What is The Best Form of Strength Training for Women Part 2
In Part 2 of this series, we look at strengthening the trunk and hips as well as strengthening the upper body.
The other major body part that requires strength training for running is the trunk and hip area commony known as the “core”. These muscles are not so obviously involved with running as the leg muscles, yet nonetheless serve a very important role in pelvis and trunk stabilisation and posture control.
Biomechanical research has shown that for the legs to work effectively in propelling the body, the pelvis and trunk must be rigid and supported by its muscles, otherwise the drive from the legs will be wasted.
These muscles are best trained with a combination of isometric or static exercises and slow controlled dynamic exercises, of small specific range.
Understanding your core: Your body’s core – the area around your trunk and pelvis – is where your center of gravity is located. A strong core gives you:
- Increased protection and “bracing” for your back.
- Controlled movement.
- A more stable center of gravity.
- A more stable platform for sports movements .
- When you have good core stability, the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen work in harmony. They provide support to your spine for just about any activity.
Superman Core (body weight)
Exercise Description: Superman
1) Start position:
Lie face down on floor with hands down at sides. You may place a rolled towel under forehead to clear face from floor.
2) Raise chest and head off floor keeping feet in contact with floor.
3) Return to start position.
4) To increase resistance, extend arms and place hands overhead.
5) Do not raise head past 8-12 inches – excessive hyperextension may cause injury. To vary exercise raise feet while raising trunk.
Crunch Core (body weight)
Exercise Description: Crunch
1) Start position: Lie back onto floor or bench with knees bent and hands behind head. Keep elbows back and out of sight. Head should be in a neutral position with a space between chin and chest.
2) Leading with the chin and chest towards the ceiling, contract the abdominal and raise shoulders off floor or bench.
3) Return to start position. Remember to keep head and back in a neutral position. Hyperextension or flexion of either may cause injury.
Training The Upper Body:
To complete the strength analysis, we must consider the upper body. This area is less important for 10k running, but for an all-body, balanced strength programme some upper body exercises should be included. Once again the emphasis should be on strength endurance.
A practical way to train the upper body without devoting too much time to it would be to cover most of the major upper body muscles in two or three exercises
Bench Dip Chest (bodyweight) Tricep (bodyweight)
Exercise Description: Bench Dip
1) Sit upright on bench and place hands hip width apart with fingers pointing forward. Place feet flat on opposite bench with legs straight.
2) Start position: Slide glutes off bench with elbows slightly bent.
3) Lower body by bending at elbows until they are at 90 degree angle.
4) Return to start position.
Chinup Lats (bodyweight)
Exercise Description: Chinup
1) Position hands shoulder width to slightly narrower than shoulder width apart with underhand grip (palms facing towards body).
2) Start position: Hang with arms fully extended and elbows forward. Feet may be crossed with knees bent.
3) Pull body up until bar is below chin level.
4) Return to start position.
5) Remember to keep the movement controlled with the body stable to minimize momentum and body sway. If the bar is too high, it is advisable to use a step to ensure proper hand placement as well as safety.
Standard Pushup Chest (bodyweight) Tricep (bodyweight)
Exercise Description: Standard Pushup
1) Lie face down on the floor with hands palm down, fingers pointing straight ahead, and aligned at the nipple line.
2) Place hands slightly wider than shoulder width, and feet should be at hip width with toes on floor.
3) Start position: Extend the elbows and raise the body off the floor.
4) Lower your entire body (legs, hips, trunk, and head) 4-8 inches from the floor.
5) Return to the start position by extending at the elbows and pushing the body up.
6) Remember to keep the head and trunk stabilized in a neutral position by isometrically contracting the abdominal and back muscles. Never fully lock out the elbows at the start position and avoid hyperextension of the low back.