Wednesday, February 24, 2016

On getting some muscle....

Lately I have been incorporating more strength training to my running plans.  After looking at several of my race photos and discussing them with a run coach, I realized that at the end of my races my form begins to really suffer.  After getting fatigued my posture begins to slump, and I also get a little sluggish.  The slumping, of course, will decrease my lung capacity making those last several miles a lot more difficult.  Also, with my form deteriorating, it makes me more likely to suffer from a run related injury.  So, I've been doing at least 3 days of upper body strength training, and I wanted to share a few of my favorite upper body exercises. 
  

Renegade Row

How to do it: Grab two light dumbbells ( I use 8 lb) and place them on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Place one hand on each dumbbell and assume a push-up position with your feet wider than hip-width. Complete a full push-up. Keep your right hand on the ground as you pull the left dumbbell up in a rowing motion, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top. Avoid letting your torso rotate excessively. Slowly lower and repeat with your right side. That’s one rep. This exercise will engage the core and also work the upper back.

Single Arm Shoulder Press in Lunge Position

How to do it: Stand in a lunge position with your right foot forward. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and hold it a shoulder height. As you exhale, press the dumbbell overhead while keeping your midsection tight to avoid overarching at the lower back. The reason I do these in a lunge position is to strengthen the hips, particularly the gluteus medius. 

Suitcase Dead lifts

How to do it: Stand with your arms hanging at your sides and a dumbbell in one hand. Push your hips back, bend the knees, and reach the dumbbell down as close to the floor as you can without rounding your lower back. Now stand up again. Don’t allow your torso to tilt to either side while performing this movement. Complete 10 repetitions, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the exercise while holding the dumbbell in the opposite hand.

I call these suitcase dead lifts because the way I hold the weights mimic carrying a suitcase.  These are good exercises to work your obliques as well as the lower back.

Another thing I've added is 300 reps of ab exercises.  Those 300 consist of crunches, bicycle crunches, toe touches, reverse crunches, side blank hip lifts, Russian twists, Oblique v-ups, and leg lifts.  I usually do these at bedtime, right in my bedroom floor!  Don't forget to plank! Always throw a plank in there!

I have definitely noticed a difference in my abs.  Maybe a few little cuts here and there showing up, as well as my arms, but the test will be to see if it improves my running form. :)


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