I love this time of the year! The days are getting a little longer and starting to get a little warmer; the grass is a little greener and the sky a little bluer. Of course you know what comes with spring time – RUNNING SEASON! Of course there is another way I can tell that running season is upon us: more and more injured runners start to trickle in to my physical therapy clinic. Whether you’re just getting into running or have done it for years, this time of the year usually brings an increased risk for injury just because people typically don’t run that much during the winter. Anytime you start or resume and activity after a long period of relative inactivity you run the risk of developing an overuse injury. But did you know that there are some things you can do right now that will actually mitigate your risk of injury and keep you running pain-free this season?! Today on Tone-and-Tighten.com I wanted to share with you 6 of the best exercises you can do to train and strengthen key running muscles. Get ready to lace up … cuz here we go!
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1. Squats – 3 sets of 10 reps
Great for the glutes and quads. Focus on keeping your knees right over your toes throughout the motion.
2. Star Lunges – 3 sets of 5 reps (each side)
First with your left foot – lunge straight forward and return to upright. Now lunge out at a 45 degree angle and return to upright. Now perform a side lunge to the left and return to upright. Now lunge at a 45 degree angle back behind you and return to upright, Finally perform a read lunge and return to upright. That counts as one rep on the left. Repeat on the right.
3. Side lying hip abduction – 3 sets of 10 reps (each side)
Targets one of the most important muscles in running to prevent knee pain – the hip abductors.
4. Bridges/single leg bridges – 3 sets of 15 reps
Strong glutes = a strong run. Also a great exercise for your lower back.
5. Side planks – Three x 30-second holds (each side)
And we’ll wrap things up with some oblique and hip abductor strengthening. Make sure you do these on each side to maintain equal strength.
6. Heel Raises – 3 sets of 25 reps
Do you regularly get shins splints? Heel raises can be a great exercise to combat against them! Make sure your calves and other lower leg muscles are strong enough to carry you the distance!
There you have it! Shoot to smash your way through this routine 3-4 times per week and you’ll be hitting the road stronger than ever in no time!
Make it happen,