What sort of cir­cuit ex­er­cises are good for run­ning?

Trail Running (UK) - - TRAINING Q&A - Si­mon Wat­son, Bury

AAll run­ners can ben­e­fit from cir­cuit ses­sions, says Ollie Armstrong. “To have the biggest im­pact, the ex­er­cises should fo­cus on a com­bi­na­tion of: 1) ro­bust­ness to pro­tect against in­jury; 2) im­prov­ing strength and ca­pac­ity to be able to pro­duce force and en­dure me­chan­i­cal stress; 3) me­chan­i­cal ef­fi­ciency to im­prove run­ning econ­omy,” says Ollie.

“Foot drills and low-level ply­o­met­rics help fo­cus at­ten­tion on foot place­ment, con­tact with the ground, re­ac­tiv­ity and the ap­pli­ca­tion of force gen­er­a­tion – all of which are im­por­tant for good run­ning econ­omy, as well as foot health.

“Fol­low­ing this, glute work, such as a clamshell or hip mo­bil­ity while ly­ing on your side, is good for ac­ti­vat­ing and strength­en­ing.

“Con­ven­tional ex­er­cises, such as the body­weight squat, lunge and sin­gle-leg Ro­ma­nian dead­lift (RDL) will also help to de­velop strength. Th­ese ex­er­cises will en­able you to pro­duce more force per con­trac­tion. Greater strength will, in turn, op­ti­mise each con­tact with the ground, when cou­pled with work fo­cus­ing on the ap­pli­ca­tion of the force.

“Ham­string bridges and calf raises are key ca­pac­ity de­vel­op­ers – an im­por­tant vari­able in th­ese mus­cle groups for run­ning per­for­mance. “To fin­ish the cir­cuit ses­sion off, an ex­er­cise tar­geted at trunk work, such as a side plank – to help im­prove the core and, as such, ef­fi­ciency while run­ning – would be use­ful.”

Some run­ners may also ben­e­fit from ad­di­tional, in­di­vid­u­ally tai­lored ex­er­cises.

Side planks strengthen the core, which will help keep you steady on un­even trails

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