Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Strength Every Runner Should Do: Exercises with a Twist

When talking about body movements, there are three main planes of motion in which our body moves: the frontal plane (where we move laterally, or side-to-side), the sagittal plane (where we move forward and back) and the transverse plane (where we are moving in a twisting motion). Running is a forward and back activity and exercising in only this plane of motion is one of the main causes of overuse injuries. Add in most strength moves like squats and forward and reverse lunges and you're adding insult to possible injury. Sometimes we runners will add in some lateral moves like side lunges, some drills like speed skaters and the like. We need to add in the third plane of motion (transverse, or rotational exercises) to really round out our routine and give our body the chance to move with full range of motion. We rotate all-day long in our everyday routine- turning to check for traffic or turning to hand something to the kids in the backseat, for example. It's important to strengthen the muscles involved with rotational motion at the shoulders, hips and throughout the spine. This helps not only prevent injury, but add variety to your workout routine.

My favorite rotational exercise is the low-to-high chop. You can use a weighted medicine ball, dumbbell, gallon of milk, or nothing at all. Master the initial movement and then add weight to progress. You’ll start standing with feet about hip width apart, maybe a little wider. You’re holding your weight (if using one) in your hands. Squat back (weight in your heels, knees behind toes), and twist left to hold the weight on the outside of your left leg. Exhale, and lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with the weight above your head. Pivot on your left foot as needed. Really focus on the rotation initiating in your torso and don’t let your arms holding the weight dictate the move. This is all about rotating at the torso. Twist back to the starting position. This completes one rep. Do 12 reps on each side. So, you’ll do 12 reps starting with the weight down at your left side and then you’ll do 12 reps with the weight starting at your right side.





Alternating side planks is a great way to add rotation at the spine, hips and shoulders. Begin in a plank position with your feet in line with your hips, shoulders over elbows, elbows over hands. You can do this with straight arms or on your forearms. Forearm plank rotations is definitely more challenging. Twist to the left, reaching your left arm to the ceiling without letting your pelvis rise or lower. Aim to stack your shoulders on top of one another. Return to plank position, bringing your hand back to the floor. This completes one rep. Do 12 reps to start.




I also like to add rotation in general strength moves, such as a forward lunge with a twist. You can do forward lunges in place or do walking lunges. To begin, hold a medicine ball, or other weight if using one, in front of you with elbows bent about 90 degrees. You may want to begin this exercise with no weight and build up your strength over time. Step forward with your left foot into a lunge position. Be sure to keep your knee over your left foot and don't twist at the knee. Shoulders are broad, chest is open and core is engaged. From your torso, twist your upper body to the left (towards the front leg). Come back to starting position and lunge forward with the right leg and twist towards the right. This is one rep. Do 12 reps on each side to begin and progress either by adding weight or reps but not both at the same time.



Lastly, you can add some rotation into your dynamic warm-up routine by adding windmills. Stand with your feet winder than hip width apart. Depending on your hamstrings, you may want a slight bend at the knee. Bend forward at the hips while rotating toward the left. Your right arm will be straight down between your feet and your left arm will be up in the air. You're aiming to stack your shoulders. Return to starting position and then rotate towards the right. You can do this for about 30 seconds as part of your warm up before your workout.



Adding in some rotational moves will definitely add some variety and help you prevent injury. You'll become a stronger, more well-rounded runner for it! 

I'm linking up with Susie from the Suzlyfe, Lora Marie from Crazy Running Girl, Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs and Rachel from Running on Happy for the Coaches' Corner blog link up. Check these awesome ladies when you're done here!



I'm also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole at Fitful Focus. Check these badass women out!

20 comments:

  1. This is fantastic! I do a lot of those rotational exercises, thee wood chop one is my fave too.

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    1. I love the variations of the chop too! Yay for rotational exercises!

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  2. Can you teach me the basic move? I want to make sure my form etc is correct!

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  3. Rotational training is so great...I love that feeling in my core! Thanks for linking up with us!

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    1. Thanks so much for hosting the link up. And YAY for rotational training!!

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  4. I wouldn't do those at my house, but I like to use the medicine ball when I am at the gym to do a few of those moves.

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    1. You'll definitely see benefits doing these once or twice a week! Hope you give them a try!

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  5. I don't do any of these moves... Why don't I? I'm going to start. Thank you!

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    1. LOL! I hope you like them if you give them a try! You'll definitely feel a difference!

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  6. Yes to ALL of them! I have all of my clients do these (thanks for making me feel like I'm #onit)

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    1. Nice work, Coach! You are totally #onit!

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  7. You're so right, it's important to do those rotational moves. I used to love using the Nike+ app because they would always incorporate the chops and medicine ball twists...I need to get back at it!

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    1. That's great! It's worth the effort to add this type of exercise to your workouts!

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  8. oooo- the side plank. Hate it, but love it!

    Jen
    jpabstfitness.com

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  9. These are great exercises. Where did you get your weighted medicine ball?

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    1. I get my workout equipment primarily through companies that work with NASM (where my personal trainer certification is from) because they offer great discounts to PTs. But I like medicine balls from SPRI and Perform Better. This one is specifically a slam ball that is dead weight and doesn't bounce when you throw it against something.

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