Sunday 23 October 2016

One for the pavement pounders

Improving your daily jog couldn't be easier with this simple yet effective routine

Siobhan Byrne

Published 14/04/2015 | 02:30

Siobhan Byrne
Siobhan Byrne

Getting out for outdoor activity and burning extra calories is that bit easier with the brighter evenings. And what better way to take advantage of them than with a spot of running?

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Remember, if you are a beginner, start slowly and gradually build yourself up from a fast walk or a slow trot. As you become more comfortable and capable as the weeks progress, you can begin to up the pace a little.

But whether you are a beginner or more advanced, I can't stress enough the benefits of a strength-training routine. It can be a huge advantage for many reasons, not least injury-prevention and joint-protection.

Some of the most common running injuries are in the knees and calves, but bad posture while pounding the pavement can also lead to neck and back problems, so checking your running form by having someone make a video of you on the treadmill is never a bad idea, no matter how advanced you might be.

There are plenty of exercises that will help benefit your running and keep you injury-free, including the plank, prisoner squat, reverse lunge and jumping squat. Don't forget to use our previous foam-rolling and stretching techniques to avoid tightness as you do these.

But why should you use this specific routine? Well, the plank helps you balance and support every stride while running. Stronger abdominals and lower back muscles also give you better posture, which will help avoid neck and back problems and help you breathe efficiently.

The prisoner squat helps you strengthen quads, hamstrings, hips and the muscles around the knee, which is good for preventing injury.

The reverse lunge, meanwhile, is great for strengthening quads, hamstrings and glutes, and it also increases flexibility in the legs.

Finally, the jumping squat brings in a dynamic movement that helps to really shock the muscle and make it work harder. It's also great for balance and control.

Prisoner squat

1/ Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your fingers locked behind your head.

2/ Bend at the hips and knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then push back to the starting position and repeat.

Jumping squat

1/ Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by sides.

2/ Bend at the hips and knees into a semi-squat position, leaning your torso slightly forward.

3/ Push off your feet, jumping straight up in the air and landing in a semi-squat position.


1/ Start by lying on your elbows, forearms and toes, with your body straight, your hips and back in line and your tummy tucked in. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then slowly rest down.

Reverse Lunge

1/ Stand straight  with your arms  out by your side

2/ Take a step backward, dropping your back knee to the floor and leaning your torso slightly forward, with your weight on your front leg. Push off your front foot to return to the start.

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