3 Easy Bodyweight Exercises To Avoid Injury
These simple exercises could slash your chance of running injury
Running is a fantastic way to tone and strengthen your lower body, but all running and no strength work leaves you open to imbalance. Bodyweight exercises don’t need a gym. They can be done at home with no equipment – just your own body, and a bit of space.
The benefit of doing a few bodyweight exercises every week include strength, power, posture, and a more balanced running style – plus less likelihood of injury. Strengthen your hips, hamstrings and core with these simple bodyweight exercises.
5 Reasons To Love Bodyweight Exercises
1 – proven to improve your running speed and power
2 – help develop a better, more balanced running style
3 – strengthen your lower body to reduce risk of injury
4 – help burn more calories, protect your bones, and stay leaner
5 – strengthen key running muscles – hamstrings, hips, glutes
The Nordic Hamstring Curl
How to do it:
Start kneeling on the floor with your feet secured at the ankles (put your feet under the sofa, or get someone to hold your feet). Lean forwards from the hips, keeping your spine aligned and your back straight. Go as far you can without falling, then drop to the floor landing in a press up position (hands under shoulders). Press yourself back up to the start.
Make it easier: hold some kind of stick in front of you with both hands so you have support as you lower down
Make it harder: lower down to the ground without using your hands
How to do it:
Lie on your back with your feet hip-width apart and about 10 inches from your bottom. Put your hands by your sides, palms down. Tilt your pelvis up so your lower back presses into the floor, then lift your bottom (press into your feet). Imagine your spine lifting off the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Once you are resting on your upper back and feet, think about lifting your hips up. Hold for 3 seconds, then lower slowly – working through the entire spine.
Make it easier: support your hips with your hands as you hold the move at the top
Make it harder: lift one leg in turn as you hold the move at the top.
How to do it:
Get into a plank position on your hands and feet, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Look slightly ahead of you, so your entire spine is in a straight line. Push up through your shoulders and lift your tummy, so you don’t sag in the middle (this will protect your back). Lift one foot off the ground and bring that knee into your chest, curling your back round like a crunch. Bring your head towards the knee. Straighten the leg back out and repeat 6-8 times. Swap to the other side.
Make it easier: reset in the plank position between each knee-tuck
Make it harder: lift the opposite hand out in front of you and bring the elbow in to meet the knee with each “tuck”
How Often To Do Bodyweight Exercises
Aim for 1-2 times per week, doing 6-8 repetitions of each exercises, for 3 sets. This should take no more than 20 minutes each time.