Running increasingly longer distances isn’t the only way to prepare for a Fun Run or Marathon. In fact, professional long-distance runners incorporate a whole range of strength and conditioning exercises into their weekly workout schedule. These exercises are key for ensuring your muscles are strong around the joints and prepared for the intensity and longevity of running a long distance. Strength and conditioning training is also vital for protecting your body from injury.
Road running in particular can be brutal on your body. Running is a 100% single leg movement, so it’s important to do lots of 1 leg exercises to ensure good dynamic hip stability.
The other important group of muscles to train are the core trunk muscles. With good core stability, the legs are free to move, without impacting on the pelvic position, and you are less likely to get lower back pain as a result.
Here at Xtend Barre – we can help you with the strength and conditioning portion of your running training, so you can run your best race yet!
We asked our Senior Xtend Barre Instructor and physiotherapist, Adelaide Coghlan, to name her top 8 Xtend Barre exercises to compliment your running training. But runners be warned – this is a lot harder than it looks!
- The SPRINTERS HOP – the deep lunge position helps to strengthen the glutes, quads and hamstrings, and the quick movement into the hop simulates the movement pattern required for running (pulling the leg through and also the push off phase as you jump). This exercise is awesome to help build up your stamina!!
- FOLD OVER – a signature Xtend Barre exercise that can be done outside using a park bench or even your training partner to balance off. This is another dynamic standing hip stability exercise. By bringing the working leg into hip extension, it’s a great glute and hamstring muscle trainer. Free hip extension range of motion is required for running, so don’t forget to work into hip flexion AND extension.
- KNEE TO ELBOW CARDIO – a great dynamic single leg standing exercise. This is a good exercise to help build hip stability on the standing leg as you mimic the movement needed for running with the working leg. When you pull the knee towards the chest you are using the abdominal muscles, so it’s great for your core strength too!
- MOUNTAIN CLIMBER – this is a great exercise for dynamic core trunk stability and to fire up the hip flexors. Also the faster you go… the better for your stamina!
Other great exercises to try either on your own or better yet in your next Xtend Barre class are:
- Single Leg Releves – (supporting leg is straight, opposite leg is sitting in a passe position) this works the calves and strengthens the ankles, it also helps with the push off phase of a run.
- Jumping Lunges – a great plyometric exercise that gets the heart rate up as you change legs. Try to keep your hips even and your knees in line with your toes.
- Single Leg Bridges – the help ensures you have good hip extension and strength in the hips. Keep the knees, hips and shoulders in one long line, like a ski slope.
- Scissors and Bicycles for core stability – make sure the hips stay stable and are not rolling around or rocking from side to side.
Sample Xtend Barre Workout to try at home:
- Sprinters Hop – 10-12 on each leg X 3 Rounds
- Fold Over – 8 x leg lifts/ 8 pulses/ 8 hamstring curls/ 8 pulses on each leg x 3
- Knee to Elbow Cardio – 20 seconds on/10 second rest at 100% exertion x 10 Rounds
- Mountain Climbers – 20 second on/10 seconds rest at 100% exertion x 10 Rounds
Liz Nable is the the Founder + Director at Xtend Barre Northern Beaches with studios in Mosman, Manly & Mona Vale. She is a Senior Xtend Barre Instructor and is Pilates certified. She is also the Founder and Director of Nable Active.