Comrades and Two-Oceans information evening 8 Feb 2018

Training to run better

Richard Wood (071 113 6442)

Apart from running, we should do strength training at least two days a week, depending on how often you do strength training you should rest  48 to 72 hours rest before doing strength training again.

Areas to improve with strength training that will also improve your running is your core, legs, and shoulders. It is always better to use functional training ie. not machine workout to improve your strength.  



The squat is a compound, full body exercise that trains primarily the muscles of the thighs, hips, and buttocks, quadriceps femoris muscle (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and rectus femoris), hamstrings, as well as strengthening the bones, ligaments, and insertion of the tendons throughout the lower body. Squats are considered a vital exercise for increasing the strength and size of the legs as well as developing core strength. Isometrically, the lower back, the upper back, the abdominals, the trunk muscles, the costal muscles, and the shoulders and arms are all essential to the exercise and thus are trained when squatting with the proper form

  1. Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Toes should be pointed forward and engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine to work your transverse abdominals. (The girdle that holds everything in your abdominals together.)
  3. Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself to the ground as if to sit in a chair position.
  4. Stop when your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  5. Push back up through your heels, exhaling at the same time.
  6. Inhale when lowering body, exhaling when pushing back up.
  7. Keep toes pointed forward.
  8. Engage your abdominals.
  9. Do not use your hands to help you push back up.
  10. Don’t allow your chest to drop and sink onto the tops of your thighs.

Front Squat                                                                                 Back Squat



Targeted muscles include the glutes in your hips and butt, along with the hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs. The calf muscles in your lower legs, your abdominal muscles, and your back muscles act as stabilizers during this exercise.

  1. Stand up with your legs together and your arms at your sides.
  2. Engage your core.
  3. Step 60 to 90 centimeter forward with your right leg.
  4. Bend both of your knees to lower yourself down into a lunge.
  5. Each knee should create a 90-degree angle.
  6. Keep your front knee directly over your ankle and behind your toes to avoid unnecessary strain on your knee.
  7. Push off with your right leg and return to the starting position.
  8. Repeat with your left foot stepping forward.
  9. Look at a spot on the wall slightly above you always keep your back straight and chest up.

The difference between a forward lunge and backward lunge is as the words suggest, you either step forward or backward.



The deadlift is a compound movement that works a variety of muscles groups:

  • The grip strength (finger flexors) and the lower back (erector spinae) work isometrically to keep the bar held in the hands and to keep the spine from rounding.
  • The gluteus maximus and hamstrings work to extend the hip joint.
  • The quadriceps work to extend the knee joint.
  • The adductor magnus works to stabilize the legs.
  • Core musculature remains braced to stabilize the spine.

The deadlift is typically done with a barbell, but can also be done with dumbbells. Set a barbell on the floor about 2.5 cm in front of your shins, your feet about hip-width apart. Squat down by bending your knees and grab the bar with an overhand grip just outside your legs. Do not round out your back at any point during the exercise; keep it straight. Push through your heels, extend your legs and move into a fully upright standing position, with the bar hanging in front of your thighs. Keep the bar close to your body throughout the movement.



The plank strengthens the abdominals, back, and shoulders. Muscles involved in the front plank include:

  • Primary muscles: erector spinae, rectus abdominis (abs), and transverse abdominus.
  • Secondary muscles (synergists/segmental stabilizers): trapezius (traps), rhomboids, rotator cuff, the anterior, medial, and posterior deltoid muscles (delts), pectorals (pecs), serratus anterior, gluteus maximus (glutes), quadriceps (quads), and gastrocnemius.

Assume a modified push-up position with your elbows bent 90 degrees and both forearms resting on the floor. Position your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and look straight toward the floor. Your body should form a perfectly straight line from the crown of your head to your heels. Your feet are together with only the toes touching the floor.

You can also do the plank whilst rolling a stability ball

Another great variation is the plank to push-up.

Single leg deadlift

The single-leg Romanian deadlift strengthens the posterior chain. The gluteus muscles, hamstrings and adductor magnus are strengthened dynamically while synergistically working together to extend the hips. The lower back extensors function as stabilisers and are strengthened isometrically.

  1. Assume a single-leg stance
  2. Hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand of the supporting leg. If the exercise is performed with more weight, hold a barbell in an overhand grip in both hands.
  3. Keep the back straight and the torso tight. Look straight ahead.
  4. The shoulder blades are retracted.
  5. Lower the upper body by bending at the hip. Keep the back straight.
  6. Lower the dumbbell or slide the bar down the thigh and shin of the supporting leg. Push the hips back and slightly bend the knee during the descent.
  7. Swing the free leg back so it stays in line with the torso.
  8. Lower the upper body until a mild stretch is felt in the hamstrings.
  9. Return to the starting position.

Pistol Squat

Muscles Used. One-legged squats work the same primary muscle groups used for running, including the hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and calves. Hamstrings are located at the back of the upper leg and quadriceps are in the front part of the upper leg.

1.Stand right in front of a bench, box or other low object and reach one leg into the air.

  1. Now sit back onto the object as slowly as you can. You’ll likely lose control on the way down the first bunch of times— this is fine.
  2. Plop down if you have to, then squeeze your abs—and your whole body—as you reach your arms out in front and pitch yourself forward to get up. Over time work toward squatting onto a lower object.


In the standard pushup, the following muscles are targeted:

  • chest muscles, or pectorals.
  • shoulders, or deltoids.
  • back of your arms, or triceps.
  • abdominals.
  • the “wing” muscles directly under your armpit, called the serratus anterior.

Push-Up Instructions

  1. Position your body with your arms straight out, abs tight, holding your body in a plank position.
  2. Hands and arms should be positioned slightly below your shoulders, fingers pointed forwards. Shoulders are pushed down away from your ears.
  3. Lower your body until your chest is an inch or two above the floor, elbows pulling back at roughly a 45 degree angle.
  4. Push your torso away from the ground until your arms lock.


Suggested Training

Day One (3 to 5 sets)

  • Front Squat                                                                         12-15 Reps                                  12-15 Kg
  • Forward Lunge                                                                   12-15 Reps
  • Pistol Squats                                                                       12-15 Reps
  • Plank                                                                                    Aim for 30 – 60 sec
  • Russian twist                                                                     12-15 Reps on each side
  • Ball wall bounce with twist                                             12-15 Reps on each side

Day Two (3-5 sets)

  • Back Squat                                                                     12-15 Reps
  • Backward Lunge                                                           12-15 Reps
  • Single leg deadlift                                                         12-15 Reps
  • Plank                                                                               Aim for 30-60 sec
  • Pike hold                                                                        Aim for 30-60 sec
  • Plank to pushup/ plank on ball                                12-15 Reps


Article was written by Marieta Stevens

(If you don’t know how to do any of these exercises come to me and I will assist you)


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