Plank Extensions

There are so many great Plank variations! It’s fun to mix things up, but I also have a few favorites. Plank extensions are at the top of my go-to list.

Why?

  • They work everything between your nipples and your knees, all of the muscles of your core.
  • They work your abs AND glutes.
  • They promote shoulder stability.
  • They can be easily modified or advanced for any level.
  • They force you to learn to engage your core as you extend.
Plank Extensions

How to perform Plank Extensions:

  1. Set up in an elbow Plank position with your feet close together. Your elbows should be right under your shoulders, forearms facing forward (no clasping hands), and your body should be in a nice straight line from your head to your heels.
  2. Begin to walk your feet backward, taking small steps. Maintain your body in a nice straight line and don’t let your hips sag. Lengthen through your triceps and lats as you extend backward. Walk back as far as you can while maintaining form.
  3. Then walk your feet back forward until you are back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat, walking your feet back out. Only walk out as far as you can without your low back engaging. Start with only a few steps and gradually progress the length of extension.
Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.

Kang Squats

By now you know that a strong runner regularly strengthens their posterior chain muscles – calf muscles, hamstrings, gluteus maximus and medius, latissimus dorsi and the erector spinae muscles – essentially all the backside muscles from your head to your heels.

A Kang Squat is a combination movement – a good morning and a squat. 

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Foam Rolling Variations

Grab your foam roller to add challenging variations to standard exercises.

Glute Bridge Hamstring Curls
Foam Roller Crunches

Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.

Prone Snow Angels

Most runners focus on lower-body strength exercises, but we need upper body strength and mobility too!

Prone Snow Angels are versatile, challenging, and can be done anywhere. No special equipment required. The primary focus is the posterior muscles of the shoulder, specifically the mid/lower trapezius and rhomboids.

Lay prone on a mat and tuck the chin. Squeeze the glutes, hamstrings, and calves and engage the core to stabilize the spine. With arms at your sides and palms facing down, retract the shoulder blades to lift the arms off the ground. Slowly abduct the shoulder, attempting to keep arms as far off the floor as possible. As the arms reach the 90* abduction, rotate the palms to face upward. Do NOT shrug the shoulders in an attempt to keep arms off the floor, especially in the “overhead” position.

Progressions: extension of arms at the elbow (wider reach)higher repetitions

Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.

Runner Touch (beginner version)

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.

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Genie Sit

It’s no secret that I love body-weight exercises, especially when no special equipment is needed. Don’t be fooled by what appears to be a simple movement.

Targeted Muscles: hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, core, hip flexor and lower back.

How to Perform a Genie Sit:

  1. Place a mat on the ground and place knees shoulder-to-hip width apart on it with your feet behind you.
  2. Cross your arms in front of you so that your hands are on your opposite shoulders. Cross your arms onto opposite shoulders and lift your elbows up to shoulder height.
  3. Keep your upper body straight and contract your glutes and hamstrings. Slowly lean backwards, bending at the knees.
  4. Only go back as far as you are comfortable and then using your quad and glute muscles, pull yourself back up.
  5. Repeat.

CUES:

  • Visualize a line that connects the knee, hip, shoulder, and ear to maintain proper upper body form.
  • Only lean back as far as proper form can be maintained.

TEMPO: 2-2

BREATHING CADENCE:

Inhale: Isometric hold of the core and glutes as you lean backward.

Exhale: Lean forward to return to start.

Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified run coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.

Death March for Runners

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.

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Step Ups

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.

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Three-way clamshells

I ❤️ my 9″ mini resistance bands!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.