As I have been working with my personal trainer, Amanda Stalwick from Positively Fit Personal Training, I have noticed a change in my performance in running and biking (I haven’t swum enough this year to notice). Obviously, doing strength training is going to increase strength and power, but I am noticing that I don’t feel any nagging injuries that I usually do. And when I do, they are temporary and pass quickly.
There has been a common theme over the last couple of months – focus on core. CORE, CORE, CORE. Work on core. Strengthen core. It’s all about core.
I am not just doing crunches. In fact, I do very few crunches. The exercises that I have been doing, thanks to Amanda, my RMT, bike coaches, and various articles I have read recently are mostly stabilization exercises along with movement based exercises. Stabilization exercises are ones like plank and wall squats; movement-based exercises are ones like bouncing a medicine ball straight down (or if you have a partner, to each other), especially while standing on a Bosu.
Another common theme that has been present over the past little while is stretching out the chest muscles (ie. pectorals). The other day I was having a chat with the massage therapist I went to and we were talking about posture, osteoporosis, and the effects of computer use on our bodies. That’s when she told me that a key element is stretching out the chest. I think that anybody who swims, bikes, and/or runs a lot should do chest stretching. One of my favourite stretches is the doorway stretch where the forearms are perpendicular to the outstretched arms, place the forearms on each side of the door frame and push the chest through. Oh, it feels so good! There is also the one where the shoulder is put against a wall with the arm behind it and your twist your body back towards your hands. These are stretches that I did not focus on before, but are now a constant in my stretching routine!
I can already tell that all this stretching and strengthening is making me stronger and faster!
Here is the article that inspired this post: Trifuel’s 3 easy steps to nice shoulders