Staying injury-free is every runner’s dream scenario and these five important exercises will help you stay fit and always be ready to run.
The common misconception about long-distance running, specifically, is that you have to run long run after long run to get in the best physical condition.
Of course, weekly-long runs and big distances aid you in the build-up to a marathon, but strength and conditioning, as well as stretching, can go a long way as far as preparation for upcoming races goes.
Essentially, it’s not all about running.
Check out these exercises:
SINGLE DEAD LIFT
The dead lift is an important movement to work your hamstrings and glutes, as well as tackle core stability and balance.
Stand on one leg, keeping a slight bend in your knee, straighten your back horizontally and hold your head up.
Lift your non-standing leg behind you, extend and hold it straight for a few seconds.
Repeat the trick, and if you wish to make things more challenging, hold a weight with your arms stretched forward.
Stand straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower your body as far as you can by bending your knees and pushing your hips back.
Pause briefly before pushing yourself back up to your starting position.
Repetitions x10 are recommended and will help to warm-up key muscle groups throughout your legs.
The perfect exercise to strengthen your glutes (typically an area where runners forget to stretch) and hamstrings.
It’s a simple exercise, too.
Lie on a mat with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle and your feet flat on the floor.
Contract your glutes and elevate your hips in a straight line, going from your neck to your knees. Try and hold this position for a short period and keep your glutes engaged.
Repeat for a few repetitions.
A simple exercise you can do on stairs or a bench.
It’s also an activity that will improve the power in your stride pattern.
Step onto your chosen object with your left foot and drive your other leg high so you mimic a running motion (although exaggerated) on the step.
Return to your starting position and then repeat, switching legs.
This is a great exercise to help engage your hips, as well as strengthen your core muscles.
Simply, lie on your side with your legs straight and ankles together.
Hold your torso up with your upper arm and lift your hips so they form a straight line…and don’t drop towards the floor.
Hold for a few seconds before changing sides.
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DESIGN YOUR WORKOUTS
Start with two gym and two cardio sessions per week.
If you are new to the gym then try full body workouts to see faster results.
If you are stuck for some inspiration on exercise ideas, there are plenty of videos on YouTube or articles on Google that can assist.
If you have a friend or colleague who is involved in sport then seek advice from them. People are always willing to help.
Keep your workouts simple with exercises like press-ups, chest flies, squats, pull-ups and lunges.
CHANGE/IMPROVE YOUR DIET
This is the big one. You can do all the training in the world but if your diet is poor then you are never going to see any major results.
You should be aiming to eat carbs like rice and brown pasta for energy, proteins like chicken and fish after training to help muscle repair, and fruits and vegetables to support overall health.
At the end of it all, don’t starve yourself, just aim to have a balanced diet, stay well hydrated and don’t eat late at night.
It’s worth recording your weight and body fat before starting a programme in order to monitor your progress.
To keep track on different lifts, take a notebook or use apps like MyFitness Pal to help store the information.
This is the best way to help your progress, keep you motivated and help get the best out of your fitness goals.
If you aren’t happy with your progress then try something different, whether it’s changing exercises, doing more reps, taking more rest or eating better.
Ever wanted a body like Cristiano Ronaldo?
Well, the Portuguese and Real Madrid superstar has opened up about the secret to his steel-like six pack.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner was speaking at the launch of his new fitness chain ‘CR7 Crunch Fitness’ and revealed the intense programme behind his incredible abs.
Asked if he does 3,000 sit-ups each day, Ronaldo said: “I do them 4-5 times a week, but the minimum is 200-300.
“It’s about the maintenance, but you should try and avoid doing too many – when you do that you get a hernia or problems with your discs.”
“They are the basic exercises, really good for the front and the back, but 3,000? No, I don’t even do 3,000 a week.”
He may be 32, but Ronaldo is still looking in tip top shape as Real Madrid go in search of more La Liga and Champions League glory.