Tag Archives: core strength

Five Favorite Stability Ball Workouts

As much as I love to just run, I know my aging body needs a balance of running and core strength work.  Right now, I am enjoying some easy miles a few times a week and adding in more core and strength workouts before I start rebuilding my base mileage for early spring 10ks and half marathons. Honestly, it is a mental challenge at times to commit to consistent, daily and weekly workouts that strengthen my core, improve my balance and my flexibility.  However, I know how important all those pieces are to my continued running success.

stability-ball-graphic

Stability Ball-Perfect for Balance and Strength

Lately, the stability ball has kept me focused, engaged and motivated to incorporate core strength workouts into my weekly running schedule.  I have a few “Go-to” Stability Ball Exercises that I rounded up from this SITE

  1. Wall Squat-Great for strengthening back and quads- 5 Reps, 1 minute each
  2. Bridge-Focus on the Hips- 5 Reps, 1 minute each
  3. Pike-Love this SITE for proper form and technique
  4. Ball Leg Lifts- Great video HERE
  5. Reverse Lunge- Check out this VIDEO  for proper form and technique

Finally, this is a good set of exercises with the Stability Ball that I have kept me engaged and motivated to be more consistent with core and strength training!

How do you fit in core strength to your weekly running routine?  What is your “must have” piece of equipment for core and strength training?  

-MaineGirl2Runs-

Friday Fitness: Favorite Exercise Equipment

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Training Update and a Focus on Core Fitness and Strength Training-  The month of April {four weeks}, I spent focusing on building in more base mileage.  The goal was to reestablish a strong base and increase aerobic endurance.  In the aerobic phase, it is all about increasing stamina and endurance.  My mileage increased, but I was keeping my pace in the “low heart rate zone.”   I ran easy miles each week, focusing on 6 to 7 miles, three times a week, as well as a long run of 10 miles.  Typical weekly mileage right now is around 27-30 miles a week.

Towards the beginning of May, I reevaluated the amount of time I was spending on my core and strength training.  I must admit, I am not always great about making core and strength training a priority.  In order to finish strong, you must train strong!

Two weeks ago, I met with a personal fitness trainer.  Through working with her, I have learned some great core and strength exercises that utilize minimal equipment.  We focused on sets of exercises that targeted many areas at once, called compound exercises.  I really enjoyed my sessions with this local, personal fitness trainer.  However, weekly sessions can  be a bit expensive for my budget.  So, I am adding some key equipment to my personal home gym.  

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 Equipment Favorites: Core and Strength Training 

Stability Ball stability ball

  • 8 Stability Ball Exercises– The stability ball is a great addition to planks and push -ups.  I have found these challenging, but know that these are key exercises to strengthening my core! Be sure to check out the stability ball exercises link above!  There are so many ways to incorporate the stability ball into any core strength exercise routine!

 

Bosu Stability Ball

  • Check Out These Bosu Exercises for Runners–  The Bosu Ball is another versatile piece of exercise equipment.  Standing Leg workouts and bridges are just a few key strength exercises for the legs and glutes!  This piece of equipment is currently on my Wish List!!

bosu ball

 

Resistance Bands

  • Strength Training with Resistance Bands–  I love using resistance bands to complete exercises like the “Monster Walks” which help to strengthen the glutes!  Check out the above link for various exercises to do with resistance bands!  These resistance bands are also great for doing “Side Clam Shells” to increase hip/glute strength.

resistance bands

 

Neoprene Dumbell

  • Lifting weights has never really been my thing!  However, at my session last week with my fitness trainer, I worked on using dumbbells as part of the strength training routine.  Here is another great link for workouts to do with dumbbells– I typically use two ten pound dumbbells.

dumbells

Importance of Core and Strength Training- A strong core leads to better running performance.  When runners have a strong core-form and cadence improve.  Overall, spending time each week on core and strength will lead to stronger and faster running.  

  • Twice a week, after a shorter, easy run- I incorporate core and strength training.  I rotate between using the above pieces of equipment.  I don’t do everything each time.

What is your favorite piece of equipment that you have at home for core and strength training?  How often do you incorporate strength training into your weekly running schedule?  

My First Time Experience with a Personal Trainer

Okay! So for years, I’ve never considered myself a girl that goes to the gym. Every now and then, I’ll sign up for a Body Flow or Spin class, but I never go to the gym to do any type of circuit training. I never even knew which equipment to use and how to use it! I felt so cliche signing up for a gym membership in the first week of January. The lure of unlimited spin classes, body flow and pilates pulled me in to sign up!

So, the new gym membership gave me two free personal trainer sessions! I had no expectations, other then learning a few new workouts to add to my core and strength training routine. My biggest goal going into the 2015 running and racing season is to improve the strength and balance in my core. These steps will lead to more efficient running and strengthen my core to prevent injuries!

The personal trainer at my local gym was very easy and encouraging! She spent an hour going through seven workout routines with me! I worked up a sweat!

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Bosu Ball

Bosu Ball

The Hour Long Session Included- 3 Sets of 15-20 Reps of Each:

  • Squat to Overhead Press with 12LB Ball
  • Kettle Bell Swing with Squat
  • Pop Squats- Arms Straight Back as You Expolde Up
  • Bosu Ball Planks- Elbow to Hands
  • Red Band-Crossed Over, Two Steps to Each Side
  • Machine: Cable Squat with 17.5 pounds
  • Machine: Leg Press 30 Lbs

 

12 Lb ball and Kettle Bell

12 Lb ball and Kettle Bell

 

The hour long session was very beneficial.  I walked away with a solid set of “new-to-me” exercises to use as part of my core strengthening routine, at home or at the gym! The personal trainer also recommended Tabata workouts, which are 4 minutes-20 seconds hard with a 10 second break.  Along with Frog Jump Squats and the Pop Up Squats, Tabata workouts may improve sprinting during running. I’m excited to continue this workout routine 2x a week! 

Have you ever used a personal trainer? Did you learn anything new? Was it beneficial? 

 

Favorite Fitness Apps and Workouts

Busy schedules, location and general lack of resources sometimes have me searching for iPhone or android apps, as well as, online workouts.  I love to find quick, easy to follow workouts that I can do anywhere and anytime! Living so far from major metropolitan areas or well established towns really limits the level and choices of gyms and workout studios, including pilates and barre.

Southern Maryland

Southern Maryland: An Hour and Half away from Washington, DC and Annapolis, Maryland.

My favorite apps and workouts focus on core strengthing, balance and High Interval Intensity Workouts.  The following online workouts and apps require minimal equipment and I feel that these workouts are perfect for tight schedules and squeezing Fitness workouts in during travel too!

2 Pound Weights, Fitness Ball, Yoga Mat, and Thera Band

  2 Pound Weights, Fitness Ball, Yoga Mat, and Thera Band

My Quick 20 Minute Core Blitz

My Quick 20 Minute Core Blitz

Apps for Android or iPhone and Online Websites

    • Great 7 Minute Workout found here that Gives You 12 Exercises to be Performed in 7 Minutes (I love to do two or three cycles to give myself and 14 to 21 minute workout!  HIGH INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING
    • A great workout for working my Abdominal Muscles and Improving Core Strength can be found here
    •  Great Pilates Fitness App found here
    • Weekly trips to a yoga studio are tough, but I really enjoy this Yoga App found here

So, these are a few of my current favorites! Do you have any online Fitness websites or Apps to share?