Friday, February 9, 2018

Back in Mind

Back exercises and running surprisingly go hand in hand. If your running form needs improvement, it’s likely that your posture does too. Having a strong back will help propel you forward at a more efficient rate.

Lower Back

Superman’s

For this exercise, lay a yoga mat or towel on the ground. Start by lying down on your stomach. Raise your arms to your head, so your hands are placed at the back of your head. Your elbows should be bent and out to the sides. Lift your head off of the ground shortly followed by lifting your shoulders and chest. Your lower abdominals and legs should be the only body parts touching the mat. Hold the position for 5 seconds before resting and going into another rep.

Diagonals

Stay in the same starting position as the Superman’s. Place your arms straight out above your head. Then raise your right arm and your left leg and hold, then place them back down. Switch and raise your left arm and your right leg and hold, then place them back down. When you are comfortable pick up the speed in-between switches, until it’s one fluid motion. It’s almost as if you were pretending to swim on the land.

Bird Dogs

To start this exercise, get on your hands and knees. Start by reaching out with your left arm straight above your head and at the same time, extending your right leg straight back. This should be done at a slower speed. Once both are fully stretched out, hold the position. Slowly, bring your left arm and right leg back towards the starting position. You want to touch your left elbow to your right knee before returning both to the ground. After you completed your reps for this side switch sides, so that now your right arm raises forward and your left leg extends back. Hold, and then let your right elbow touch your left knee before setting them back on the ground.


                                                                                 image courtesy of healthyfocus.com


Child’s Pose

This is a nice stretch to release the tension in your lower back, and it’s a good way to end a lower back workout. Start on the ground on your hands and knees. Keeping your hands planted firmly on the ground, gently rock backwards until you are resting on your legs. Keep your head down and breathe deeply. Stay in this position until you feel properly stretched out.  



Upper Body

Renegade Row

These are extreme push-ups, so if your push-up game is not as strong yet hold off on this exercise. For this exercise, you will need two light dumbbells, choose a weight that is not effortless, but not tiring after a few reps. With your dumbbells close, get into a push up position. Move your dumbbells so they are directly underneath where you would place your hands. When you are comfortable, grab a dumbbell in each hand and do a push-up. When you are back in the starting push-up position, raise your right dumbbell by letting your right elbow bend backwards, then place it back down. Then do another push-up. Once you are back in starting position raise your left dumbbell until your hand is even with your chest. Two push-ups with both of the tricep curls is one complete rep. Try doing 10 and modify it if you need to.

Shoulder Squeeze

Start in a push-up position. Instead of going into a push-up, let your shoulders drop, so that they move closer together. Squeeze, hold, and then relax. It should feel like you are trying to arch your back in push-up position. Do 10 reps of these to strengthen your upper back.

Standing Rows

Choose a dumbbell weight that will work your arms and one that you can easily do reps with. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and slightly bend your knees. Keeping your back straight, bend your torso forward. Pull the weights up, so that your elbows stick up past your back, but your arms remain close to your body. Then lower your arms back down again. Make sure when you do this exercise not to round your back, this will undo the work of the exercise and creates the possibility for injury.

Hopefully with these exercises, your back will get and maintain the strength it needs to help you become a better runner and cyclist. Maintaining a strong back will help improve your posture and prevent injuries from occurring.


Happy Strengthening!

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