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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Best Injury Preventive Exercises For Developing Power in Runners and Athletes

As you ramp up your training to get that body you want for summer, keep in mind that preventive tactics will play a key role in your success at reaching your goals!

No one likes getting hurt! Little nags, strains, and pains are not fun to deal with and can be upsetting to many who are training hard and working towards a big accomplishment.

NO WORRIES! I am here to give you a few GREAT exercises to help prevent any injury a runner, biker, or everyday fitness enthusiast might battle. See, when you run, you miss IMPORTANT muscles. Actually, the most most and strongest ones in your body, the glutes! So forgoing any preventive exercises can quickly put you on the injured reserve list for a few weeks!

So, the exercises all revolve around bridges! Yes, simple exercises such as bridges are the foundation to a strong running form and desired core strength to keep you pain free! I will list a few in order of difficulty, and hope that you will take a few minutes each day to try some!

That way, once you ramp up your training, you will be stronger than ever while your training partner who didn't do any preventive exercises is battling IT problems and a bad hamstring strain. Take them seriously, and please let me know if you want more, because I spend a good amount of time in my Rush sessions going over these tactics to keep my runners strong and injury free!

With bridging, it’s important to use the glutes and hamstrings to raise the hips and not flex the lumbar spine. If you feel a lot of pressure in your lower back when performing these exercises, then you are most likely flexing the spine instead of firing the glutes and hamstrings, which are the muscles that you should be using to keep your hips up.

Isometric Bridge

Lay on your back with your hands at your sides and palms facing down. Bend your legs so that your feet are flat on the ground.

Fire your glutes by driving your heels into the ground to raise your hips. Your hips should create a straight line from the knee through the hip and shoulder. Again, maintain this position by firing the glutes (driving the heels into the ground) and not flexing the lumbar spine. You should feel it mainly in your glutes and hamstrings, not your back. At the top point, draw in the abdominals (pull your belly button toward your spine) and hold.

Do three sets of 30 second holds. If your legs fatigue and your hips drop before the 30 seconds, reduce each set to 15 seconds.



                                                                   
 Single Leg Bridge

Do not attempt this exercise until you can consistently complete the Isometric Bridge for 3 sets of 30 seconds.

Start in the same position as the Isometric Bridge, except you are going to extend one leg off the ground, straight out in front of you. Fire the glute by driving the heel into the ground. Raise your hips so that you create a straight line from the knee to the hip and through the shoulder. Draw in your abdominals and hold this position by continuing to drive the foot down like your were trying to put a hole in the floor. Keep the outstretched leg in a stationary position.

Do three sets of 15 seconds with each leg. If your legs fatigue and your hips drop before the 15 seconds, reduce each set to 10 seconds.


The next two exercises progress to using a Physioball to aid in the bridging exercises. The use of a Physioball increases the difficulty of the exercise by requiring higher levels of balance and stabilization within glutes, hamstrings and hips.

                         
Stability Ball Bridge

Lie on your back with your feet on the ball, with the toes dorsiflexed. Fire the glutes by driving your heels into the ball. Raise your hips so that only your head, shoulders and arms are touching the floor. There should be a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Draw in the abdominals and hold this position.

Do three sets of 20 second holds. If your legs fatigue and your hips drop before the 20 seconds, reduce each set to 10 seconds.


                             
Alternating Bridge
Do not attempt this exercise until you can consistently complete the Stability Ball Bridge for 3 sets of 20 seconds.

Follow the same procedure as the Stability Ball Bridge. Once your hips are elevated, lift one leg so that the heel is an inch or two above the opposite toe. Hold each lift for 2 seconds.

Do three sets of 10 2-second holds (5 each leg). If your legs fatigue and your hips drop before you complete the entire set, then reduce each set to a total of 6 2-second holds (3 each leg).


                                                                
There you have it! Keep your "powerhouse" of your body nice and strong with these simple exercises!

Remember, these are a FEW of the many I perform in Rush to help prevent injuries in my runner so please message or call and get started this week!


Admit to – and learn from – your mistakes. Mistakes must be viewed positively…because with the knowledge you gain from them, you are able to achieve the best things in your life. Without the lows in life, the highs would never really seem that high.



Mike Over
CPT / Strength & Conditioning Specialist
www.mjofitness.com

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