As a personal trainer in Mississauga, I train my clients who are regular runners through their two energy sources: Metabolic energy and elastic energy. A runner’s stride is essentially a complex mix of these two energy systems.
Metabolic Energy: Energy produced by the muscles
Elastic Energy: Energy produced by tendons and other connective tissue that stretch and recoils like a series of springs to propel you forward.
A runner’s fitness level will limit the amount of energy the muscles can produce, while the functional strength of the soft tissue will dictate the most efficient way for a person to run. The more you utilize that elastic energy, the better you become at hitting the ground and absorbing those impact forces.
The Top 5 Functional Exercises For Runners
1. Single Leg Hinge
Important for working the Extensor Chain (Glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors) and Spiral Lines which are two lines in the body that are important for stability and control when running
2. Single Leg Squat
Runners spend a lot of time on one leg when running
Single leg squat develops quad strength and also good knee alignment when running
Regression: Reduce range of motion regress or use a chair to sit on
3. Lunge With Trunk Rotation
When we are running the hips aren’t still they are moving so we want to make sure that we’ve opened up the hips in different planes of motion
It’s going to help open up the hips through the sagittal plane and the transverse plane
Progression: Do with a medicine ball
4. KB Swing (Explosive)
Firing up the posterior chain (Glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors) is important because we need to be using that when we are pulling through
Focus here is on activating the hamstrings, glutes
What tends to happen to a lot of runners is that they get tight quads and their posture is compromised which causes them to lose the ability to use the posture chain
5. Box Jump (Explosive)
Firing up the kinetic chain. When we are running we are putting a lot of impact on the joints so we want to make sure the body is prepared.
Progression: Increase jump height