Thursday, March 5, 2015

Exciting New Book

It is another snowy day in Wilton, CT.  Unfortunately, most of my clients have cancelled due to the inclement weather conditions.  I cycled and did my knee rehab exercises (yep, still dealing with this), and now, I am going to read a newly published book by Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run (one of my very favorite running books).  McDougall's new book is Natural Born Heroes:  How a Band of Misfits Mastered the Secrets of Strength and Endurance.  I have heard from my friends that this book will inspire EVERYONE to get moving and stay moving  -- you do not need to be a runner to love this book!!!
Okay, I just went to download the book and discovered that it is not available until April 14th. So, I am so eager to read it that I am pre-ordering RIGHT NOW!!!  I am so sure that this book will be awesome!  McDougall is a phenomenal author. Born to Run was such an inspirational book -- it reinforced my love of being "one with nature" while running.

Click directly below to pre-order your copy of Natural Born Heroes.


Stay tuned for my book review on April 21st.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Great Upper Body Exercise to Help You Run Faster

What single upper body resistance training exercise is the most helpful in improving your running efficiency?  If I had to pick just one, it would have to be a Bent Over One-Arm Dumbbell Row.  This exercise is shown in the video below:

The Bent Over One-Arm Dumbbell Row works primarily your upper and mid-back muscles (specifically known as your rhomboids and latissimus dorsi) with the biceps assisting in the action.  When performing this exercise, you want to initiate the lift with these back muscles as opposed to tugging with your arm.  When you are running, your rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and biceps are all critical in getting up a hill or increasing your speed.  In this video, I have my client doing these rows faster than I would have a non-runner do because of the specificity of running - running requires a quick pump of the arms.

I also have runners choose a weight that they can do with good form for at least 12 to 15 reps - I am looking to train my runners for muscle endurance, not pure strength, so I go with this relatively high number of reps as the goal.  Remember, long distance running requires your muscles to repetitively contract for a sustained period, not just for a few reps. 

The Bent Over One-Arm Dumbbell Row should also help improve your posture. Upright posture is critical to efficient running form.  Combine these One-Arm Dumbbell Rows with some good Core Exercises (e.g., Front Plank and Back Extensions) and you should see a substantial improvement in your running posture over time.

Do you have a favorite upper body resistance training exercise?