CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: True Fitness
Sometimes the answer to helping your members reach their goals of running faster and more effectively on the treadmill isn't more running. Strength training can enhance their muscles to give them a more powerful stride and improve their cardiovascular system so they can run for longer without getting winded. Here are six exercises to add to your clients' personal training regimen to help them see results in their running.
1. Box jump. This exercise uses a sturdy box about knee-high, an aerobic step or a weight bench. In this exercise, have your clients jump onto the box with both feet, making sure to land as softly as they can. Then have them step back to the ground and repeat 10 times. If you are uncertain what level to start at, always begin with the shortest box and work their way up. Box jumps improve cardio and quickly build leg muscles.
2. Squats. Squats are a great leg activity because you can do them virtually anywhere. Make sure your clients maintain good form when they are doing squats to prevent injury. Your clients' knees should never extend past their toes. Instead, they should keep all their weight in their heels as they squat. For an even more intense workout, have clients pulse at the bottom of the squat or hold it there for 10 seconds.
3. Straight-leg deadlift. Standing up straight, have members place two dumbbells (the amount of weight depends on the clients' ability) on the floor in front of their feet. Then they should hinge at the hips while keeping their back straight and bend over to grab the weights. Make sure they maintain tight glutes and core as they slowly lift their body and the weights back up to a standing position. This exercise will strengthen their glutes and help them push off with each step as they run.
4. Single-leg glute bridge. This is yet another exercise that targets glutes to provide a better push-off with each stride. Have your clients lie on their backs with their legs bent and feet flat on the ground in front of them. They should lift their hips into the air so there is a straight line going from their knees to ther neck. Then, they should extend one leg straight into the air, hold and put back down without lowering their bottom to the ground. Repeat with the other leg. You also can have them hold a dumbbell to their waist to make the exercise more difficult as they get stronger.
5. Plank. It is just as important to work the core as it is to strengthen leg muscles. A stronger core means a more stabilized body while running. A stronger core also makes it easier for people to improve their form when they get fatigued. To do a plank, clients should lie down on their stomach and prop themselves up onto their elbows, keeping their body straight for the entire exercise. Have clients hold the position for about 30 seconds without letting their body sag. If you want to make the exercise even harder, have them raise their left leg, holding it for a few seconds and lowering it. Repeat with the other leg, and continue switching off until the 30 seconds are up.
6. Modified bicycle. This exercise also will strengthen core muscles. Have clients lie on their back and extend one leg into the air so it is perpendicular to their torso. Have them lift their other leg a few inches off the ground and hold for three to four seconds, then have them switch legs and hold again. Your clients' lower back should never be arched during this exercise. They can always place their hands under the small of their back to make the exercise a bit easier.
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