Four easy exercises for runners
Training for your 10K is not just about running – it’s a good idea to strengthen your body too with some simple exercises. Take a look at the suggestions below…
1. The bridge
Aim: to strengthen your glutes, lower back and improve pelvic stability.
What to do: lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Curl your spine off the floor to form a straight line from knees to shoulders as shown.
Hold for five seconds, then return your spine to the floor, curling your back down bit by bit so your buttocks touch the floor last. Repeat 10 times. Progress to five 10-second holds.
Once you can do this comfortably, you could try lifting each foot alternately off the floor (just a few centimetres) 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 your knee, hip and ankle alignment and strengthen the hips, quads and hamstrings.
What to do: stand with your feet hip-width apart and a resistance band secured above your knees with some tension in the band pulling your knees together. Extend your arms in front at chest height.
Take your bottom backwards and, bending your knees, squat until your thighs are at or nearparallel, pushing out against the resistance band to prevent your knees rolling in – as shown in picture.
Don’t overarch your back and try to keep your torso upright.
Pause in this owered position, then stand and repeat. Aim for eight to 12 repetitions.
3. The plank
Aim: to promote good running posture by strengthening your core stabilisers and lower back with the body fully extended.
What to do: lie face-down on the floor. Engage your core by holding your lower abdominal muscles firm 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 as shown. Hold this position, 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 your pelvis and support your knees, preventing the knees from rolling in when you’re running.
What to do: stand tall with your feet below your hip bones and hands extended in front of you. Lift one foot in front of your body and then ‘sit down’ by flexing the hip and knee of your supporting leg. Lead with your bottom, not your knee.
Keep your hip bones level and torso upright, and make sure the bending knee travels in line with your 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.