Running is hard on your body, there is no doubt, and your body needs to develop the strength and resistance for the miles you put it through. However, running too many miles without the relative strength, stability and mobility opens you up for injury and, potentially, missing your race.
Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of meeting a number of top flight runners, climbers, and cyclists passing through or living in my home town of Chamonix. As I prepare for my trail running season and work with others on their preparations too, I have put together a basic strength workout that will not just make you run faster, but also prevent injury and allow you to enjoy longer days in the mountains - well that is the plan, at least!
My top 3 strength, stability & mobility exercises for trail running
There is so much that could go here but I wanted to highlight 3 exercises that I feel have had the biggest benefit to my body when it comes to long days in the hills, be them spent running, hiking, or climbing.
1) Prying squats - a mobility exercise
The prying squat is one of the first movements I teach personal training clients and it is a great and simple test to see range of motion and core strength. People often struggle with the concept of how low you are meant to go with this movement but, with a little encouragement, everyone can get down to the bottom.
The prying squat is a deep squat with you butt as close to the floor as possible then prying your knees apart, opening up your hips.
2) Single leg deadlifts - a stability exercise
Single leg deadlifts are a superb way to assess the imbalances that most of us have between our left and right legs. By working on our single leg balance and then building on the strength, we build up the stability in the foot, ankle, knee and hip.
3) Bulgarian split squats - a strength exercise
Whether you have weights or not, the Bulgarian split squat is an awesome movement to make your quads work hard. By only using one leg but using the other for balance, you test and build the strength of the major muscles - your quads - and build on the stability on your feet, ankles, and knees.
Charley Radcliffe is a Personal Trainer and Community Manager for The North Face, based in Chamonix, France.
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