Category Archives: Workouts

Move It Monday: 5 Exercises For Runners

Happy Move It Monday friends!!

Today I’m addressing something I get asked about all the time. What are good strength training exercises for runners?

Well today I am going to give you five. This is not intended to be a full workout, but rather exercises you should add to your already existing strength workout (cause you have one, right??). At least once a week!

These should all be good to do at home too in case you don’t have access to a gym. You may need a few props like dumbbells, a mat, a chair or a bench.

Boat Pose


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This is an isometric ab exercise. Meaning there are no reps, just static contraction of the muscle.

Same exact purpose as the more popular plank exercise. But I like giving this one to beginners because the form isn’t as hard to nail. Most people I know do plank wrong because they don’t have the core strength to do it correctly yet.

The above example is actually the advanced version of boat pose. Start in sitting, roll back on to your sit bones, straighten your legs as high as you can get them. Keep your hands to the sides and off your legs. Don’t use them for support. Your spine is always straight and your shoulders are always down and away from your ears.

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If the straight leg version is too difficult, then hold your knees at 90 degrees and try crossing your ankles. Remember this is an ab exercise, so contract those abs to steady yourself! The act of running is always asking you to contract your abs to keep you upright and steady. Having a strong core will make you a stronger runner.

Stiff Leg Deadlift


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This one is mostly for your hamstrings. Your hamstrings don’t get any stretch while running, that’s why runner’s have such tight hamstrings all the time. Because of this, you’re not strengthening your hamstrings as much as your quads while you run. This muscular imbalance in your thighs can lead to a whole slew of problems including runner’s knee.

For this exercise, it’s important to keep your back straight and shoulders back. People have a tendency to let their shoulders drop towards the floor on the down motion. Don’t do that. You can see the fitness model keeps her scapula retracted the whole time.

Start with light weights, but increase as needed to make 15 reps feel difficult. Keep a slight bend to the knees and look at the floor on your way down. This also works this glutes and hip. Remember to contract those hamstrings to pull yourself up and to keep pressure off the lower back.

Single Leg Squat

Did you know the gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in the body? Did you know that because we sit on our arses all day its weakness can lead to back and leg problems? For runners, particularly iliotibial band syndrome.

Single leg squats are great for your butt, but also your quads and hips. It’s the same exact form as a regular squat, but on one leg! Some people hold their raised foot out in front of them like pictured above. I personally balance better with it bent behind me. Remember to keep the chest moving up and down, not forward, and the butt goes behind the heel. You don’t don’t have to get your thigh parallel to the floor here, just come down as far as you can.

Calf Raises


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I know so many people who experience plantar fasciitis pain, and I’m a true believer that it can be significantly decreased by strengthening and stretching the calves. It’s simple really. The calves are connected to the achilles tendon, which is connected to your fascia. Tightness or weakness in the calves can make that achilles tendon and fascia go haywire.

Even if you don’t experience this kind of pain yet, it’s mandatory to do these to keep it away! Don’t worry about getting giant calves. Use your bodyweight (not dumbbells as pictured). Place the toes of one foot on a step or raised surface. Make sure there is something nearby to grasp for balance. Let your heel hang over the edge of the step, then push up on to your tiptoes. Repeat!

Leg Raises

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Running is notoriously brutal on your hips. Help strengthen them up with leg raises! Find a horizontal bar to hang from, bend your knees, and using your lower abs and hips, bring them into your chest.

 

If you have access to a gym, many have machines specific for this. It’s also easier than hanging from a bar.

If you’re not at a gym, just grab a chair! It won’t be as challenging, so just do more reps.

And those are my top 5 strength training exercises for runners. Get to working on these asap for your spring training. Bug me about it again in the summer and I’ll give you five more ;) Happy exercising!

My New Home

Happyhappy Friday!! Lots of things to look forward to this weekend in these parts.

Speaking of which, I’m now all moved into my dad’s. I haven’t lived with my dad since I was 12 years old. It’s kind of weird being in the same city as my mom and not living with her! With that said though, I think it’s good for me and I’m starting to settle in nicely.

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Meet Buddy, the family dog. A boxer-bulmastiff mix who looks ferocious but couldn’t be any farther from it. He’s actually scared of people – including me! Working on getting him to warm up to me and used to having me around.

Apart from Buddy, I’m also living with my little sister, her boyfriend, their newborn son, and of course my dad. Living with a baby actually isn’t that bad when you’re not the one responsible for looking after it…

I’m also living in a room that at one point both little sisters have lived in. It’s hot pink.

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After years of living in stark white apartments, I actually don’t mind it much. My furniture is all black so it won’t clash. I just seemed to have lost the box that my IKEA screws were packed in. So pictures of my new bedroom set-up are on hold…

There’s of course my new kitchen:

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Wonder what sort of things I’ll create in here!

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Ceramic stovetop surrounded by brick. It’s a big and bright kitchen great for taking pictures in. But I will say that bigger kitchens equal more walking around while cooking. It’s tiring!

In other news, I went to the gym today for the first time in SEVEN WEEKS. The first time since my accident! I got the okay from my new physiotherapist here in Moncton for light jogging on the treadmill. She also gave me a ton of active exercises to do with my arm. Before I was only allowed to do passive movement, which means it could only be moved by others, not myself.

I toyed with the idea of starting off with a Couch To 5k style workout. But my mom said “no.” And even though I’m a fitness professional, I still listen to my mom. I’m glad I did! Easing into it was waaaay better.

Here’s the deets if you’re curious:

Treadmill:
5 min warm-up walk @ 3.0mph, 1% incline

1 min @ 3.5 mph, 3% incline
1 min@ 3.5 mph, 5% incline
1 min @ 3.5 mph, 7% incline
1 min @ 3.5 mph, 9% incline
–> repeated 5x for a total of 20 minutes

Recumbent bike:
1 min easy @ level 0
1 min hard @ level 5
–> repeated 6x for 12 minutes

3 min cooldown @ level 0

Then a few sets of lying leg raises and side knee drops because I’m terrified of rolling off the ball and effing up my arm more.

Followed by a solid 15 minutes of stretching. I AM SO STIFF. Holymoly. I haven’t spent any time stretching since my accident and it shows. I’m only good at doing it when a workout or yoga class are involved.

Overall, it felt absolutely wonderful to work up a sweat again. Even though it’s considered an easy workout by my old standards, I still got up into my cardio heart rate zone.

A lot of my doctors and physical therapists have told me I’m lucky in terms of arm rehabilitation because I’m a personal trainer. I never really got that because I was so stuck on the idea that my injury is preventing me to work and make money strictly because I am a personal trainer.

I finally got what they meant today though. It’s nice to know exactly what I can, can’t and should do in the gym to keep my body in good healing shape. Having to move halfway across the country right after my accident made life very hectic. I’m happy to finally be at Point B and able to take the time to focus on my healing again.

Oh, and one last thing. Because of the shitty week it’s been, and the need to look nice for a funeral next week, my mom and I treated ourselves to a haircut.

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My “before” picture taken earlier this week. Turning my head to avoid the camera ;)

Of all the things I could be frustrated about, being unable to style my hair with one arm ranks at #1. I haven’t cut my hair since August and it’s turned into this unruly mane I have no means of managing.

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Problem solved! I went in asking for shorter layers. The same thing I ask every single time I get my haircut. Instead I usually walk out with long chunky layers that only ever look good when straightened. This hairdresser finally gave me what I asked for. The above picture is my new hair air-dried with no product. Just scrunched for a little for bounce. SO much better and easier to manage with my one hand! I know I’m no hair expert, but I do also deal with my hair everyday. So I like to think I know a little something when making requests to hair dressers ;)

Alright. That ends my ramblings for a Friday night. We’re getting a snowstorm in New Brunswick right now. I really wish that was an April Fool’s joke, but it’s not.

Move It Monday – Upper-Body Workouts

Welcome to the first day of the PIPES Challenge!!

If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, you can read all about it right here.

I’m taking part in Morgan’s six week challenge to build upper-body strength. My challenge however will be a little different. I’m recovering from reconstructive surgery on my left elbow. I just started physiotherapy to get my muscles moving the joint again. My goal is to be able to almost fully extend my left arm on my own by the end of the challenge.

My arm exercises currently involve a belt and a bag of frozen peas.

Regardless, I do have a ton of tough upper-body workouts up my sleeve (pun intended) and it’s only fair to share. Below are three different types of upper-body workouts. That will hopefully challenge those pipes in new way and get you ready for the gun show in six weeks! ;)

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Upper-Body For The Attention Deficit

Aim for around 12 reps for each exercise. Choose whatever cardio machines you like, or leave it out. With cardio, it takes a little over an hour.

Warm-up: 15 minutes on the elliptical, increasing resistance

Straight set (x3):
Dumbbell pullover (chest, back of shoulders, lats, rhomboids,triceps)

Alternating sets (x3):
Incline chest fly (chest, front of shoulders, biceps)
Incline dumbbell row (lower lats, rhomboids, middle traps)

Cardio: 10 minutes on the rowing machine, alternating grips

Straight set (x3):
Cable lateral raise (top and front of shoulder, traps)

Alternating sets (x3):
Dumbbell twist curl (biceps)
Forward triceps extension (triceps)

Cardio: 10 minutes on the stairmaster, increasing speed  

Upper-Body For The Heavyweight

Recommended for the advanced. A workout that has you lifting heavy at low reps and extra sets. Knowing your limits and using proper form are extremely important. The weight below is what I use for this workout, therefore just a guideline.

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
One arm dumbbell snatch  25 lbs 4-6 4
Romanian deadlift to row  60 lbs 4-6 4
Wide-grip lat pulldown  70 lbs 4-6 4
Barbell bench press 60 lbs 4-6  
Push-up  on toes to failure  
Incline dumbbell shoulder press  25 lbs ea 4-6 4
Incline dumbbell curl 12 lbs ea 12 3
Tricep pulldown 40 lbs 12 3

 

Upper-Body Pyramids

Pyramid sets get deep into your muscle tissues, really stimulating growth. The weight listed are just an example of how it varies with each set. Go with whatever challenges you the most.

Back:

Exercise Reps Weight
Wide-grip lat pulldown  12 45 lbs
Seated cable row  12 40 lbs
Wide-grip lat pulldown  8 55 lbs
Seated cable row  8 50 lbs
Wide-grip lat pulldown  6 65 lbs
Seated cable row  6 60 lbs
Wide-grip lat pulldown  10 45 lbs
Seated cable row  10 40 lbs


Chest:

Exercise Reps Weight
Dumbbell bench press  12 20 lb dumbbells
Standing cable fly 12 10 lbs each hand
Dumbbell bench press  8 22.5 lb dumbbells
Standing cable fly 8 12.5 lbs each hand
Dumbbell bench press  6 25 lb dumbbells
Standing cable fly 6 15 lbs each hand
Dumbbell bench press  10 20 lb dumbbells
Standing cable fly 10 10 lbs each hand


Shoulders:

Exercise Reps Weight
Arnold press  12 12.5 lb dumbbells
Barbell upright row  12 20 lb barbell
Arnold press  8 15 lb dumbbells
Barbell upright row  8 20 lb barbell
Arnold press  6 17.5 lb dumbbells
Barbell upright row  6 30 lb barbell
Arnold press  10 12.5 lb dumbbells
Barbell upright row  10 20 lb barbell


Biceps –
Alternating Sets

Exercise Reps Weight Sets
Barbell bicep curl 12 20 lbs 3
Incline curl  12 10 lb dumbbells 3


Triceps
– Alternating Sets

Exercise Reps Weight Sets
Skull crusher  12 20 lbs 3
Forward tricep extension  12 20 lbs 3

 

As always, leave any questions about the workouts below. Let me know if you need alternates for any of the exercises because of equipment restrictions, injuries, etc. Most importantly – have fun!!

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