If you have been reading my blog for a while then you know I am prone to injuries. Apparently my body does not enjoy me pounding the pavement. It better suck it up! Anyway, this week’s post is to highlight the top strengthening exercises (my opinion and thorough internet research) you should being doing a few times a week to help strengthen the muscles you use for running. You don’t have to be a runner to do these exercises! Strong muscles are happy muscles! 🙂
If you don’t have time for anything else, try to do these exercises to stay healthy and prevent injury.
1) PLANKS!!- Front planks (is that what they’re called?), side planks, etc. I try to hole the regular planks (either in push up position or on forearms for at least 1 minute) and side planks for about 30 seconds or more on each side. This helps strengthen your core which is your stabilizing muscle when you run! Plank challenges are like chain mail, I see them everywhere and everyone is participating. If you practice planks daily, you go girl! (or boy)
2) Squats- Squats are a great exercise because they mimic a functional movement you do every day. Squating down to pick something up, for example. Adding weight (by putting a barbell on your back or holding dumbbells) can help increase the strength in your quads and glutes. Strong legs are absolutely necessary for runners, don’t ya think? Try 2-3 sets of 10 a couple of days a week.
3) Push ups- Not only do push ups helps with upper body strength (i.e. chest) but also helps strengthen your core. 3 sets of 10 a couple of days a week should be sufficient.
4) Single-leg deadlifts- I think hamstrings are probably one of the most neglected muscles to strengthen and deadlifts are the BEST (again, my opinion) exercise to strengthen them. Any kind of deadlift (i.e. sumo deadlift, standard deadlift) works but single-leg deadlifts are killer! You can use dumbbells or kettlebells (shown in the picture below). I try to do 2-3 sets of 10 on each leg.
5) Box Jumps- I absolutely love box jumps. I wish they were part of every WOD I do at CrossFit. What I learned about box jumps was that not only do they increase quad and core strength but they also help with the recurring obstacles runners face all the time. What am I talking about? How about jumping curbs or potholes on the run? Box jumps are a plyometric exercise that build explosive speed and the ability to absorb force. Isn’t that what our legs have to do during every run?
To check out all of my past Top 5 Tuesday posts, click the link here: Top 5 Tuesday