You’re only hurting yourself in the gym if you do the wrong exercises; ones that don’t develop muscle groups that are involved in running (like bench press or military press). When lifting, you want to focus on stabilizing muscles in your legs and your core – pay only some attention to your arms and shoulders. Below is a list of exercises that improve form and prevent injury during the season.
Odds are, you often feel stiff in the beginning of the season, feeling slightly spry during the last few weeks of training after weeks of intense speed work.
Implementing different squat exercises throughout the season will give you that spry feel all season long rather than at the beginning of the season, giving you more comfort and confidence throughout early season races.
Planks have become popular lately, and for a good reason. Stability in your core is key to excellent form and feeling stronger at the end of races. During the last stretch of a strenuous mile or 5 mile race, your body may cramp up or you may break form because stabilizing muscles in your core have fatigued.
To do planks, prop your body up with your elbows on the floor and your feet slightly apart – make sure your lower back isn’t sagging to the floor. Hold this position for up to 3 minutes for maximum benefit. You may find that you can only hold for around 30 seconds your first plank. That’s fine. Keep at it for a few weeks and you’ll notice a huge difference in how you hold up during races.
Unlike most lifting exercises, deadlifting works almost every muscle in your body.
It’s hard, efficient, and is the quickest way to see results in your running. If you lack speed, deadlifting can improve your speed because it strengthens your fast-twitch muscles.
Also, your hamstrings, an important muscle for having better sprinting speed, is targeted during this exercise. Out of every exercise on this list, implement deadlifting first. You will see a huge difference in strength and speed during races.
This one’s obvious. Push-ups are used in almost every form of athletic training because of how effectively they work your arms, chest and core. As a runner, you don’t want to put on too much upper body weight during training. Push-ups are the best way to improve upper body strength without equipment or weights. You can do them any time, preferably in the morning or after a run.
Regular crunches don’t cut it as an effective exercise. This is because they target a small group of muscles in your upper abdomen and don’t work anything else. Bicycle crunches, on the other hand, work your entire core.
To do this exercise, your torso should be off the ground and your hands should be behind your head. Move one leg toward your chest while your other leg remains straight hovering inches from the ground. When one knee reaches your chest, move your torso so that the opposite elbow touches your knee. Alternate each leg and elbow with each rep. Like push-ups, you don’t need equipment for this exercise, and it is best done after running.
Lifting is the best way to improve your form and develop an edge on the competition. Try these exercises with your training for injury prevention, form improvement, and better speed during races.