TO CONSIDER DURING HALF MARATHON OR OTHER COMPETITION TRAINING: DIAGNOSE AND FIX MUSCLE STRENGTH IMBALANCES
ALINA KENNEDY’S article on Medium.com offers a simple method for identifying and lessening muscle group strength inequalities we all possess. Kennedy starts by explaining why muscle strength asymmetries “limit performance” and why eventually they will lead to injury. Runners and walkers training for a competition like the half marathon will be asking their power, balance, and stabilizer muscles to perform harder and harder work as training progresses, which may ultimately force the body into revealing weaknesses between the right- and left- sided muscle groups.
Kennedy helps readers find and fix them. In the article she indicates her clinical experience shows that “muscle aches, strains, tendinopathies, and joint injuries could all be prevented with better strength training”. As the recipient of almost identical advice from an expert trainer, Tim Broe, who explained my knee problem in the same terms, I will testify to the truth of Kennedy’s statement!
Five areas receive attention in her article: calves, balance, hip stabilizers, hamstrings and gluteal muscles, and abdominal oblique muscles.
Kennedy doesn’t prescribe exercises in the article. One simple way to start correcting specific imbalances is to use the specific diagnostic move for that area as the correcting exercise! As an example, because side planks (#5) are the diagnostic move to discover inequalities between the right and left abdominal oblique muscles, performing side planks as Kennedy directs in the last part of the article will serve to strengthen those oblique muscles. Online searches will turn up additional exercises to try.
In a similar way, if single-leg, standing calf raises (#1) are used to identify which calf is weaker, the right versus the left, performing them is a great way to build calf strength.
Before getting deep into training, consider testing yourself. On strength days you can concentrate on these areas rather than randomly perform other lower body, upper body, and core strength exercises.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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