Four exercises every runner should do
|1 Bridge||AIM To strengthen the glutes, lower back and improve pelvic stability.
DO IT Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Curl the spine off the floor to form a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold for five seconds, then return the spine to the floor, curling your back down bit by bit so the buttocks hit the floor last. Repeat 10 times. Progress to five 10-second holds.
Once you can do this comfortably, lift each foot alternately off the floor (just a few cms) in a slow 'marching' action for 20 steps. Keep your pelvis level (placing your hands on your hip bones can help). Repeat three times.
|2 Resisted Squat
AIM To improve knee, hip and ankle alignment and strengthen the hips, quads and hamstrings.
DO IT Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a resistance band secured above the knees with some tension in the band pulling your knees together. Have your arms extended in front at chest height. Take your bottom backwards and, bending the knees, squat until your thighs are at or near, parallel, pushing out against the resistance band to prevent your knees rolling in.
Don't overarch the back and try to keep the torso upright. Pause in the lowered position, then stand and repeat. Aim for eight to 12 repetitions.
|3 Plank||AIM To promote good running posture by strengthening the core stabilisers and lower back with the body fully extended.
DO IT Lie face down on the floor. Engage the core and, supporting yourself on your forearms and feet, raise your body up to form a straight line from the nape of the neck to the heels. Hold, but don't forget to breathe. Progress by extending the length of the hold, building up towards one minute.
|4 Single-leg dip
AIM To strengthen the muscles that stabilise the pelvis and support the knee joint, preventing the knees from rolling in when you're running.
DO IT Stand tall with your feet below your hip bones and hands extended in front of you. Lift one foot in front of the body and then 'sit down' by flexing the hip and knee of the supporting leg. Lead with the bottom, not the knee. Keep the hip bones level and torso upright, and make sure the bending knee travels in line with the middle toe and does not roll inwards or outwards. Lower as far as you can, pause and straighten. Aim for eight to 12 repetitions then change to other side.