As a competitive runner and personal trainer, I am always on the hunt for new and innovative ways to improve athletic performance.
However, I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes basic is best.
When building a house from the ground-up, the first step would be constructing the structural foundation, and not picking out the décor. The same concept applies to our bodies.
By focusing on our foundation, we prevent injury, prepare our bodies for high performance, and set ourselves up to meet (and exceed) fitness goals.
Today, I am going over three of my personal favourite exercises to boost your running performance.
A muscular warm-up that activates our strongest and largest muscle.
2 Sets of 15 Repetitions
- • Lie with your back on a mat, knees bent with feet directly in line with your hips.
- • Bring your spine in full contact with the mat (if you have a low back arch you will feel your chest and ribs sink).
- • Ensure your shoulder blades are touching the mat, with your chin slightly tucked to maintain a neutral spine, then draw your belly button towards your spine and engage your ‘stop-pee-midstream’ (deep pelvic) muscles.
- • With your pelvic muscles engaged, raise your glutes and squeeze, lifting your pelvis towards the ceiling.
- • Hold at the top and slowly lower back to the mat.
- • Reset your alignment and continue.
- • Note: SLOW AND CONTROLLED is key when performing this exercise.
- • Option 1: Add a yoga block at vertical or horizontal length between your knees to activate a stronger core engagement.
- • Option 2: Single leg – lift one leg (with foot flexed) while performing the glute bridge with the planted foot. Ensure you maintain your form! Your lifted leg should remain parallel with the thigh of your planted foot throughout the exercise.
A core activator and heart rate booster that ramps up your metabolism!
2 Sets of 15 Repetitions Each Leg
- • Perform this on an incline using a bench, chair or box.
- • Start in a straight-armed plank position with your glutes engaged, core activated, and chin slightly tucked to ensure a natural spine.
- • With control, draw one knee towards your chin.
- • Pause, then return your knee to the starting position. Continue with the other knee.
- • Option 1: Eliminate the incline and perform the exercise on flat ground.
- • Option 2: Perform the exercise on a BOSU ball, soft side down
- • Option 3: Using the tempo “1-2-freeze”:
- Draw the right knee in and back at a faster speed
- Draw the left knee In and back at a faster speed
- On the third knee drive, freeze and stabilize without wobbling.
Single Leg, Single Arm Cable Row
Yes, runners need upper body strength! It’s necessary for maintaining a strong upright posture once fatigue sets in during longer runs and races. This resistance training exercise promotes stability and upper body strength.
2 Sets of 15 Repetitions Each Arm
- • Perform this exercise using a cable machine (with the handle attached!) or a resistance band, with the handle a set at chest height (pictured)
- • The resistance/weight depends on the individual. You want tension, but not so much that you are unable to maintain proper form, technique or balance.
- • Standing on one leg with the knee slightly bent, hold the cable handle in the opposite hand. Ensure your hips and shoulders are square to the cable machine/resistance band.
- • Squeeze your glutes, contract your core and slowly ‘row’/pull the handle towards your chest. Focus on drawing your elbow back behind you and squeezing your shoulder blade.
- • Perform while standing on a yoga block or BOSU for an added challenge.
- • Before beginning the row/pull, drop down into a reverse lunge. Then, return to a standing position, stabilize and maintain posture, and row.