As a runner you probably put the miles in each week but why should you also build up your strength? Basically it will help to prevent injury, may also improve your efficiency as a runner and also improve your running economy.
For runners it is important to focus on single leg exercises. This is because as a runner you only have one foot on the ground at any given time. So single leg exercises best reflect what you will be doing when running. But also it will help you to build two equally strong legs. The truth is that when you exercise on two legs the stronger leg will do more of the work. When you are starting single leg exercises try to start with your weaker leg. Exercises to focus on include:
Holding a kettlebell in one hand, stand on the leg on the same side and bend at the hip extending your free leg behind you
Lift one foot off the floor, put your arms in front of you. Lower yourself into a squat so that your lifted leg is straight out in front of you.
This is an exercise machine exercise. Plant one foot on the platform and fully extend the knee then return to the starting position
These exercises help to build strength in the hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes. All critical muscle groups for runners. The hips in particular are very important when running as they will help to create a consistent cadence. Exercises here include:
With feet shoulder width apart bend at the hip, so you grip the bar at shoulder width. Lower your hips and flex the knees until your shins contact the bar. Keeping your chest up move the weight upwards, as you pass the knees pull the bar back and then lower the bar.
Hold the barbell just below shoulder height, your feet should be shoulder width apart, descend into the squat then drive back up through your heels.
Supporting the barbell on the top of the traps, keep your back straight and head up descend then drive the weight back upwards.
You may also think of plyometric as jump training. Essentially plyometric is all about jumping and or hopping but crucial to it is the understanding that a concentric muscle contraction (take off phase) is much stronger if it immediately follows an eccentric contraction (landing phase) of the same muscle. Plyometric exercises are all about explosive actions and they are really good at building power. Why is that important in running? Well because it will make you a more efficient runner particularly building efficient strides. Exercises that can be good for runners include:
Most people are used to seeing the barbell but there are many different types of weight lifting bars and it’s important to use the right bar for what you want to achieve. Here we will try to explain the different bars and their uses.
Standard barbells are typically used in home gyms and are usually between 5' and 6' long and about 1 inch thick the entire length of the bar. The weight of the bar itself will vary according to the model but can vary between 5kg and 10kg. The bar is dead straight, with a 'collar' each end that prevents the weights from sliding along the bar. Barbells are usually 30mm in diameter - do not confuse with the Olympic 2".
Most of these bars are made from steel but again the quality will vary according to the model. You may hear the reference ‘whip’ which refers to the bend and rebound that you can experience. You will
Should you use weights and if so what weights? Should you squat on a machine and if so which one? Also, what’s the best form? Here we explore all you need to know about squatting.
Squatting is hugely important to us as humans. Why? The main reasons are that it is "functional". We need to be able to squat to lift anything heavy from children to shopping to changing a tyre. It builds muscles all over our body. It clearly focuses on the lower body muscle groups but squatting triggers anabolic stimulation which helps trigger muscle development throughout the body. Squatting also develops connective tissues in our knees and hips. This means that all our tendons and ligaments grow thicker and are less likely to tear when stressed. Squatting keeps your flexible, can help you burn fat and finally can give you a great shaped but!
Squatting in itself is quite a basic move but the devil is in the detail as to where you should position your toes, how far apart your feet should be and how much weight you should use. But let’s start with the feet.
You may have been told different things over the years regarding the position of your feet. Do you have your toes facing forward in line with your hips, or facing out? Experts now seem to agree that the answer lies in your body and what it is you are trying to achieve. In terms of your body then if your hips naturally rotate out you may find it more comfortable to have your toes pointed slightly out.
In terms of benefit if your toes are slightly pointed outwards then you can achieve a deeper squat but if your toes point forwards then you can generate more power into the squat. Overall it appears to rest upon how you feel comfortable and what you do with your toes when you walk. In summary there is no right or wrong here, it’s all to do with what your feet and hips naturally do and what kind of squat you are trying to achieve.
There are really three basic positions of width, medium, wide and narrow, and all play a role. Let’s start with the medium position.
This is where you squat with hi
Before you start working on your strength a good starting point is to define what it is you are trying to achieve, short and long term. This will help to design
This is a question we, and most personal trainers, frequently get asked. Which is better for you, using a cable machine or using free weights? Both are useful in helping to create muscle strength and definition, but in different ways.
If you know what you are doing in the gym and have had experience with both, you can in fact opt to use both as they are complementary. In fact as you get more expeirenced, you can use them in synergy with each other as they can work the muscles slightly differently. Here we reflect on the pros and cons of both types of weights.
You will probably be familiar with cable machines that are found in most gyms. They are typically a steel framed structure standing two meters high and three metres wide with weight stacks located on both sides and adjustable pulleys that you can set to any height. Cables run through the pulley and connect to the weight stacks. So you may hear them referred to as the "Cable Crossover"; the "DAP"; or the "Dual Adjustable Pulley".
Cable machines are great if you are working out alone or if you are new to weight training. This is because they help you work your muscles in a very controlled way. They effectively help you with your form and technique as the machine requires you to move in a certain way. This helps prevent
What is negative or eccentric movement? Negative movement is essentially the downward movement during lifting of weights where you lower the weight towards the
Physical Company have joined forces with Future Fit to offer bespoke training to fitness professionals on a range of gym equipment. What this means is that if you are a fitness trainer and you are upgrading your skills with Physical Company training equipment you can then sign up to training workshops supplied by Future Fit.
To date Physical Company has offered
The Bear Grylls survival race which kicks off in August in Cambridge has officially teamed up with Jordan’s Fitness. Who is Bear Grylls? To many Bear Grylls is the face of survival and outdoor adventure. He was a soldier in the SAS where he perfected many of the skills that he teaches today.
Bear Grylls aim has been to encourage as many people to develop their physical and mental strength by taking part in a series of challenges. The survival race will enter its second year and includes 4 events in Cambridge, Manchester, Edinburgh and London.
The Cambridge event will include jungle,
Should you love a lunge? Single leg or alternate? Popular the world over with personal trainers and fitness instructors, you will see lunges performed everywhere.
Anytime Leisure Rebrands to Origin Fitness, Anytime Leisure, the Scottish based fitness equipment supplier has rebranded and will now be known as Origin