Showing posts with label crosstraining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crosstraining. Show all posts

Friday, January 2, 2015

5 Strength Exercises for Runners

Keeping my focus on resolutions that go beyond the one-and-done kind of thing is not easy. This year I'm determined to reach the goals I set for myself that require a long term commitment.

For the past two weeks I have been working on re-building my overall leg strength following the meniscectomy. One thing I have realized is that as a runner, I probably should have taken more time to do these exercises while I was healthy too (see goals here).

Logging long runs obviously causes muscles to fatigue. A problem that I faced last year was when my torn meniscus caused some instability, my muscles started compensating. The over-compensation led to some muscle groups sort of "going to sleep" while others picked up the slack.

Through PT I'm learning to re-activate and wake up those muscles. Here are 5 exercises that runners can do even when healthy to make sure the glutes, hamstrings, and quads are working like they should be.

Wall Squats - This exercise is more for beginners to perfect form or for those rehabbing. The key is to make sure you are engaging those glutes by taking a pause in the squat to squeeze the glutes and then push up through the heels.

Bridge - Looks simple, but the key is to contract the abs and the glutes while maintaining a straight lift. Most of us lift too high which makes this exercise ineffective. Some recommend planting only heels on the ground to ensure you're driving up correctly.

Reverse Lunge - Using sliders (or paper plates) help to make sure you activate glutes and quads while working on stability as you push up through the heel. Place hand on a wall if needed.

Side Lunge - Just sit into it! Be sure to bend at the waist to engage the glutes and push through the heel on the way up.

Balance - Good balance is vital for runners considering we spend most of our miles on one leg. Balancing on a pillow/cushion ups the difficulty, but then try closing your eyes or having someone tap your hips from behind/sides.

What are your go-to strength exercises?
Can you balance on one leg with your eyes closed?

Happy Friday! 
I'm linking up with the Friday Five co-hosts  

This post is also part of the Fitness Friday link up hosted by Jill.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Workout Wednesday: barre3 Online

This summer I really enjoyed taking morning fitness classes, especially Booty Barre. Knowing that getting to classes would be challenging once school started, I signed up for a free 15-day trial of barre 3 Online after reading about it on the Athleta blog.

This offer is still good through Sept. 9, 2014 - code barre3Athleta

I liked the barre3 Online video workouts so much that I decided to buy a subscription. 

What works for me is that I can do the workouts anytime, anywhere. I don't have spend time rushing to get to a studio during the week. And, I can pick a video length based on how much time I have or what area I want to focus on.

I've been using the 10 minute videos to complement my half marathon training. These workouts target my large muscles but are easy on the joints.

And just like barre classes, some of the videos make you use props such as hand weights or the little blue ball. I received this one with my subscription.

Do you like online/video workouts?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Workout Wednesday: 4 Minute Workouts

I keep hearing that Tabata is an efficient way to workout. The combination of vigorous exercise and rest periods can pack more benefits than an hour long treadmill run when done three times a week. Tabata workouts are packed with benefits…

So, since I don't plan to give up running anytime soon, Tabata is a great cross-training option that can help me get stronger and (maybe) faster!

My go-to ab workout uses the Tabata technique (see it here), but I've been looking for some new ones to mix things up and keep me challenged. Here's a one I found from Running Hutch:

20 seconds/10 seconds rest x 3 sets

Forearm Plank
Russian Twists
Mountain Climbers

If you are looking for Tabata workouts, I created a Pinterest board you can check out!

Follow Amy's board Tabata Workouts on Pinterest.

Do you use Tabata as part of your training?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Training Truths: Out with Old and in with the Cold

Starting over is hard. It's hard not to think about what I used to be able to do before I went and got injured. Last week I realized that comparing myself to other HEALTHY runners was only making me unhappy. So instead I tried to embrace the season and be thankful for what I can do and remind myself that I am re-training my body the right way.

So, I worked to push out the thoughts of "the old days" and was rewarded by the arrival of colder weather. My body runs better in the colder temperatures, so I am thankful to have cold day runs as I focus on slowly rebuilding my mileage base.

Monday: Started another week of the #squatstreak with some squat kicks added in from the #sweataday challenge. I'm also doing one minute wall sits on my non-running days to strengthen my quads.

Tuesday: Colder temps arrived just in time for this two mile run. This was my second run trying to focus on starting slow and getting a good one mile warm up before picking up the pace and hopefully hitting an average pace of 9:30. (10:12, 9:16 = 9:43)

Wednesday: Another round of Active Relase Therapy with the PT. He's still focusing on some adductors and now my ITB. Came home to some new toys from mrC. I told you he was the greatest!

Thursday: Another cold two mile run, and more work on my pacing (9:59, 8:54 = 9:26). Maybe a little too fast coming back. I don't think I could hold that pace for long.

Friday: Long. day. Didn't get home until after 7PM. Took the night off except for my #squatstreak.

Saturday: My visit to the booty barre left me longing for another full body workout, so I reserved a board and went urban surfing. This class had tons of ab work and planks. My arms and abs were so tired afterwards. I also burned 471 calories according to my Polar FT40

Sunday: After waking to a surprise first snowfall, mrC. suggested we head to the Manchester Trail for our run. It was a seriously cold and windy 4 miles, but my legs were super toasty in my Athleta Polartec tights. I'm happy with my average pace, but I still need to work on starting slower (9:25, 9:36, 9:45, 9:32 = 9:35).

If you could get rid of something "old", what would it be and why?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fitness Friday: Booty Barre Recap

If I was thinking that Becki, owner and instructor of Strength in Balance NH, was going to go easy on us at the Booty Barre Blog & Tweet event, I was proved WRONG! But I'm totally ok with that!

The Strength in Balance NH Barre Fitness Studio is located at Z Club in the old mill buildings on Factory Street in Nashua and is the first barre fitness studio in southern NH. This total body workout is a mix of dance, yoga, Pilates and balance.

Becki got us warmed up quickly with some arm and leg strength work in the middle of the room. Using two pound hand weights seems like nothing at first, but by the end warm up I had to put them down and go through the motions without them.

After the "warm up", Becki moved us over to the barre for the bar/ballet part of the class. She would show us the exercise in small parts first and then put it all together. The balanced moves made my legs literally shake!

These barre workouts would be interrupted briefly for some open floor cardio like burpees and mountain climbers to get the heart pumping before heading back to the barre.

Janine, Allie, Amber and Candra

Just when I thought I was mastering the barre moves, we busted out the blue sponge balls. Yikes! The goal was to squeeze it between our legs while doing squats and behind our knee while doing leg lifts.

Lastly, we moved to the mats for some core work similar to Pilates moves but using the barre. I liked these exercises better than regular Pilates class moves because it felt easier to control what my core was doing.

Class ended with a good dose of stretching which felt so amazing after the complete burn I had just put my body through. Despite feeling spent, I was all smiles!

I wish I lived closer to Nashua because I would make Booty Barre class one of my regular cross training workouts. I loved the high energy, loud music, open and roomy studio. Becki was awesome about walking around, checking our forms, and correcting when necessary. It was a fun and challenging class, which it makes it totally worth the time.

Strength in Balance NH offers a wide variety of classes designed for all levels, so there's no excuse not to try it.

Have you tried barre? What do you think?

Special thanks to Becki for hosting us all for the Blog & Tweet event. We attended the class free of charge, but all opinions are 100% my own.