Category Archives: Workouts

Balance Exercises for Runners

Strengthen your feet, ankles, hips and glutes with these 4 balance exercises for runners. happyfitmama.com

This post in sponsored by prAna in partnership with FitApproach.

 

I spent the majority of 2015 in physical therapy from my partially torn FHL tendon and Posterior Tib Tendonitis. A huge part of my rehab was doing single leg exercises that focused on building up my ankle stability and balance. With a big toe that couldn’t even curl, it made even the little things, like balancing on one foot, difficult.

Balance exercises are huge for runners. If you think about it, running is essentially hopping on one leg over and over again. But it’s a little more graceful…hopefully. To build on your balance, you need to start from the ground up. The foot and ankle are your foundation. When you have a strong ankle you are less likely to be injured and much more likely to keep your balance under uneven surfaces. Your ankle never relaxes in running. It’s constantly working so you need it to be in tip top shape.

One of the orthopedic doctor’s that I saw last summer recommended I try Hoka’s. He’s a serious runner so I thought why not? At that point I would have done anything to run again.  So I bought a pair and they have been in my running shoe rotation along with my Saucony Guide’s and Triumphs. I will admit, I do like the cushioning. It’s funny, that even with all the cushioning, I still feel like I can feel the ground below me better than with other shoes. I know exactly if I’m heel or mid foot striking.

Last week, Amanda wrote a fantastic article for Competitor. But after reading Amanda’s article, I know that I can’t slack off on my balance training. It is one tool in my tool belt to running strong and injury free. Here are four balance exercises for runners that I are in my weekly rotation.

Toe Stand with Arms Overhead

This exercise is super basic but really makes me think about using my toes to help stabilize my balance. All you need to do is stand with your feet hip width apart and rise up onto your tip toes. Once there, raise your hands up overhead. Hold this posture for as long as you can without moving your feet to steady yourself. I try for 5-10 slow breaths. If you want to make it harder, close your eyes.

Toe Raise with arms overhead happyfitmama.com

Single Leg Balance on BOSU

The BOSU is great for building balance. If you don’t have a BOSU, any unstable surface will work. A pillow or couch cushion works great. To do: Stand on the center of the BOSU and raise the other leg off the ground. Be sure to not let your hip sink – they should be even. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds.

Single Leg Balance on BOSU Ball happyfitmama.com

Single Leg Dead Lift with Med Ball

This exercise makes me WORK. I have no problems with a regular dead lift but doing it single leg with a med ball takes concentration and so much balance. To do: Stand holding a med ball. Begin to lean forward with your upper body as your left leg lifts out behind you. Slowly lower the med ball and touch it to the ground. Return to starting position. Repeat 12-15 times before switching legs.

Single Leg Dead Lift w Med Ball happyfitmama.com

Single Leg Squat and Reach

If you are looking for an exercise that works your balance and fires up the hip and glutes, look no further. My PT had me to do this exercise with small cones to my left and right sides and one to the front. To do: Stand on one leg. Squat down and touch the floor (or cone if using) to your left side. Repeat the squat/touch sequence to the front and right side. Return to the left side repeating squat/touch. Traditionally, the opposite hand from the leg that is squatting down is used to touch the ground. However, my PT had me do it both ways. I think the same hand, same leg is much harder especially when you have to cross over. If this becomes to easy, you can progress to an unstable surface like a BOSU or foam pad.

Single Leg Squat and Reach happyfitmama.com

Note: I like to do all of these exercise without shoes to really make my feet work. With shoes, it’s way to easy to get “comfy” and not have my whole foot/ankle doing the work.

Switching gears from workout to workout clothing.

Last month, I had the opportunity to combine three of my favorite things  – yoga, prAna and an Instagram Challenge. How could I pass that up? I am loving my new prAna Prism Capri’s. It’s my third pair and I honestly want to buy every single color. Hands down the best capri for yoga, strength training and hanging out.

Learning how to do handstands lately. | happyfitmama.com

I’ve been a huge fan of prAna for a few years. I not only love the form and function of their clothing, but also how well made it is and with thought. They source their clothes from sustainably conscious material and energy sources and make sure that working conditions are good for all of their employees.

The cool thing with prAna gear is that you can breathe easier when you wear it. They have been using bluesign® systems since 2012 to make sure that the manufacturing of their products don’t contribute to air and water pollution. There is no use of harsh chemicals so their fabrics meet environmental and human safety standards.

Yoga in prAna | happyfitmama.com

You can check out all of prAna’s spring gear and get 15% off your total order when you enter code PSSS16HFM at checkout.

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday for sweat inspiration!

Do you incorporate balance exercises into your training?

Do you own the same piece of workout gear in multiple colors because you love it so much?

Bodyweight Tabata + 6 Indoor Workouts for Runners

You can workout from home and get a great workout! | happyfitmama.com

Today I’m kicking off something new. I’m very excited about it and I think you guys will really love it!

First off, I’ve got a fantastic at home workout to share with you. Gym memberships are great but there are some days when you can’t get to the gym. Say you have a sick kid at home. Or your day is jam packed with meetings/work/life. Or the blizzard of the century dumped two feet of snow on your town and your heart rate would be more elevated actually driving to the gym rather than when working out.

As you know, I think you can absolutely get a sweatastic workout at home with minimal to no equipment necessary. I haven’t had a gym membership in 6 years and still get my sweat on daily.

Second, this workout is the first of a new monthly workout round up! I teamed up with five phenomenal blogging friends to celebrate our love for running and working out and to give you guys some sweat inspiration. We’ll be bringing you these roundups on the 4th Wednesday of every month. Each roundup will have a different theme that’s perfect for runners and non runners alike. For our first one, we picked Stuck Inside Sweat Session!

FYI – While I am a certified professional, I am not your trainer. Listen to your body and it’s limitations. Please check with your physician if you are new to exercise or have any questions regarding your health and exercise.

Here’s what I’m bringing to the workout.

Try this bodyweight tabata the next time you are stuck inside and need a quick sweat session. happyfitmama.com

As always, be sure to do a 10-15 minute warm up before beginning the workout. Follow it up with an additional 5-10 minutes of easy movement for a cool down.

Here’s instructions for some of the exercises that might need explaining. If you need anything else explained, leave me a comment and I’ll get on it!

Rolling Plank – Start in plank position, forearms on the ground and legs extended behind you. Rotate your torso to the left side, rolling onto your left forearm and stacking your right foot on top of your left in a left side plank. Hold for 2-3 seconds, then return to start; hold for one second, then repeat on the right side.

Elbow to Knee Push Up – Start in push up position. Take your right knee towards right elbow while lowering your chest toward the ground. Return to starting position and repeat with left knee to elbow and lowering chest toward ground.

Frog Jumps – Start in a deep squat with heels and toes on the ground. Have your hands clasped in front of you. Jump straight up, mainly using the balls of your feet and go as high as you can. Land on the balls of your feet then proceed to start position with your butt almost touching the ground.

No equipment. No gym needed. No waiting for a machine. No excuses about bad weather. Just convenient, do-anywhere workouts, that will get your heart rate up, build muscle, and challenge your fitness!

And now, the fun part. Check out these kick ass workouts my friends came up with for when you can’t make it to the gym or are looking for something to supplement your running.

Are you excited for this? If so, please PIN and share with friends!!

Now, here’s a close-up of all the workouts. Go check them out!!

Check out these 6 workouts for runners the next time you need a quick sweat session while stuck inside.

A killer full body workout from Allie (Vita Train 4 Life). You gotta love a workout that starts out with Burpees!

Stuck inside sweat session - Vita Train 4 Life

A jump rope circuit from Laura, This Runner’s Recipes that will have your heart thumpin’ while your jumping’.

Stuck Inside Sweat Session - TRR

A high intensity workout from Sarah (Run Far Girl), that has form drills with a mix of kettlebell work.

image

 

Lunges, lunges, lunges. Nellie (Brooklyn Active Mama) shares ALL the lunges because that’s what makes a runner run strong!

lunges

Pendulum lunges, Sumo shuffle and Superman? Carly (Fine Fit Day) is handing out a superhero worthy, butt kicking workout.

Indoor workout pin exercises

What exercise would be in your favorite stuck inside sweat session?

30 Minute No Equipment Needed Workout

Find your strong with this 30 minute plyometric inspired workout to enhance your running. | happyfitmama.com

When I first started blogging, my intent was to share workouts often. In the past year or so, I’ve let that slip. So I give you – New Year, New Workouts! Hopefully, I’ll remember to share my workouts at least a couple times a month.

Even though I haven’t had a gym membership in 5+ years, I’m still working out at home. I have weights, a BOSU, Med Balls, Kettlebells, bands, treadmill and a bike trainer. I personally don’t think you need a gym membership to stay in shape. It’s nice to have, but I don’t think you need fancy equipment, either.

Whether you are working out in a gym or at home, it’s always a good idea to mix things up. Doing the same exercises day after day is boring. And most likely you aren’t seeing any difference in your strength or endurance. Keep your workout fresh by changing it up often.

January can be a bit of a downer month – it’s cold, it’s gray outside and the holidays are over. You know what you need? Some good ol’ fashioned exercise. It really is a wonder drug. Release some kick ass happy endorphins with this 30 minute cardio Jumpin’ routine. It’s a no equipment needed workout!

Try this 30 minute no equipment needed workout for a quick total body burst of exercise. happyfitmama.com

You may have noticed that there’s quite a bit of plyometrics work in this workout.

When I was discharged from physical therapy back in November, my PT wanted me to concentrate on plyometrics at least one workout a week (preferably a non running day). If you look at running, it’s essentially jumping from one foot to the other.

Ahem – plyometrics.

Plyometrics are fast, explosive movements that strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular health, improve balance and boost metabolism. When you incorporate plyometrics into your routine, you’ll find you’ll be able to turn your legs over faster which means faster running times. Sounds good, right?

Plyometrics are quite demanding and require a strong foundation of balance, core strength, and stability. Be sure to do strength training and other injury prevention exercises to keep your body balanced. As always, listen to your body!

I’m linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday!
For more workout ideas, check out my Pinterest board.
Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before beginning an exercise program.