Fitness

Strong core muscles will get you going well

Conditioning your body will ensure good running form. Zarelda Marie Goh is doing strength-building exercises as part of her training for the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. Recommended by her running coach Andrew Cheong of SSTAR.fitness, these five exercises can be done at any time - right after a run or as part of cross-training workouts. Here's how to do them:

1 Plank


PHOTOS: FRENCHESCHAR LIM/SPH MAGAZINES

This exercise strengthens the back muscles. A strong back will result in good posture and a more efficient running gait.

  • Face the ground, extend your arms and support yourself with palms and toes.
  • Transition to rest on elbows, but continue to support yourself on your toes. Keep the back straight.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and work towards up to three minutes.

2 Lateral leg lifts


PHOTOS: FRENCHESCHAR LIM/SPH MAGAZINES

This exercise targets the abductor muscles of the hip flexor muscle group, especially the tensor fasciae latae. It stabilises the hip when running and during daily activities.

  • Lie on your side, legs extended.
  • Lift the upper leg, away from the ground. Keep the leg straight, knee locked. At the top of the range of motion, hold it for five seconds and lower it back to the start position.
  • Repeat at least 10 times; aim to do up to 20.
  • For comfort, you can keep the leg nearest to the floor slightly bent.
  • Repeat with the other

3 leg. Bridge


PHOTOS: FRENCHESCHAR LIM/SPH MAGAZINES

This move strengthens the buttocks, hamstrings, back and stomach. Strong hamstrings are essential for runners to counterbalance their strong thigh muscles. The buttocks are the largest muscle in the body but are often under-used when running.

  • Lie on your back, face upwards. Bend the knees to 90 degrees, and keep the feet flat on the floor.
  • Raise the hips and lift the buttocks off the floor. Hold that position for 10 to 30 seconds, ensuring that the knees, hip and shoulders are in a flat plane (no sagging of the hips).
  • Lower the hips back to the start position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

4 Push-ups


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These build overall upper-body strength, especially in the chest and shoulders. Most runners neglect their upper body. If you just want to do one exercise for the upper body, push-ups are it. Strong deltoids ensure that you don't get fatigued from arm swings.

  • Adopt the plank position, with your palms on the floor.
  • Keeping the body straight, bend the elbows and lower the chest towards the floor.
  • At the lowest point, straighten the elbows and return to the start position.
  • Repeat at least 10 times; aim to do up to 20.

5 Wall sit


PHOTOS: FRENCHESCHAR LIM/SPH MAGAZINES

This is an isometric (no movement) exercise, which is safer than exercises that involve movement. It builds strength in the thighs.

  • Stand with your back touching a wall.
  • Squat to a half-sitting position, where your knees are bent at 90 degrees and directly over your toes. Ensure your toes are parallel.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and work towards up to three minutes.

  • The writer is the editor of Shape. This article first appeared in www.shape.com.sg
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 05, 2017, with the headline 'Strong core muscles will get you going well'. Print Edition | Subscribe