Posts Tagged ‘ cross training ’

Top Ten Strength Training Exercises for Runners

KettleBellSquatWinter is a great time to focus on the weight room, building strong muscles that will keep you from injury and help you to become a more dynamic runner.

While I’m a big proponent of pilates for strengthening muscles, especially core muscles, I also like to incorporate weights into my strength training workouts. There are many exercises that are effective in building a stronger you, but below are my:

TOP TEN STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES FOR RUNNERS

Goblet Squat

1001-goblet-squat-483x300

 

 

 

Push-ups

Push-ups

 

 

 

 

Walking Lunge

walking-lunge

 

 

 

 

 

Single-Leg Squats

single-leg-squat

 

 

 

 

Single-Leg Deadlifts

single-leg-deadlift

 

 

 

 

Bulgarian Split-Squat

split-squat

 

 

 

 

 

Russian Twist

russian twist with medicine ball

 

 

 

Pull-ups

pull-ups

 

 

 

 

 

Back Extensions

backextension

 

 

 

 

Step-Ups

Dumbbell-StepUp

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I said, there are many more exercises that are wonderful and also effective for runners, but these are a great place to start. These focus on the entire body, but specifically legs and core. There are many different camps in regards to how often, how many reps, and how much weight one should lift, but I would recommend to start with 3 sets x 10 reps of enough weight that you can keep good form for each exercise while still taxing your muscles. If you can do all the reps with ease, you need to increase the weight. (Sidenote: Just last week I was doing the same exercise as a man twice my size but with a heavier weight!)

Happy running! 🙂

Overcoming Injury

woman-leg-injury-mdnThere’s nothing more frustrating to me than a persistent injury. I know some people who can run miles and miles without a single injury. Sadly, I’m not one of those people. My injuries have ranged from mild to painful, a strained ankle tendon to a persistent IT injury. Recovery has taken anywhere from a few days (ankle) to months (IT band). My problem is not knowing what kind of treatment to do when. Do I use RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate)? Or physical therapy? How long should I stop running? Do I have to stop running or can I run through the injury? Will that keep me from a full recovery?

I normally approach each injury head on, trying to do as much as can, pushing my limits, to try and figure out how serious my injury is. Obviously I wouldn’t do this for some super severe like a bad sprain or broken bone (neither of which I’ve had and hope never to deal with), but for the various strains and aggravations I’ve had that method is the best way I’ve found to deal with my injuries thus far.

And I’ve found that different injuries respond in different ways and recommendations I get from running experts or online running resources aren’t always the best fit for my body. For example, my IT band was injured because I did too much too fast and to get to a full recovery I had to stop running completely. Instead I focused on cross-training and found a roller. I began rolling out my IT band every day, along with my other muscles, and that was what got me to a full recovery.

Most recently I pulled my hip flexor. It’s been incredibly frustrating because I can’t run without pain and even walking has been hurting. I’ve tried different things and have found that the best exercises that work so far are strength training for the glutes and low abs (for some reason my hip flexor always feels better after I do those strengthening exercises) and using the Precor machine because it doesn’t have the same impact as running does. I would like to add water running to my recovery list as I feel like the Precor mimics that movement.

I’ll continue to work towards healing so I can run at full capacity again and try not to get frustrated at the time it takes. My ultimate goal is to run for my lifetime and if I have to stop running while I fully heal then that’s what I have to do!

Happy running! 🙂

Winter Cross-Training

pilates benefits women  I’ll admit it, sometimes it’s just too dark and chilly out to go for a run. And although I still get my butt into gear to run regularly, I also work in more cross-training in the winter. I hardly ever feel like going to the gym during warmer days, so the winter months make an ideal time to build up other areas that will complement and improve my running.

Pilates – I love pilates. It is one of the best ways I’ve found to strengthen my body, keep me healthy, and make me a better runner. I take a weekly class at my gym that’s an hour long and kicks my butt every time. The key is to find a teacher that you are compatible with and that can push you in areas you can’t push yourself. I found a teacher who totally rocks and mixes up each class with challenging moves and isn’t afraid to add pilates props like exercise balls, rings, or bands to increase the difficulty of the moves. Also, pilates really focuses on your core which is essential for healthy running and staying injury free.

Strength Training – This is another great way for runners to build up muscles that assist in becoming stronger and staying injury free. Also, it’s really fun for me to see the looks of the guy dominated free weight area as I bench press next to them. 🙂 While there are a million things I could write about when it comes to strength training, there are two primary points to keep in mind: 1. Women who lift weights will not get huge, man-like muscles (unless they are purposefully working toward a competition or using *ahem* supplements) and 2. Please consult someone, like a trainer, who knows proper form before beginning any sort of strength training routine as bad form can lead to injury and won’t be as effective.

Yoga – Great for flexibility, yoga pairs nicely with pilates in improving your health as a runner. Once again the integral aspect is to find an instructor that can challenge you while providing good modifications to poses so you don’t over-extend your body into injury. There are several types of yoga too, so find the one that fits you best.

Spinning & Swimming – I combined these last two as cross-training areas in which I’d like to improve. I love to bike in warmer weather, but tend to set it aside during the colder months. Same with swimming. Both, however, are great ways a runner can keep fit cardiovascularly and easy to do if you belong to a gym. And if you want to make an investment, buy a bike trainer that you can hook your road bike up to and use inside your house – great cross-training without ever leaving the comfort of your home!

Happy Running! 😀