Every fitness magazine has an article promising the best abdominal (also popularly known as abs) or leg strengthening workouts.  The amount of advice can be overwhelming.  The problem with most of these workouts is that they focus on just one aspect of a runner's body.  That is why we have designed the following whole body workout that we recommend for our athletes.  It takes just 20 minutes, but it will work your flexibility, strength, and core muscles. (Core muscles include the muscles in your abdomen, back, pelvic floor, and glutes.)  The 14 video clips below review each exercise and stretching technique.  Each takes about 1 minute to perform.  We recommend that you do the workout 2 times per week.  If any of the exercises are too challenging at first, please shorten the duration.  Over time, you will get stronger and be able to increase the duration.

Left and Right Side Planks - Targets the lateral abs

Hamstring Bridge - Targets the hamstrings (back of the thighs) and gluteus maximus (buttocks)

Cobra - Abdominal Stretch

Close Hand Push Ups - Also known as Narrow Grip Push Ups

Glute Stretch - Stretches the buttocks muscles

Single Leg Squat - Challenges balance, quadriceps (front of thighs), hamstrings (back of thighs), and glutes (buttocks muscles)

Quad Stretch - Stretches the front of the thighs

Partner Punishment - Targets abdominal muscles

Pointers - Core Body Stabilization

Hamstring Stretch - 3 different stretches that target the back of the thighs

Pretzel Stretch - Stretches the muscles of the back

Calf Stretch - Stretches the calves (back of lower leg) and achilles (back of feet)

Leg Swings - 3 different exercises that target the core muslces and stretch the pelvis, hips, and hamstrings

Foam Roller - "Self Massaging" routine

 

 

 



 

Many of you probably worry about having "love handles."  This exercise works your

lateral ab muscles (which includes your external and internal obliques) and

systematically eliminates "love handles."



Cobra

May 18, 2010

 

Don't neglect the stretching part of the routine!  You're going to be working your abs in later exercises.  It's important to loosen those muscles up before you start challenging them.



Regular push ups target your chest and shoulder muscles.  This version targets those

muscles too, but also works your triceps (back of upper arms).  The triceps muscles 

are easy to overlook because we don't see them when we look in the mirror, but

strengthening them will help you maintain an upright running posture. 



Glute Stretch

May 16, 2010

We rely on on our glutes constantly throughout the running motion!  Treat them right

and give them a good stretch.



Single Leg Squat

May 14, 2010

We cannot overemphasize the importance of this exercise.  It strengthens the

hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps.  Being on just one leg also challenges your

balance.  Maintain good posture and remain as steady as possible throughout the

motion. 



Quad Stretch

May 13, 2010

 

You might notice that the front of your thigh gets sore after a hilly run or after a week of

increased mileage.  That soreness you feel is the 4 quadriceps muscles that make up

the front of the thigh.  Stretching them out will help in the recovery process. 



This exercise will strengthen your lower abdominals.  It's sometimes easy to forget how

important the abdominals are to runners.  We just don't use our legs and arms when we

runs.  We also rely heavily on our abs.  Without them, we wouldn't be able to lift our

knees high off the ground.