Saturday, 11 December 2010

Glutes and Quads - exercises and stretches

Here are a few exercises and stretches that I demonstrated to the folks at Yeovil Town Road Running Club at a recent track training evening they did.

Weak/tight glutes are the cause of countless problems
for runners and some simple exercises and stretches can make a big difference in a short space of time.

A good place to start is with a simple diagnostic test. Stand on one leg and check that the knee is over the middle toe of the foot. Then do some knee bends and have a partner observe. If the knee is moving in when you bend this is sign of weak glutes and probably and over active TFL (the small muscle in the hip which has the IT Band as its tendon.

The 'clam' is a simple exercises to work the glutes and you can progress to exercises like 'wall press'.

Lie on you side with feet, knees and hips on top of each other. Put a hand on your backside to feel the muscle then squeeze gently o lift the top leg (keeping the feet together). Hold at the top and lower back down while keeping the muscle squeezed (often the most difficult part)

A great all round exercise is the lunge. Keep the upper body vertical, the front shin parallel to the ground and the rear thigh parallel to the ground. From standing lower yourself slowly and notice the glutes and quad muscles working hard to lower you. Only go as far as you can with control. Then push yourself back up using the samee muscles. Difficult !

Once the basic lunge is mastered you can move to a more dynamic lunge in a forward direction. Variations including a backward lunge and lunge with twist and explained and demonstrated very well by Jay Johnson on You tube.

Stretching tight quads can help take some of the stress of the front of the legs which can frequently contribute to patellar tendinitis and problems in the pelvis. Doing this stretch lying down is a big improvement on the standing up quad stretch that we often see performed. Why ? When standing your stability is not great (see weak glutes above !) and there is a tendency to tilt the pelvis which creates an illusion of stretching the quad.

Lie on the side with the bottom leg at 90 degrees to lock the pelvis. Grasp the top leg at the ankle and bring the foot towards the buttock until you feel the stretch.

To stretch the glutes lie on you ba
ck with the ankle of the leg to be stretched resting across the opposite knee. A gentle push against the knee will produce a stretch in the glute (right glute in the picture here). To deepen the stretch you can lift the left foot of the ground.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Friday Track Training in Yeovil

I've been quiet on the blog front for a couple of months now. Training this year has been pretty disjointed and there hasn't been a huge amount to write about on that front recently unless you like reading about psoas stretches and glute activation exercises !

That said i've managed to get the running back up to six days a week of running singles. The resulting 60-70miles feels ridiculously easy after years of higher mileage marathon training. My body is moving well enough to do some faster training again and I'm looking forward to some good cross country races in the New Year.

One thing I have been experimenting with is weight training. Its completely new for me so like anything new I had to start cautiously and quickly notice big improvements. I've got some things to write about now so this will be the topic for a future article...

Back to now and this evening (friday) I will be at the track in Yeovil helping out with Yeovil Town Road Running Club. When they started their friday night workouts there were but a handful of hardy souls and now you can see 40 plus runners stretching their legs in a couple of groups under the watchful eyes of Tim and the two Pete's. I'm looking forward to tonight and it comes hot on the heels of leading a couple of workshops on Road Running at the England Athletics conference at Lee Valley last weekend which was good fun.

Photos of the exercises and stretches last night to follow soon...