The following is a guest post from Annmarie who is a runner, DVRT Master Instructor, and foodie behind TheFitFoodieMama.com.
Runners love to run but they don’t also like to strength train. I get it. Adding in more workouts to your already packed training routine can seem a bit daunting but I truly believe that if you want to run faster and make running feel easier than you absolutely HAVE to strength train.
That being said, making your way from machine to machine at the gym isn’t the answer. Not only is it boring (in my opinion) but it is also not productive. If you really want to make strength training work for you and your running goals then there are more specific exercises you should be doing instead.
While there are a handful of different exercises you could do that would be beneficial, there are at least 3 that you MUST do if you really want to make running feel easier. These exercises all focus on unilateral (single-side) training which helps to improve both sprinting speed and endurance because it demands more from the neuromuscular system in terms of stability.
In fact, one of the main reason that I use the DVRT system and train with the Ultimate Sandbag is because it’s both effective AND versatile. Since the Ultimate Sandbag is a variable resistance tool, it encourages the need for stability which helps to reduce the risk of injury and improves sports performance.
The Ultimate Sandbag actually targets muscle stabilizers in ways that static resistance tools can’t plus it’s super portable meaning that you don’t need a gym to fit in a quick strength training session!
Again, the ones listed below are mentioned because they really do give you the most bang for your buck and also really focus on unilateral training which is what runners REALLY need in order to make running feel easier.
USB Sprinter Stance Squat.
How to do it: Get into regular squatting stance then move one foot back so that the toes line up with the heel of the opposite foot. Apply pressure to the ball of the rear foot while keeping heel off the ground. Descend into squat position allowing hips to sit back.
Why it helps: Progressively works towards single leg squatting which works to develop strength in the glutes, increase range of motion in the hips and build resilience. The Sprinter Stance Squat is also considered the superior squat for athletes, specifically females for preventing ACL injuries. In fact, an article was just recently published on Breaking Muscle by physical therapist, Jessica Bento which goes into much greater detail on all the benefits it can provide.
USB Rotational Overhead Press.
How to do it: Clean the sandbag up into the pressing position. Drive the ball of one foot into the ground and rotate it as if you were squishing a bug. As the foot rotates, press the bag over the crown over of the head. The move should be performed as a simultaneous action.
Why it helps: The beauty of the rotational overhead press with the Ultimate Sandbag is that practices transferring momentum from your legs to your upper body strengthening your hips, core and shoulders. This will help to improve overall posture, arm swing and running mechanics meaning you can run easier and more efficiently.
How to do it: Deadlift the sandbag to standing position. Drop step while rotating the bag to the lead leg at the same time. Keep your chest tall and make sure not to rotate past the knee. Drive through the heel back to standing position and squeeze the glutes.
Why it helps: Lunges are a fantastic exercise for strengthening the glutes, hamstrings and quads. The MAX Lunge also helps to build stability and strength and maintain proper running form for both going up and downhill. Incorporating them as part of your regular strength training routine will make mountains feel like mole hills and help you run more efficiently overall.
To get the most of these DVRT exercises, be sure to incorporate them into your routine using the Ultimate Sandbag at least two days a week.
Looking for more workouts and tips on how you can get stronger so you can run faster?
Check out my newly released Run DVRT Strong ebook that includes 10 strength training workouts specifically designed for runners.
DVRT Master Instructor, Annmarie Licatese, is a stay at home mom turned momtrepreneur who is an expert in making kitchen messes and taking juice box orders all while blogging like a boss and squatting at the same time.
When she’s not creating healthy, allergy friendly recipes for TheFitFoodieMama.com or working out to save her sanity, you can find her running Ragnar Relays through the night and improving the performance of athletes at Strength In Motion Studio, which she currently owns and operates.