You get your miles in, but do you enough strength, core or flexibility work? In the second of a series of non-running workouts for runners, fitness coach Donald Maxwell suggests a basic routine to work your coreWith Russian twists, the key is quick changes of direction. Photograph: Alamy
The aim of this series of 12 columns is simple: to provide short but effective routines on top of your running to make you a better athlete. Last week I discussed the importance of strength and core work for runners, and cited a recent Guardian interview with Mo Farah where he stressed how much he had improved since working more on these areas.This video shows exactly the sort of routines he does, and it is pretty impressive stuff. Whatever standard of runner you are, training the core will help your pelvis, hips, abs and lower back work together better during movement. As well as preventing injury, core strength training also improves balance and stability.
To start, do this workout once through, two or three times a week, resting when you need to. It should take around five minutes. If you can do it without stopping, even better. If you find it too easy, do it twice. There will be harder version in the weeks ahead.
One-legged deadlifts (bodyweight) x 6 on each leg
Holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in one hand, slowly lean forward while standing on one leg (keeping the knee soft). Descend until you feel the stretch in the hamstring of the standing leg, and come slowly back to an upright position.
Russian twists x 20 seconds
Sitting in a “V position” holding a medicine ball, turn and twist to tap the floor on either side of you. Make sure to face the direction you’re twisting towards and do it quickly; it’s the quick change of direction that’s doing the work here. It’s a massive pet hate of mine when I see people doing this exercise slowly while facing forward.
Pikes (using one hand for balance) x 8 on each side
Get into a side plank position with the elbow directly below the shoulder and one foot on top of the other. Distribute as little or as much weight on a supporting hand as you like. Now raise your hips to the ceiling for a count of one, and bring it down for two.
Rotational planks x 5 on each side
Get into a plank position with the palms flat and the feet together; then rotate the body round on to the side of your feet, extending the arms and looking up towards the ceiling. Be sure to keep the abdomen tight and the hips up so the body is straight. Remember to breathe!
Superman crunches x 10
Lie flat on your back with the knees bent and feet flat. Extend the arms with your fists together. Then raise your fists towards the ceiling while keeping the arms straight and bringing yourself down slowly to the floor without resting the head.
Leg raises (on the floor) x 10
Lie on the floor on your back with arms (palms down) extended outwards at 45 degrees. Raise the legs (straight and feet together) as quickly or slowly as you like, but slowly on the way down. You can touch the floor (merely to gauge distance), but don’t rest.
source: The Guardian By Donald Maxwell
Donald Maxwell is a personal trainer with an MSc in sport performance enhancement.