Chiropractic Physical Medicine

Base Strength Exercises for Running

At Aligned Modern Health we understand the importance of cross training for runners. Cross training can activate specific muscle groups that will help give you strength, mobility, activation, range of motion, and the correct pattern movement to keep you injury free and performing at your best.

Here is a set of exercises everyone can easily do at home with no equipment.

The thought process here is to activate the core with joint centration with the first 3 exercises and then go through basic efficient movements that support long sessions of sagittal plane movement. The exercises provided here help mimic what the whole body needs to do for long distance running.

The pushups and reverse fly are utilized for the push and press motions we do – to round out the whole body.

It’s important to have an overall strong body. Any weak areas lead to other muscles compensating which then leads to injuries.

Always remember to move steadily and do these exercises with quality. Exercises done too quickly with poor movement pattern can result in injury.

Don’t forget to breathe. Find a nice rhythm to your breathing. For example, as you squat down inhale, and as you stand up exhale. Aim to breathe through your diaphragm, or belly. Belly breathing allows you to have a supported breath while engaging your core muscles. Too much chest breathing tends to tighten up your neck and shoulders and lead to poor form.

 

Front Plank

Why:

Front planks are great for the core. They help the core resist from curling forward. When you get fatigued in running, the first thing to go is your form. Planks are a great anti-flexion core exercise to keep your form strong during those long runs. 

How to:

Position yourself face down, on your knees and hands (or elbows). Establish a neutral spine and shoulder blades flushed into the upper back then bring both feet back to hold the plank position. You should not be bent at your hip and putting your glutes in the air. It’s also important not to have your pelvis sagging downwards either. Squeeze your core.

Suggested workout:

Begin by holding a plank for 30 seconds for 3 sets, with a 30 second rest in between each set. Work your way up from 30 seconds up to 60 seconds.

 

Dead Lift

Why:

Deadlifts are great because they work the whole body. They help strengthen your glutes and lower back as well as strengthen and elongate your hamstrings. Deadlifts help power your posterior chain, which drives your forward motion.

How to:

Begin by standing and reaching your glutes backward by hinging at the hip. Think, “reach back, not sit down.” You should not be bending your knees as you would in a squat – knees should stay above your heels. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings as you hinge back. Keep your back and neck straight and together in one line. Squeeze your glutes to stand back up.

Suggested workout:

Begin by doing 3 sets of 5 deadlifts. Form is extremely important here. Work your way up from 5 reps up to 10 reps.

 

Single Leg Dead Lift

Why:

Once you have worked on regular two-leg deadlifts, it is good to incorporate single leg dead lifts. Single leg deadlifts focus on hip strength and core control unilaterally. This mimics the stride of running with an emphasis on glute strength.

How to:

Standing on one leg, reach forward with your hands while reaching back with the opposing leg. Maintain a neutral spine and level hips throughout the whole motion. Return to the start position.

Suggested workout:

Begin by doing 3 sets of 5 deadlifts. Form is extremely important here. Work your way up from 5 reps up to 10 reps. Don’t forget to work both sides.

 

Reverse Lunge

Why:

Reverse Lunge is a great exercise for runners because it focuses on overall leg strength unilaterally while mimicking the stride.

How to:

While standing on both feet and staying tall, reach back with one leg into a lunge position, and then return to the starting position. Repeat using the opposite leg.

Suggested workout:

Begin by doing 3 sets of 5 lunges, alternating each leg with a 30 second rest in between each set. Work your way up from 5 reps up to 10 reps.

 

Push Ups

Why:

Push-ups are an all encompassing strengthening exercise that develops the core, upper body strength, and ankle mobility.

How to:

You can do the push-up beginning in a plank on your hands and either on your knees or the balls of your feet. Lower down with your elbows close to your body. Go down to at least where your arms are at 90 degrees. Keeping a neutral spine, push away extending your arms from the ground.

Suggested workout:

Begin by doing 3 sets of 5 push-ups with a 30 second rest in between each set. Work your way up from 5 reps up to 20 reps.

 

Hinge Position Reverse Flies

Why:

Hinge position reverse flies are great because they strengthen the hips while also working the mid-back muscles that aide in upright posture while running.

How to:

While standing, reach your hips as far back as possible, allowing the knees to bend, and keep a neutral spine. With your hands out in front of you, open both arms up to a straight line while squeezing your shoulder blades. Aim for 3 sets of 10.

Suggested workout:

Begin with 3 sets of 5 with a 30 second rest in between each set. Work your way up to 3 sets of 10 reps.

 

Air Squats

Why:

Squats are essential because they target the whole lower body, including your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back. Squats support your body for long runs, helping you stay injury free.

How to:

Begin standing with your feet at a comfortable distance apart. Drop your hips to the floor while standing tall, and only go as far down as you can before you lose a neutral spine. Stand up while squeezing your glutes once you hit your end range. 

Suggested workout:

Begin by doing 3 sets of 10 reps with a 30 second rest in between each set. Work your way up from 10 reps up to 20 reps.

 

Glute Bridge

Why:

Glute Bridges are a great exercise because they isolate glue activation, which can help you turn on the hips before running.

How to:

Start on your back, with knees bent and feet on the ground approximately shoulder width apart. Your feet should be as close to your hips as possible for maximum glute activation. Engage your core muscles, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips towards the sky before lowering back down.

Suggested workout:

Begin by doing 3 sets of 10 reps with a 30 second rest in between each set. Work your way up from 10 reps up to 20 reps.

 

If you’re looking to become a better runner, get motivation, and to share your passion with others, our partners at Chicago Endurance Sports and Fleet Feet Chicago.offer a variety of training programs and running clubs.

Before you jump in, stop by one of our several locations throughout Chicago and surrounding suburbs for a free sports movement assessment. Our team of integrative medicine experts can help you resolve anything that is holding you back from preforming your best! 

We are proud to offer Chicago’s best sports rehab with a full team that provides Chiropractic Physical Medicine, Functional Medicine & Clinical Nutrition, Acupuncture, and Massage Therapy!

Click here to schedule a free consultation today!

 

About Chiropractic Physical Medicine

Chiropractic Care is a safe, non-invasive course of treatment that can be used as a first line of defense against pain. At Aligned Modern Health, Chiropractic Care is about finding the correct diagnosis and treating the root cause. Our Chicago Chiropractors take pride in helping each patient progressively achieve their goals and live life to the fullest. Whether you’re an endurance athlete, a new or expectant mom, someone who works long hours at a desk job, or anyone in between, it’s our mission to ensure that you can live with less pain, prevent further injury or reoccurrence, and continue to enjoy everything you love.