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Core training

Kettlebell Training for Runners – discover it with The Injured Runner

Kettlebell Training for runners. 

Athletes across the globe are discovering the benefits of kettlebell training. Kettlebell training was initially developed for use by elite Russian athletes can you believe- skyrocketing their performance at international competitions.

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However runners can now benefit from the dynamic training approach unique to kettlebell training.

This dynamic training approach is being used by mixed martial artists, professional football teams, track and field athletes, Navy SEALS, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and now runners.

Run Better!

Run Faster!

Run Stronger!

Run Balanced!

The design of the kettlebell, with its handle and suspended body, increases angular momentum with swinging motions. No other form of conditioning can provide the dynamic effect of kettlebell training.

Most strength training approaches are relatively static but not kettlebell training. Running athletes, Navy SEALs and firefighters are engaged in dynamic activities making kettlebell training a perfect match.

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Core training

Lower Back Pain – The Injured Runner

Lower Back Pain is probably the most common musculoskeletal condition afflicting humans. Estimates are as high as 50% of Americans are currently experiencing some back pain and 80% will experience it at some time.

Lower back pain can range from a mild annoyance to disabling. You may feel pain in the lower back, the gluteal area, or the entire leg. Generally, the more irritated your back is, the further down the leg symptoms are felt. The source of the pain can be from a disc, joint, ligament, nerve, muscle or any combination of these.

Most often, back pain is the result of accumulated stress and strain to the back and hence, to recover you need to take a good look at how you treat your back. If your back hurts after sitting for a long time, then limit sitting time and consider getting a better chair or support. If your back is sore in the morning after sleeping on that 15-year-old mattress, you may need to treat yourself to a new mattress. Did your symptoms get worse after lifting a fifty-pound bag of dog food? Then try better mechanics or get some assistance (or smaller bags).

As a runner, you may be more likely to experience pain after running downhill or running longer distances. These two situations tend to result in your back arching more than normal. Sometimes a slight shift in your running posture can improve this. Try to rotate your pelvis so that your back flattens slightly. You will find this technique easiest to learn while lying down. As you feel confident that you can flatten your back while lying down, try it while standing, and then while running. A little tilt can make a big difference. 

When you are seeking help for back pain it can be confusing to know what will work best for you – there is so much conflicting information. This is partly due to the complexity of the back and our individual variations.

There is some recent research that may help to direct your efforts. The idea is that there are basically four types of non-surgical treatments for lower back pain. You simply choose the category (listed below) that comes closest to matching your situation. You may find that you fit into more than one category or that over time your situation changes and you need to shift categories. If you don’t feel that any of these categories fits your situation you will probably get the most benefit from trying the “stabilization category”.

Specific Movement Category: Certain movements can have a beneficial effect on your symptoms. If you find that lying on your stomach and propping up on your elbows decreases the pain in your leg or the pain moves more centrally towards your back then perform several repetition of this movement. If your pain decreases or moves more centrally towards the back when you lie on your back and pull your knees towards your chest, then perform several repetitions. 

Treatment

  • Manipulation has probably been a method of treating backs since we began walking. Physicians (usually D.O.’s), physical therapists, chiropractors, spouses, hairdressers, and teammates have all joined in on the action, with varying degrees of success. There are several manipulation techniques and theories about them. What is known about this treatment is that a reflex muscle relaxation occurs following the “pop”. You will generally feel less tense and be able to move more freely because of the relaxation. The current research also indicates that there is no change in the position (alignment) of the spine after treatment. Get a good reference before seeking this treatment.

 

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Core training

Core Training – The Injured Runner

Over the past five years core training has become the buzz word of the fitness world. But what exactly is your “core”? Your core consists of 29 pairs of muscles that synchronize to control the motion at your trunk. It is literally the foundation for your running machine – the control centre for running. Most core training or testing programs focus primarily on the abdominal muscles. While this is helpful, there is much more that can be done.

Core training will improve your running times, improve your running form, improve your running efficiency, reduce your risk of injury and speed recovery. Several studies have been published over the past 8 years that demonstrate the importance of core training in both recovering from injury and improving recovery. So, if you are currently injured view this as the perfect opportunity to either start a core training program or refine the program you currently use.

We recommend testing your core strength. When I test runners at my physical therapy clinic they are often amazed at the imbalances they have developed. Measuring your core fitness level will help you set goals, focus your training and monitor progress.

Should you use an exercise ball or enroll in a pilates program? Each of these approaches (and many more) have the potential to provide you with challenging exercises that will improve your core strength. However, if the program doesn’t train the four regions of core muscles (abs, back, right side, left side) you will be missing out.

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Core training Cross training Training tips

Rope Jumping for Runners – The Injured Runner

Many of us haven’t touched a jump rope since school days. You may have memories of hours of fun while singing silly songs, embarrassment of your lack of coordination or fear of getting near the girls that could jump the shoes off of you.

Rope jumping can be an extremely effective supplement to your running program. With a little bit of effort you will run better, faster and with greater enjoyment. Rope jumping improves:

  • Running speed
  • Foot strength
  • Muscular balance
  • Coordination
  • Aerobic and anaerobic fitness

Rope Jumping Tips

If you are one of the many people who feel uncoordinated when rope jumping try “air jumping” or jumping without a rope. Simply jump as if you were spinning a rope until you become more confident, then add the rope in for a more vigorous work out and enhanced coordination.

Rope jumping is best performed on a firm surface. A wood floor, like a basketball court, is optimal but any firm surface will work.

Wear your running shoes when you jump to cushion and protect your feet. If you are “air jumping” you can train in the grass but it doesn’t work well for rope jumping.

Initially, start by jumping with both feet 20 times, then left foot 20 times, and then right foot 20 times. Gradually increase your number of hops rotating between double and single leg hops (see “Training Program”).

When you jump think of springing with your feet – your knees should be only slightly bent. Your heels should not touch or only touch very softly.

Listen to yourself jump. Jumps should be soft and rhythmic. If your jumps are strained and loud perform fewer hops but more sets (10 sets of 5 instead of 50 consecutive jumps) focusing on fewer but high quality jumps.

Use the circular motion of your wrists to spin the rope as opposed to using your arms.

Limit your rope jumping to twice per week. Once you have reached Step 3, one workout per week will maintain your gains.

Always jump the same number of jumps on each foot. If you can do 40 jumps on your right foot and 30 on your left then limit the hops to 30. You have been over training your dominant leg for years. This is the time to balance and restore symmetry.

rope-jumping_clip_image007-4923343Train pain free! If you can’t hop on one foot because of pain you will need to use a lower impact form of cross training (swimming, cycling, elliptical, rollerblading, etc.) until you can jump without pain. If you can jump without pain but at the end of your workout your heel / Achilles is tender for less than 10 minutes you may continue jump training.

If counting drives you crazy try singing one of those silly songs.

As you feel more comfortable try some variations: deeper knee bend, torso twist, side hops, double rope spin, weighted rope, etc.

Be patient and have fun with your rope jumping!

The Training Program

This is an example program, modify it to meet your needs.

Both Feet Right Foot Left Foot
Level 1

(210 total jumps)

20 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

Level 2*

(420 total jumps)

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

Level 3*

(690 total jumps)

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

50 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

50 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

50 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

*Only progress to the next level when you have no soreness the morning after your workout.

Bryan Whitesides MPT, OCS

Physical Therapist

www.betterrunner.com

This article may be reproduced with appropriate reference.

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Categories
Core training stretches

Injured Runner – 6 steps to eliminate side aches

Side ache facts:

  • A side ache or side stitch is a pain in the abdominal region that is associated with exercise.
  • Runners are ten times more likely to experience side aches than cyclists.
  • Running, endurance horseback riding and swimming are the sports with the most reported side aches.
  • Younger runners get side aches / stitches more often than adults.

6 point program to eliminate side aches.

  1. Learn what the real cause of a side ache / stitch is.
  2. Learn the most effective stretches for side aches with detailed descriptions.
  3. Learn the most effective abdominal strengthening exercises for side aches.
  4. Learn principles of relaxation to improve your running form and reduce side aches.
  5. Learn which factors make you more likely to get a side ache.
  6. Learn how to ease a side ache once it happens