Strength Training

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Elite runners consider regular strength and conditioning work a crucial part of their training. Three-time Olympian and physiotherapist Jo Pavey shares eight exercises for improving muscle strength and preventing injury

Side-lying leg lifts :-

To improve core stability and encourage the correct position of the pelvis when running. Lie on your side with your feet raised on a step. Keeping your elbow under your shoulder, push yourself up until your body is in a straight line. While maintaining this position, lift the top leg up and down with control. Then lower, and repeat on the other side.

Routine: Six reps on each side. Rest for a minute and repeat.

Single leg squat

To build strength, encourage good hip/knee alignment, and improve proprioception. Stand on a step on one foot. Hold the other foot out in front of you, leg straight at about 45 degrees. Fold your arms and hold them out in front of you. Squat down, making sure that your supporting knee does not go in front of your foot, and that it stays aligned.Return to the start position. Repeat

Routine: Eight reps on each leg. Rest for one minute and repeat.

Step-up with dumbbells.

To increase strength and promote good hip/knee alignment. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, place one foot on a bench, so that your knee is bent to about 90 degrees. Now straighten the leg, driving up with the opposite knee to hip height, so that you are balancing on one foot on the step. Don’t “push off” the foot on the floor – use the foot on the step to power the movement.

Routine: Eight reps on each leg. Rest for one minute and repeat.

Calf raises

To develop strength in the calf muscles and achilles tendon. Stand with your toes on the edge of a step, facing towards the step, so that your heels are hanging off the back. Use a wall for support. Keep your ankles, knees and hips in alignment. Push up through your toes on to the balls of your feet, hold for a moment, then lower in a slow, controlled movement.

Routine: Two sets of 10 reps with two minutes’ rest between sets.

Swiss ball sit-up

This is more challenging than a normal sit-up because the instability of the ball forces the core muscles to work harder. Lie on a Swiss ball with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Engage your core muscles, then curl your upper body towards a sitting position. Return slowly to the start position and repeat. Be careful not to overarch the spine.

Routine: Two sets of 10. Rest for one minute then repeat


To improve core stability and encourage use of the gluteal muscles to avoid the quadriceps dominating. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Engage your core. Keep your shoulders down, and contract your gluteal muscles to push your hips up in the air. Do not go beyond a straight line. Hold for a couple of seconds, then lower down slowly.

Routine: Two sets of eight with two minutes’ recovery between sets.

Single-arm row

To strengthen the upper body and encourage good shoulder alignment. Stand side-on to a bench with your closest hand and knee on the bench, back parallel to the floor (neck in line) and a dumbbell in your other hand, arm hanging straight down. Bend the arm to bring the weight up to the front of the shoulder. Keep the core engaged and don’t twist the body around.

Routine: Eight reps on each side. Rest for one minute and repeat

Alternating leg extension

To encourage good use of of the core stability muscles. Lie on your back, arms by your sides. Bend your knees with feet flat on the floor. Engage your core muscles. Lift one foot off the floor keeping your core engaged and spine in neutral. Extend the leg out slowly, then return to the start position. Repeat on the other leg.

Routine: Two sets of 10, alternating legs

Source: Life & Style Training programme- Fitness

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Exercise Tubing for Resistance Training

If you travel and need a convenient way to exercise without packing dumbbells, exercise tubing is an excellent alternative for creating resistance. With this one move, you’ll be able to train multiple muscles in your upper and lower body at the same time.

STEP-1. Grasp the handles at each end of the rubber tubing. Place your feet on the tubing as an anchor. Be sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, feet parallel to each other. Lower your arms by your sides. Inhale, lift your chest, and firm your abdominals in toward your spine.

STEP-2. On an exhalation, sit back into your heels, bend your knees and lower your hips into a squat position. Simultaneously, squeeze the muscles in the front of your upper arms (biceps) and bend your elbows, bringing your hands toward your chest. Keep your elbows down and hold the tubing taut for 2 seconds. Release by slowly lowering your arms (be sure not to let the tubing snap back quickly) and straighten your legs. Repeat eight to 12 times.

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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Cardio Exercise that Multi-Tasks

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A fun way to rev up your workout is to combine movements that raise your heart rate while working your legs and core. Try this move in a wide-open area.

Step 1 ..Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward. Hold a 5-pound dumbbell in front of your chest with arms straight out and a hand on each end of the dumbbell. Bend your knees into a squat and rotate your upper body to the right, keeping both arms straight and your knees facing front.

Step 2 ..Shift your weight to your left leg, straightening it as you lift your right knee in front of you. Simultaneously rotate your torso to the center, raising your arms above your head. Remember to keep your arms straight throughout the entire move. Step down and repeat the squat, rotating to your right for eight repetitions. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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