LEG GYM SESSION FOR RUNNERS
This strength workout has been designed to coincide with what we have been covering in the past few months. It's vitally important that you are supplementing your running, pre-activation exercises with strength work. The constant impact and load you put through your body will take its toll unless you create a structure and stable foundation that is able to withstand that intensity.
As someone who has ran vast distances including 5 x Ultra Marathons and 4 x Marathons in the past year, I know first hand the benefits that come with supplementing your running with Strength & Weight Training.
My recommendation would be to add this session (or one similar focusing on your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings specifically), a minimum of once per week. This can increase dependant on your own running programme.
SESSION IN FULL
With all exercises, please tailor the weight lifted according your own personal preference. Ensure you are lifting safely and with good form. If you have any questions in regards to the session, please do not hesitate to contact us.
A favourite of mine when it comes to strength training. I believe this compound move should be a staple in anyones weight training.
To begin, start with your feet at shoulder width apart with a very slight toe inversion. Grip the bar overhand with your thumbs resting just on the outside of your lower leg. Make sure the bar is close to your shins before you lift. As you lift, drive your hips forward and actively push your feet into the ground. This will create posterior tension in your lower body. Make sure you keep your head in a neutral position (ideally looking 2-3 metres in front of you at a fixed location) throughout the lift.
At the top of your lift, squeeze your glutes and keep your core braced. Lower safely.
As a rule of thumb, you want to try and keep a neutral spine through. This means avoiding your spine coming into a 'cat/cow' type position. You can help achieve this by bracing your core and aiming to keep your chest upright throughout. This will prevent you from 'hunching' over the bar. Also, just as you are about to lift, breathe in deeply and hold for a second or two, before deeply exhaling as you lift the bar to your mid thigh.
Take 2-4 mins rest between sets depending on intensity and weight-load.
B1) BARBELL SQUAT
A strong and highly favourable move! Probably the most common gym exercise, but nonetheless, still an extremely valuable one!
Stand underneath the bar and place it on the upper part of your back. Take a step or two back from the squat rack and with your feet shoulder width apart and toes ever so slightly pointing out, fixate on a fixed location about 2-3 metres in front at eye level. You can help to keep your spine in alignment by staying fixed on this 'spot' for the duration of your 6 reps.
Imagine sitting back into a chair, and lower yourself down. Make sure your bodyweight load is through the back two-thirds of your feet.Your goal is descend until your hip crease is level with, or below your knee flexion. From here, 'drive' upwards pushing through your the back end of your feet towards your heels until you return to a full standing position. Like the deadlift, use your breathe. As you descend, make sure you breathe in, and at the bottom of your squat, just as your drive out, forcefully exhale, and rise.
B2) HAMSTRING BRIDGE
Worked as a superset with your squats, you will complete this exercise immediately after each set of squats.
With your heels on an elevated surface, preferably a bench, lay flat on your back, ensuring your lower back is flush with the ground.
The main key during this movement is determining how much knee flexion you need to 'fire' your hamstrings. During this move, your HAMSTRINGS SHOULD feel engaged, your GLUTES SHOULD NOT. As you can see in the video, if your glutes are overly engaged during the thrust and your hamstring are not firing as much, reduce the angle of your knee flexion by shuffling your glutes further away from the bench.
PROGRESSION: Add weight and hold on your midsection.
C1) BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
6 REPS EACH LEG
For this exercise, you will need to use a bench that you can rest your foot on, ideally around knee height. Adopt a standard lunge position and place your back foot on the bench behind you. Ideally, you will place your foot so the top of it rests on the bench as shown in the video above. Your lead leg, or standing leg should be approximately around half a metre or so in front of the bench. Flex the knee and lower your body down, with a slight forward lean in your torso. It's in these moments you need to bear the following factors into consideration: Brace your core. As you are standing on a single leg, it is important you use your core to help with balance. Track your knee. Ideally, you want your knee to track over toes. With a split squat, you are essentially placing a high weight load through your lead leg, so your knee may have a tendency to drift in. Really focus on engaging your gluten and ensuring your knee tracks directly over your lead foot.
Once at the bottom of the split squat, drive through your lead leg, and push up back to a single leg standing position.
PROGRESSION: Add a pulse movement at the bottom of the Split Squat.
D1) CORE CIRCUIT
10 REPS EACH EXERCISE
Lying Ab Cycle
Lying Leg Raises
Up/Down Plank Raises
Focusing particularly on the lower back in these exercises, this is a great way to finish with a strong session. With the first 2 exercises, ensure your lower back is flush with the ground, as you can see with how I demonstrate. Especially when performing Lying Leg Raises, ensure your back does not begin to raise when you lower your legs. If you find it does, lower your legs as far as they go with your lower back still flush to the ground, then raise back up to your starting position.
With your Up/Down Planks, pretend (or do!) you have a glass of water balancing on your lower back...DO NOT LET IT SPILL!
Enjoy the workout and let us know how you get on by dropping us a DM or tagging us on instagram.