Last week my friend invited me to go with her to a strength clinic for runners. I figured what the heck even though I wasn’t expecting to learn too much. I was wrong!
We first helped each other asses our muscle weakness’s – most of which were dead on for me. I was aware that most of these muscles were weak and/or tight so I was pleased to have that re-confirmed even though I continue to not really do much about it?!?! Afterwards we did three circuits of various different exercises. All of these were done without the use of machines, which I liked since I am no longer a member of a gym.
I found the hardest part to be the part I thought I would be best at. CORE.
Abs are one of the very few exercises I continue to do religiously and by religiously I mean once a week. Core exercises are so important to runners because the core region is the is the starting point for all movement. During running it endures a large workload. Core muscles not only include the four abdominal groups but also the three lower back groups as well as the muscles of the butt, hips and pelvis. For a runner the core is a huge stabilizer – being able to maintain proper form even when fatigued is critical to running your performance potential!
Here are the ab exercises we did at the clinic:
Plank – this was comparatively easy as I usually do these
Swiss Ball Crunch – hard – I didn’t have a Swiss ball so I’m not used to these – I went and bought one the next day
Bosu Leg Reach – loved this one – need to go get a Bosu Ball ASAP
Jack Knife – Impossible – literally impossible for me. I’m not one to give up easily and I gave up on this one – maybe once my abs are stronger I’ll revisit this one
Side to side holding a medicine ball – this is my favorite ab exercise and I do it weekly – it was nice to have a familiar one in the group
Reverse Fly – not only does this help your abs because it is done on a Swiss ball but it really helps your chest and back muscles as well. As I have gotten older my shoulders have begun to ’round’ – this is caused by a tight chest and weak upper back muscles. In my case it’s from years of not standing up straight and hunching my chest in that has caused this. Reverse flys help strengthen your upper back and rear shoulders, helping to correct the imbalance.
Ab Crunch with Legs to Side – I’ve done this before and never really thought it worked. Well here is where a trainer comes in – I’ve been doing them wrong. After learning the correct way and doing 10 on each side I finally felt them and think I should probably start doing these again.
We didn’t do this one but I’ll throw it in since it’s one of my favorites – I call it the Britney. I once saw in some MTV special where Britney was doing abs(this was like 7 years ago mind you). I figured if I wanted abs like Britney then I better do what she does – ha. Anyways I hold two 7 lb weights, one in each hand and bend side to side while standing. I don’t move my body but use my abs to help pull me each way. I completely think it works and love it because it’s a great exercise than even beginners can do.
I kid you not that the next three days after this clinic I woke up sore. I’m used to being sore so when I actually voice the fact that I’m sore – I’m VERY sorry. All in all I’m so happy I went and really did learn some great exercises that will hopefully help me become a faster runner. I also realized that I really need to start doing abs more than once a week if I want to have a strong core!