Two exercises that help runners build strength and stability, for tackling technical mountain terrain.
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Mountain Running® athletes know that balance and stability are crucial for staying safe on technical routes. Strong core and hip muscles are required to run and scramble efficiently up steep climbs and down unforgiving descents.
The gluteal muscles at the back and sides of the hips and the core muscles work in tandem to hold the low back and pelvis in a neutral alignment. Ambulation, the rotational effect of transferring weight from one limb to the other, requires coordination and synchronization between the hip and the core, to keep the hips and spine level. While running, demands on these muscles increase substantially as the forces transferred through the joints increase up to four times body weight with every step.
These two essential moves will help improve neuromuscular control of the core and gluteal pair, while strengthening the powerful hip muscles that are responsible for speed.
Single Leg Deadlift
Perform a Single Leg Deadlift standing on one foot with a light weight in the opposite hand. Keeping the shoulders pulled back and down, maintaining a long neck, and keeping the back straight, hinge at the hip and bring the weight toward the opposite shin. The standing leg knee should bend slightly. Return to the start and repeat 8-10 reps per side, one to three sets.
(Tip: Keep your abs and glutes engaged the entire time to ensure your back stays straight and your hips stay level.)
The Single Leg Squat
Perform a Single Leg Squat standing on one foot with a light weight in the opposite hand—you can hold the weight at the side in suitcase carry position, or at the shoulder in rack position (as shown). Keeping the shoulders pulled back and down, maintaining a long neck, and keeping the back straight, hinge at the hip and bend the standing leg. Return to the start and repeat for 8-10 reps on each side, one to three sets.
Tip: Challenge your stability by working deeper into the squat as you get stronger. Keep your abs and glutes engaged the entire time to ensure your back stays straight and your hips stay level.
For other strengthening exercises for Mountain Runners®, read Strengthen Your Glutes.
Photos: ©Kristina Pattison
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristina Pattison is a member of the La Sportiva Mountain Running® Team.
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