Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Strength training for runners

As a runner, majority of the time we just run, we don't add too many other cross training activities in because of the time commitment it can take. If you are training for any distance race whether it is your first 5km or a marathon, you MUST strengthen your hips and legs in order to prevent injury during training. As your distances and frequency of training increase, so do the chances of injury.
There are MANY exercises that you can do at home with minimal equipment or time commitment that will strengthen and enhance your training and allow you to be at your best when you do your race.
Here are a few exercises that can be done at home to work on starting to strengthen your key "running" muscles;

1) Wall sit- lean you back again a wall and bring your feet out from the wall so that when you slide down the wall till your thighs are parallel with the floor, your knees are directly over your feet. You do not want your feet too close into the wall so your knees push forward past them. Hold the position for 30-60sec. if you feel any sort of ache or pain in the knees, squeezing a volleyball size ball between your knees will trigger the VMO muscles on the inside of the knee and most of the time it takes away most pain.

2) Clamshells- Lying on your side, keep knees bent and feet together (see pic). Keep hips stationary then open up knees and repeat. 15x
3) Hip Lifts- Place heels and lower calves on a stability ball then lift hips off floor squeezing your glutes (not just the hamstrings), hold for 3-5sec then lower till you skim the floor then repeat. Repeat 12-15

There are more leg strengthening and hip exercises as well but start with these, repeat them all 2-3x and do it 3x week minimum. This is a 15min commitment to your body that will help your running SO much and prevent injury as well.
Make sure you stretch afterwards focusing on the quads, hamstrings, hips and inner thighs, hip flexors. Stretching is another way you will prevent injury during training.


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