Runners: The Mistake You're Making That Could Cost You Future PRs Part III
Alright, so now to bring this trilogy of PE prose to a close. In the first post, we got to know Jenn Hellickson from Kinetic Fix in Portland. In Part II, she gave you an incredibly solid approach to how you can build running fitness in the smartest way possible given the current state of "the world turned upside down."
Now, its time for yours truly to bring you an incredibly effective approach to running better by building total body core strength. The good news, its a very simple approach. Please note, I said simple, not easy. Enjoy.
The Key To Building Strength For Runners: Get OFF The Floor To Work Your Core
If we keep in mind running takes place upright on one leg at a time, and the S.A.I.D. (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands) Principle rules the roost when it comes to creating workouts that work, then for runners, you've got to be pushing, pulling, squatting and hinging on one leg or using a split stance position.
Since the less an exercise looks like the movement you want to improve, the further away from making that improvement you'll get, specificity of training is your PR BFF. Fitness industry pioneer Paul Chek said this a long time ago, and it still holds true now.
So, get off the floor to work your core. Floor based "strength" work for runners is a COMPLETE. WASTE. OF. TIME.
Mostly because, again, to intentionally belabor the point, you run standing up.
Here are four fundamental exercises you can do that will help your running. Mostly because they address the major focus of what you need to run your best: single leg stability and dialed in diagonal loading patterns.
1) Single Leg Suspension Squat Planks
You spend all of your time on one leg when you run. If you didn't, you wouldn't be running, you'd be hopping and I'm guessing that's a no no in competitive events. I've only raced my mountain bike, but I'm going to confidently guess this is a thing.
When you master stability on one leg, you drive more power from the hips going uphill, and you'll have more mastery and control on the way down. This is one of the more "enjoyable" lower body exercises you can do to run better!
2) Split Stance Alternate Arm Exercise Band Press
If you want to improve the way you run putting force into your running muscles without the accompanying stress into your joints, this exercise will do it. It fires up the muscles in the exact pattern they activate when you run.
It will help you lock down your core and help it resist rotational force while your glutes put power into extending your hips. Essentially, the same thing that happens when you run.
3) Split Stance Single Arm Exercise Band Pull
I LOVE this exercise. Nothing reconnects my body diagonally better than doing this.
You'd be hard pressed to reconnect your diagonal loading patterns better than with this exercise.
4) Half Kneeling Exercise Band Paloff Press
If you want to stretch your quads and hip flexors while strengthening your glutes and the trunk muscles directly responsible for keeping your back happy, you'd be hard pressed to find a better way to do it than with this exericse.
You'll anchor your glutes to your core in an incredibly effective way and improve the way your body can resist rotational/side-to-side forces. Or the most common plane of motion where a "low back occurence" happens.
To help you get some normal from an exercise perspective, now is the time to work on simple. Fill in movement gaps that will help you stand on a single leg much better to help you get stronger to run longer. When we hit the AC (After Corona) portion of the program for 2020, you're going to be better off.
Why? Because if you follow the advice you're getting in this post, your body will be much better prepared to get back to your normal (there's that word again!) training routine: engaging in a repetitive stress single plane of motion activity done after most likely sitting all day. And really, what can go wrong in that scenario? ;-)
If you want more running specific core strength information, drop me a line and we can set up a socially distant video call to see how I can help!