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
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.
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
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.