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Core Muscle Exercises

WE ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS OUR WEAKEST LINK!!

Sometimes we put so much focus on getting in the miles, the intense workouts, the long runs, and eating right, that sometimes we neglect to strengthen the area of our body that is going to carry us through all the training and across that finish line. Our core is our foundation. If we don’t spend a little time on strengthening our core muscles 2-3 times a week an injury will find us. 

So check out this video from our friends at Mountain Land Physical Therapy. It contains a few simple core exercises that can easily and quickly be implemented into your training program. 

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4 for Core

The intensity in the room was so thick; one could cut it with a knife. A group of women sitting focused on the screen, watching the live camera view from the lead vehicle; the 100 men competing for 3 slots to make the US Marathon Olympic team. This vivid memory from Charlotte North Carolina in 1996 continues to impact my clinical decision making as a physical therapist. I will never forget the commentator’s announcement that given the same VO2 max, stride length, etc…, “the one with the most stable pelvis wins”!

I decided to write this article from my >20 year experience working with runners. I’ve had amazing hands on opportunities from working with people who like (and don’t like) to run from the beginner to professional, from biomechanical wrecks to those finely tuned machines. This given article only serves as a possible opportunity for those aspired to integrate 4 core stabilization exercises into their training. I have seen many injuries over the years, and feel strongly that prevention is the key. Cross training in all planes is imperative.

In Taber’s medical dictionary, dynamic stabilization is defined as “an integrated function of neuromuscular systems requiring muscles to contract and fixate the body against fluctuating outside forces, providing postural support with fine adjustments in muscle tension. The term usually pertains to a function of the trunk, shoulder, and hip muscles and includes the lower extremity muscles when they are functioning in a closed chain.” In short, the term is used for the development of postural stability and skilled movement control. Principals in stabilization may include: isolation before integration; slow before fast; and correct breathing.

The following, in my clinic experience, are the “4 for the core” that if preformed correctly can prevent many common running injuries. Neutral pelvis is required to perform the exercises correctly. Body alignment is essential with the ear, shoulder and hip being in a line. The pelvis position can be viewed like a bowl; the bowl is level, not dumping water out the front (sway back) or the back (flat back).


1. Plank on elbows: Pelvis is neutral, avoid arching the low back by tightening your abdominals (bring your belly button towards the spine).

Advanced plank on elbows: lifting one leg; more difficult- lifting leg with opposite arm.

 

 


2. Side plank on elbow: Pelvis is neutral, visualize yourself between 2 plates of glass and lift trunk toward ceiling.

Read More….

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Crossfit and Running, a Symbiotic Relationship?

If you call yourself a fitness enthusiast, you have by now heard of Crossfit, the latest form of exercise to take the country by storm. Crossfit gyms are increasing exponentially throughout the country as individuals of every variety flock to participate in the latest and greatest in exercise.  Chances are at this point in time either yourself, or someone you know is currently involved in a Crossfit program.

What Is Crossfit?

Pull any Crossfit devotee aside and ask them, “What is Crossfit?”  More than likely you will hear some form of, “Crossfit is constantly varied, functional movements, executed with high intensity.” Great, what does that even mean? Maybe more importantly what could it mean for you? Think about Crossfit like an Easter egg.  The contents of every Easter egg is a complete surprise until you open it. You have no idea what kind of candy might be inside. How much there is. If it’s hard or soft, sweet, sour.  Crossfit is kind of like this. Each day you can expect a one of a kind surprise workout of varying exercises, for a varying amount of time or rounds. The only constant thing about Crossfit is that each day will provide a completely new way to leave you on the floor in a puddle of your own sweat.

As runners, Crossfit’s idea of “constant variation” may seem at first glance to deeply contradict our cultural beliefs in a clear precise training schedule that carefully plans and progresses every minute detail of our runs. However, some of the latest findings suggest that careful planning and progression along with a little chaotic inconsistency may actually produce some of the best runners, and overall athletes.

As a Runner How Can Crossfit Help Me?

The average runner practices little variation in the type or intensity of run. In fact, runners may be the kings of consistency as we consistently follow a carefully planned consistent plan, in order to enable us to run consistently longer. All of this consistency often leaves us training only our long term, or oxidative energy pathway.  Crossfit’s method of constantly varying type and intensity of exercise enables runners to decrease dependence on only oxidative training. The constant fluctuation instead facilitates training in all energy pathways, not just the long term oxidative pathway. This variation in workouts also works to develop what Crossfit deems the 10 physical skills needed to develop fitness:

1-      Cardiovascular and Respiratory Endurance

2-      Stamina

3-      Strength

4-      Flexibility

5-      Power

6-      Speed

7-      Coordination

8-      Agility

9-      Balance

10-   Accuracy

Read More….

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Postpartum Exercise Part 3: Janae’s Training Log Week 1

"Double the fun!" (Do you sense the sarcasm)

**To view the printable version of a simple postpartum training plan go to Postpartum Training Plan

JANAE’S TRAINING LOG

Week 1: October 17-23, 2011

 Monday 10/23/11

Planned Workout:

  • 30 minute brisk walk
  • Strengthening Exercises: push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps), leg lifts (2 x 15 reps), bridge-squeezers (30 reps), bridge-thigh abductors (30 reps), side planks (hold for 30 seconds each side)

Actual Workout:

  • 42 minute brisk walk pushing double jogger
  • Strengthening exercises: push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps), leg lifts (2 x 15 reps), bridge-squeezers (30 reps), bridge-thigh abductors (30 reps), side planks (hold for 30 seconds each side)
  • I went for a walk around 11 am. It took some time getting out the door, but we did it.  I made sure Teague (newborn) was fed before we left and that Raelee (2 years old) had a stash of animal crackers to munch on while I pushed the two of them in our double jogger.  It was a beautiful day and it felt good to get outside and enjoy it.  Both the kiddos did pretty well for the duration.  Teague was getting a little restless by the end and cried the last seven minutes or so of the walk home.  I passed a couple of people who were out enjoying the weather as well and I could see in their faces they were thinking “That mom needs to get her children under control”.  Overall, I enjoyed the walk despite the fact that my legs were screaming—“run!”

Read More….

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Postpartum Exercise Part 2: Training Plan

**See RUN UTAH’s April/May issue page 15 “4 For Core” and June/July issue  page 17 “Simple Strengthening Exercises” for some sample strengthening exercises

POSTPARTUM TRAINING PLAN (Weeks 1-3)

 

WEEK 1:

Monday

  • 30 minute brisk walk
  • Strengthening Exercises: push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps), leg lifts (2 x 15 reps), bridge-squeezers (30 reps), bridge-thigh abductors (30 reps), side planks (hold for 30 seconds each side)

Tuesday

  • Yoga

Wednesday

  • 40 minute brisk walk
  • Strengthening exercises: static doorway (2 x 30 seconds), full body clench (3 x 15 seconds), squats (2 x 30 reps), push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps)

Thursday

  • Yoga

Friday

  • 5-7 minutes of abs and strengthening exercises: planks-sides and middle, supermans, boat, leg lifts, clams, squeezers, regulars, sides, scissors, V’s

Saturday

  • 50-60 minute brisk walk

WEEK 2:

Monday

  • 40 minute brisk walk
  • Strengthening Exercises: push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps), leg lifts (2 x 15 reps), bridge-squeezers (30 reps), bridge-thigh abductors (30 reps), side planks (hold for 30 seconds each side)

Tuesday

  • Yoga

Wednesday

  • 50 minute brisk walk
  • Strengthening exercises: static doorway (2 x 30 seconds), full body clench (3 x 15 seconds), squats (2 x 30 reps), push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps)

Thursday

  • Yoga

Friday

  • 25-30 minute brisk walk
  • 5-7 minutes of abs and strengthening exercises: planks-sides and middle, supermans, boat, leg lifts, clams, squeezers, regulars, sides, scissors, V’s

Saturday

  • 60-70 minute brisk walk
  • Strengthening Exercises: push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps), leg lifts (2 x 15 reps), bridge-squeezers (30 reps), bridge-thigh abductors (30 reps), side planks (hold for 30 seconds each side)

WEEK 3:

Monday

  • 15 minute brisk walk.  15 minutes of running or 3 x 5 minutes of running with 2 minutes of brisk walking in between.  10 minute brisk walk.
  • Strengthening Exercises: push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps), leg lifts (2 x 15 reps), bridge-squeezers (30 reps), bridge-thigh abductors (30 reps), side planks (hold for 30 seconds each side)

Tuesday

  • Yoga

Wednesday

  • 15 minute brisk walk.  20 minutes of running or 2 x 10 minutes of running with 4 minutes of brisk walking in between.  10 minute brisk walk.
  • Strengthening exercises: static doorway (2 x 30 seconds), full body clench (3 x 15 seconds), squats (2 x 30 reps), push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps)

Thursday

  • Yoga

Friday

  • 25 minutes of running or 10 minute run, 4 minute brisk walk, 15 minute run, 5 minute brisk walk.
  • 5-7 minutes of abs and strengthening exercises: planks-sides and middle, supermans, boat, leg lifts, clams, squeezers, regulars, sides, scissors, V’s

Saturday

  • 70-80 minute brisk walk
  • Strengthening Exercises: push ups (2 x 10 reps), triceps dips (2 x 10 reps), leg lifts (2 x 15 reps), bridge-squeezers (30 reps), bridge-thigh abductors (30 reps), side planks (hold for 30 seconds each side)

 

by Janae Richardson – Runner | Coach

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