Strength and conditioning should be a stable part of any runners training program, but for some runners, the thought of doing something other than running is out of character. ‘What, there’s more to training than running’? YES!!!
Supplementing your running with some regular strength and conditioning work will make you stronger, faster and more robust! But before you head to the local gym to lift some heavy weights and sign up for your gym membership – hold fire. This article might persuade you otherwise.
Like any training schedule, it is essential to understand and plan what you are doing. You can’t just simply throw a random program together and expect it to work. Doing this can be dangerous and extremely harmful. It’s also equally as important not to overload yourself with lots of exercises and to ensure that you have a variety of exercises within your program.
There are so many exercises to choose from, that it is essential to choose the right ones. Reading this article will provide you with some essential hints and tips for you to be able to prepare a solid all-around strength workout from home.
But first, you need to understand that runners all need a gym program that differs from your average gym lover, tailored to meet specific running needs. Instead of pushing weights away from your body (bench press, bicep curls), focus on the muscles that keep them balanced and moving forward. We are not saying to rule out free weights altogether, but if you are someone who hasn’t done any strength and conditioning before, or who is someone who struggles to fit these sessions around your busy life, then focus on these simple strength exercises that will provide significant benefits.
There’s no need to go to the gym or to spend money on expensive equipment. All’s you need is a rug or matt that will protect you from hard surfaces, and some music if you fancy listening to something in the background. So, you can pretty much do this work-out in any room in the home.
Fitting these 5 essential strengthen exercise into your routine twice a week will take just 15 minutes. So, there are no excuses for time! And afterwards, you will undoubtedly notice the effects over time.
1. The Plank
An excellent workout for the core, lower back and shoulders. Prop yourself up on your elbows with shoulders directly over elbows and feet slightly apart. Draw your shoulders down and back—not hunched. Engage abdominal muscles tight to keep hips in line with shoulders, so your body forms a long, straight line. Squeeze legs together and glutes for support. Hold this position for 45 seconds to one minute. Gradually add time as your core gets stronger. Repeat for 3 to 5 reps
2. Quadruped Trunk Rotation and Crunch / Superman
Start on all fours. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your knees directly underneath your hips. Bend your elbows slightly, spread the fingers wide and activate through the palms of the hands by pressing into the ground. Make sure your core is activated, eliminating any arch in the back. Be sure that your upper back is awake and ready. Your shoulders blades should not be squeezing together. Finally, pull those shoulders down and away from the ears. Extend your left arm forward and your right leg back, lengthening between the heel of your right foot to the tip of your left fingertips. Keep your foot flexed throughout the movement. Hold the position for about 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat this process 5 times on both the left and right side.
3. Russian Twists
A rotational obliques workout that keeps you steady during movement. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet slightly off the ground (yogis will know this as boat pose). Twist your torso all the way to one side, then all the way to the other. For more intensity, lean back further or hold a small weight in your hands. Attempt for 30 seconds and progress to a minute if possible.
4. Glute Bridges
Are excellent for working the lower back and top of the glutes. Lying on your back, bring your feet in toward your butt, then raise your hips up towards the ceiling. Make sure there’s a straight line from your shoulder blades to your kneesDurner. Beginners should work simply on holding this position for 30 seconds to one minute. More advanced athletes can do reps of lifting and lowering motion, then work on holding the bridge for longer periods of time. When that gets easy, lift one leg.
5. Hamstring Curl
Activates the deepest stabilising muscles in your glutes and core, while raising your body off the ground for a more taxing workout. Lie, on your back, face up on the floor with your ankles and heels on a stability ball, then raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your heels (a). Pull your heels toward you to roll the ball as close as possible to your butt (b). Pause, then reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep; do 10 and progress to 15 and 20.