9 home exercises to help improve your jogging

Strength building is crucial in preventing injury and can help to improve or maintain running form through better coordination.

For runners, strength building would largely focus on exercises which build muscle endurance, such as lifting light weights or using body weight to perform high-repetition exercises.

Improved upper-body strength can help reduce the load on your lower body during runs. A strong upper body, coupled with strong stabiliser muscles, can help to maintain good running form and support in forward movement during each stride.

A weak upper body may result in rotation of the upper torso, which causes loss of stability and the body may have to work harder to ensure a proper running posture, which translates to wasted energy.

As runners, our leg muscles need to be strong in order to improve our balance and running form. Our thigh muscles play an important role in stabilising our knees to reduce injury and also help to absorb the shock from each stride.

These exercises will help to target the essential muscle groups and improve your running form.

UPPER BODY AND STABILISERS

1. PUSH-UPS

(3 sets of 15-20 repetitions)

2. HIGH BIRD DOG PLANK

(3 sets of 10 reps)

How to do:

  • Get into a push-up position, hands shoulder width apart.
  • Raise one arm and the opposite leg off the ground and hold them straight for 3-5 seconds.
  • Return your arm and leg to the starting position.
  • Do the same with your other arm and opposite leg.
  • Repeat the sequence.

3. SINGLE-LEG BRIDGE

(3 sets of 15 reps for each leg)

How to do:

  • Lie face up on the floor with knees bent, feet flat on floor, arms resting at sides.
  • Extend right leg straight out, keeping both knees in line.
  • Press through left heel to lift hips up towards ceiling, then slowly lower back down.
  • Complete reps, then repeat on the other leg.

4. SIDE-LYING LEG LIFT

(3 sets of 30 reps on each leg)

How to do:

  • Lie on right side with legs extended out straight. Place your right hand under your head.
  • Lift left leg up while keeping your hips steady and facing forward (do not rotate backwards).
  • Lower leg and repeat. Do the same for the other leg. Note: Place a resistance band around ankles for a challenge.

LOWER BODY

5. SQUATS

(3 sets of 20 reps)

6. SIDE TO SIDE SKATERS

(3 sets 20 reps)

How to do:

  • Standing with your legs hip-width apart, with hips and knees slightly bent.
  • Shift your weight onto your left leg and lift your right foot off the ground.
  • Bend your left (standing) knee to lower your hips a few centimetres, push explosively off your left foot before landing on your right foot.
  • After you land, bring your left leg towards your right ankle without it touching the floor.
  • Repeat for the other side. Note: You should jump as far as possible so that when you land, you immediately take off again to the other side. For an added challenge, touch the floor with your hand at very rep. The deeper you go, the more you will have to activate your hip flexor muscles.

7. STEP UP WITH KNEE RAISE

(3 sets of 15 reps for each leg)

How to do:

  • Find a chair or bench and place it in front of you. Ensure the platform is stable.
  • Step up on the platform with your left leg. Lift your right knee and raise it in front of you into the air.
  • Step down with your right leg. Repeat exercise with the same leg and switch upon completion of the number of repetitions.

8. LUNGES

(3 sets of 20 reps)

How to do:

  • Stand in a split stance with the right foot forward and the left leg back. Feet should be about 0.6m to 1m apart. The split stance will require balance, so hold on to a wall or chair if you feel unstable. Before you lunge, make sure your torso is straight and toes are pointing straight towards the front.
  • Bend the knees and lower the body down until the back knee is a few centimetres from the floor. Both knees at 90 deg angle.
  • At the end of the movement, the front thigh should be parallel to the floor and the back knee should point towards the floor. The weight should be evenly distributed between both legs.
  • Push back up, keeping the weight on the heel of the front foot.
  • Complete reps, then repeat for the other leg.

9. SIDE LUNGES

(3 sets of 20 reps)

How to do:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, facing front.
  • Shift your weight to your right leg and lower your body, bending your right knee. Ensure your knee is not in front of your toe line and push your butt back.
  • Raising yourself all the way to standing position, shift your weight to your left side.
  • Alternate back and forth between sides. 

Loh Guo Pei

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