Single work leg is vital for every runner’s strength routine.
Why? Running really is a single -eg sport, as only one foot touches the ground at any given time. Single-leg strength becomes even more important when running trails.
We are good at developing the big running muscles – hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and glutes – but neglect the smaller stabilization muscles that keep the hips, knees, and ankles healthy. Runner Touch (beginning version) is a great exercise to start single-leg strength work.
My military athletes MUST be good at push-ups for fitness tests, and I design their training to include pre-run push-ups and push-up variations in the gym. I’ve been present at many PT tests where some push-ups were not counted because of poor form. I ensure my military athletes perform push-ups with correct form, but also have the strength and endurance to meet minimum standards and beyond.
Say hello to my little friend: Death March for Runners.
How can a small step forward with hip hinge make you want to say swear words?
In Death March for Runners, the goal is to elongate the hamstrings and engage the glutes. This is done by placing the load on the front leg as much as possible and keeping a slight soft bend in the front knee as you push your hips back like you would in any deadlift variation. Essentially Death March for runners is a split stance hinge. You should absolutely feel your glutes, hamstrings and pelvic stabilizers of the lead leg.
Simple, yet full of technical details. Welcome to step-ups!
Ideally, the step-up trains the quads, hamstrings, and glutes of the leg on the box (working leg). The working leg performs concentric and eccentric movement, while improving balance.
What often happens? The calf of the foot touching the floor pushes off and the lower back compensates half way through the upward movement. Sure, the working leg does some work, but will not be fully loaded.
Lower back pain is a sure sign of a weak core and glutes. Any human – runner or not – can benefit from effective core work.
Pelvic tilt (different video) and pelvic tilt with march are for every body. However, post-partum women can benefit greatly from this exercise, regardless of the presence of diastasis recti. It is important to regain core muscle strength after pregnancy.
Time to change things up! Let’s talk upper body exercises.
It not secret that smart phones have lead to an increase in poor posture – heads protruding forward, slumped spines, and rounded shoulders. Y-T-A’s are a simple, yet effective exercise to regain better upper body posture, muscle strength, and mobility.
Clamshells are great to build glute and TFL strength, but the side position isn’t my favorite. Ta-da! Seated 3-way mini resistance band clamshells.
What to do:
Place the mini band right below (more advanced) or right above (a bit easier) your knees. Whichever location you choose or whatever resistance mini band you use, just make sure you feel your glutes and outside your hips actually working.
Sit on the edge of the bench and your feet about hip-width apart. Then press your knees open against the band, using your glutes to open the band.
Begin with the forward hip hinge, then sitting tall, and finish leaning back.
Alter the location and ‘weight’ of the resistance band to progress or regress the movement for your current level of fitness.
Think you need a machine to build strong hamstrings? Think again!
Hamstrings are part of the posterior chain, a powerful group of muscles that include the back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. A strong posterior chain gives runners a stong push-off, promoting forward motion.
Kettlebell Deadlifts are an effective exercise for strengthening the posterior chain, some of the biggest and strongest muscles in the body: back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
A strong posterior chain is critical for runners, as these muscles are what push you forward with each stride. They also work to stabilize the knee joint, extend the hip joint, and strengthen and straighten the spine (especially important for chronic sitters).