You may have noticed some new and very simple exercises popping up on your assigned strength routines. What muscle are we targeting? We spend a lot of time worrying about engaging glutes, working on developing better core and overall strength but forget how much work these muscles do for us when we walk, climb stairs, bike, and run.
Did you figure it out yet?
Your calf muscles. These muscles in your lower legs do a lot of work all day every day and with running they lift the heel about 1500 times per mile. Adding in calf strength training exercises and stretching can keep you ticking along doing all the activities you love day in and day out.
Muscle Matters! Here is exercise number five of our top five exercises for maintaining strength.
Oh sure, there’s is nothing more stereotypical than a bicep curl! And yet this basic exercise which works the front of your upper arms is important for daily movements as simple as picking up a bag of groceries. Working this muscle is also critical to holding up your forearms as you run. Have you ever tried to run without your arms? As the legs fatigue or when running uphill we rely even more on our arms. Developing muscle endurance in your upper body can be invaluable to keep you going.
Adding in a single leg balance with this exercise forces more attention to engaging your glutes and core and provides balance-training practice. Balance training is not usually something that we think of until we are much older and overall poor balance and strength contribute to falls and injury. Adding balance training to your usual strength training regiment now is a great way to make sure you are maintaining this critical component of daily living.
In general most of us do a lot of activities where we hunch forward and it is really important to make sure we are doing strength work to counteract that. Think through your day and see where your posture suffers. Doing computer work? Gardening? Driving? Reading your tablet or even a book? Writing? Running?
This exercise only requires dumbbells and can counteract all the hunching we do and focus on the often neglected shoulders and upper back.
Strong upper back muscles can help balance shoulder strength to protect our shoulders. As runners these muscles are very important as there is a direct link between upper back muscle fatigue and a breakdown in form which can result in possible injury.
Muscle Matters! Here is exercise number three of our top 5 exercises for maintaining strength that were given during a recent blog interview (link). Because we feel this is such a good overall exercise you will see it show up again and again on your strength training plans. If done correctly and consistently these exercises can really help maintain strength as we (all!) age.
Planks? Oh we can hear the collective groan. Yes, planks! This simple exercise can be modified for all levels of fitness, requires no gear and targets you entire body.