Winter can be the best time of the year to focus on fitness. By taking your training indoors you can focus on new muscles, create time to stretch, and build strength to increase your speed come spring time. Just ask the pros - or sit back and take notes because we did for you! Below you will find key workouts from experts we know and trust who are excited to share their favorite workouts with you. And you can snatch up their indoor styles at Take it Inside.
Oiselle's Pro Training Group in Bend, OR
Put the incline on .5-1% to better simulate the muscles used while running on land. Some people like to run before they lift, but our team always runs afterwards so we can be fresh for weights and learn to use our endurance on the run by being a little more tired going into it.
Start with a front plank on your hands and then rotate up onto one hand and twist your spine to reach your other hand toward the ceiling, getting most of the rotation from above the hips, then come back to a plank slowly and rotate the other direction. Repeat 5-10 x per side. This is good for core strength while challenging your body with rotation.
This is an amazing full body exercise and you can start with a bar with no weight on it. It's best to watch a youtube video or two for proper form, but the basics are you hinge at the waist without bending your back at all to lower the bar along your legs to the knees or just below, and then you push through your heals and thrust your hips forward using your 100% booty. We don't lift the bar from the floor, as is traditional, but as runners you get tons of benefit from lifting from a rack at about knee height.
Hanging Knee Raises
Hang from a bar anywhere in the gym. Without allowing your body to sway back and forth, bring your knees up to your chest one at a time while keeping the other leg completely straight and pointed at the floor, and then alternate 12 x each leg. Then take a break and do 12 x knee to chest and back down with both legs at the same time. In order to avoid swaying, you have to activate the muscles in your whole body, from your hands to your shoulders to your back to your tummy.
Plyo Box Jump Ups and Jump Overs
These are great for building power, speed, and spiking your metabolism! Place a plyo box or one of those adjustable step aerobics things in an open space. Start with a short box and work your way up. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and then quickly load your legs up and double leg hop up onto the box, landing pretty quietly and then stand up straight. Step back down slowly one leg at a time and repeat 10-15 x. For the next exercise, load up your legs the same way and double leg hop up and over the entire box to land on the other side softly, bending the knees to absorb the shock on landing, and then stand up straight. You can do back to back boxes in a row, and higher boxes with practice!
Do a front plank on your elbows and then without moving your torso, lift up one hand and reach it forward straight front of you to lightly touch the ground and then place your elbow back into plank position. Alternate this way left and right. 15 seconds is challenging at first for most, and practice working your way up to 30 seconds.
If you have a gym buddy, set up two bosu balls 3 or 4 feet apart and each of you balance on one leg. Then like playing chicken on someones shoulders as a kid in the pool, use your hands to try to slap the other person off their bosu ball! Anything goes! Repeat best of 7. If you are alone, balance on one leg on a bosu ball and move a medicine ball around with your arms to challenge your balance. Work up to 1 minute per leg.
Yup, it's that time of year again. The time that every magazine out there starts talking about the "best exercise runners should do this winter"...and in a few more weeks, this will turn into "the best exercise you can do to run yourself into a fast 2015!" Well, I'm going to take an opposite slant here. You see, as runners, we have to remember two things. First, exercise for wellness and for performance can be (and should be) fun! Second, running is a pretty linear activity. It's a lot of the same thing over and over. And that doesn't develop the body comprehensively. Well-rounded athletes learn new skills, news ways to develop strength and coordination, and this all translates into improving your running stride.
So what should you do this winter? Here's a challenge - find something fun, that you HAVEN'T done yet. About half of you likely already do yoga or go to the gym, let's think beyond that. Maybe try some rock climbing at an indoor rock gym? Cross country skiing anyone? How about joining a master's swim team in your area? Already a swimmer....try water polo! Sure, new challenges are always scary. But facing challenges, and growing from them helps our mind as well as our body. And you might even have fun while doing it!
Winter is a great time to get after it at the gym, but don't forget that recovery is just as important and equally as productive as your workouts. Dedicating just five minutes to re-lengthening tired muscles and calming your nervous system will significantly impact the way you recover, and ultimately the way you feel and perform — not to mention avoid injuries. Legs Up the Wall is optimal post-sweat sesh because it recirculates the blood and helps to drain excess fluid front your legs, stretches your hammies, relaxes your low back, and much more. So, get after some Legs Up the Wall this season!
Hit Reset Like a Pro:
- Just what it sounds like: Lie on your back and put your legs up a wall.
- Get as close to the wall as you comfortably can with your butt still on the floor.
- Keep your knees bent a little and turn your feet away from each other slightly.
- If your legs feel like they’re “engaging,” back away from the wall until it feels easier.
- Your neck should be able to rest in neutral aka if your chin is higher than your forehead when you lie down, put a towel or sweatshirt under your head to help lengthen the back of your neck (believe me, this is worth it).
- Rest your arms in a goalpost shape or along your sides with your palms facing up.
- Breathe deeply.
Oiselle Pro Runner
When the temps go down, often times so does motivation. I use winter as an excuse to get in more strength work at the gym. The gym is warm and you can work up quite the sweat by strength training. My go to exercises for building a strong core, back, and hips include:
- Single Leg Squats
- Bird Dogs
- Planks - front, side, supine
- Dead Bugs - lie on your back with legs up at a 90 degree angle dropping your legs forward with option to hold a ball and reach your arms back. The key is to keep your ribs down, core engaged so your back is flat on the ground.
These are basic body weight exercises that if done with proper technique should ward off injuries and keep the most important component to you running, the core, strong. I would go to the gym to perform these 5 days a week, devoting 30-45 minutes. The key is to keep your ribs down, core engaged so your back is flat on the ground. Start with 2 sets of 20-30 sec planks, 2 sets of 10 reps of: bird dogs, dead bugs, lunges and single leg squats.
Family Doctor and Running Coach
Eccentric Hamstring Exercise
Concentrate on firing glute of planted leg throughout motion. Extend posterior leg up to parallel with ground. 3 sets of 10-15, start without weight until perfect form, then gradually add weight until 15 pounds each hand. 2-3x/week. (First in video)
Eccentric Calf Raises, otherwise known as stair drops.
One-legged stance, keep foot flat, slowly drop heel over edge as low as it will go, then raise back to flat. Start with 3 sets of 10 each leg, once you get to 3 sets of 50 each leg you will be superwoman! 3-4x/week. (3rd in video)