip extension muscles are essential for building stride rate and stride length. When running, hip flexors and extensors must be kept flexible and strong.
The upper back and shoulders are essential for maintaining good posture and pelvic alignment, which help you to run more upright.
Include this 3 Step no kit workout into your exercise regime to target the above muscles:
Do 3 rounds of:
Single leg pelvic lift x 12-20 reps per leg
Reverse lunge into knee lift x 12-15 reps per leg
Press up into side plank x 12-16
Perform your core exercises first, then the 3-step workout for a total body, no kit workout to improve your core, posture, strength and running mechanics. Get in touch with me for a more bespoke program to fit in with your exact needs.