Whether you are a new runner or a veteran, strength and conditioning training should be an important part of your routine. Especially for new runners, it will help you strengthen key areas so your body can cope with the demands of the sport.
It is important, however, that you tailor your workout to running, as certain strength and mobility movements are far more effective than others in helping you run. If you’re unsure of what to do, start with these six exercises from Dr. Martin Yelling, a Garmin running ambassador who can help you run faster, longer and reduce the risk of injury
The exercises were selected from a series of workouts in the Garmin Connect app that you can do on your wrist if you have a compatible Garmin tracker. Or just download the app, register for free and follow the instructions.
“Burpees are a great strength and conditioning activity for working out the large muscles in your legs – your glutes and hamstrings – as well as your core and chest,” says Yelling.
“Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands by your sides. Quickly lower your hips and place your hands in front of your feet. Then, kick your feet back into a push-up position. Do a push-up, then jump your feet back under your hips. Then jump up and touch your hands behind your head. Repeat at a steady pace, starting with a low intensity to focus on technique and control. “
“The plank is a simple exercise that focuses on stability and strength for your abs and glutes,” says Yelling. “Lie on the floor with your elbows straight under your shoulders and legs, and lift your upper body. Make sure your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Holding this position, contract your stomach and squeeze your glutes together. To maximize stability, press your elbows into the ground. “
“Locust farming focuses on flexibility, mobility, breathing, and strength,” says Yelling. “Lie down on a mat with your big toes covered. Fold your hands behind your sacrum [just above your tailbone] and with one big breath lift your chest and feet off the ground. Hold three full breaths.
“Many runners are primarily chest breathers, using the top of their lungs and secondary breathing muscles. This exercise allows runners to shift their breathing while focusing on the smooth relationship between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor. Not only does this exercise focus on breathing to reduce stress, but it also improves core stability and coordination and relieves excessive muscle tension. “
Downward facing dog
“Yoga allows you to focus on critical stability and improve your ability to absorb and dissipate ground-impact forces and avoid problems in your knees, lower back, and IT ligaments,” says Yelling.
“The downward facing dog focuses on your shoulders, arms, legs, and back. Start on all fours with your toes pinched. Lift your hips and press your sit bones towards the ceiling. Try to gently move your heels towards the floor while dropping your head so that your neck is straight. Try to hold this position for at least three breaths.
“This will help maintain good posture control and can also help improve running form and biomechanical balance.”
External rotation leg raises
“This is a good form of strength training for your glutes, as well as for improving mobility and conditioning your stability muscles and adductors,” says Yelling. “It’s great for injury prevention and helps you keep your shape when you’re tired.
“Lie on your side with your hip bones aligned and your legs stacked. Lean your legs forward a little so that they are slightly in front of your torso. Rotate your top leg outward and bring your heels and toes together. Raise your upper leg to hip height, squeeze your leg, and then lower it down to touch your lower heel. Repeat on both sides. “
“A strong core is an important part of a runner’s defense against injury and fatigue,” says Yelling. “Hundreds are great strength and conditioning training for your core and abdominal muscles and help you focus your breathing.
“Lie on your back with your pelvis in a neutral position, knees bent and arms by your sides. Raise your legs one at a time to a table position with your knees bent. Roll your head and shoulders off the mat, straighten your legs, and keep your heels together. Pump your arms and inhale five times, then exhale five times. You repeat this ten times – hence the name ‘the hundred’. “