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This week’s workout comes from coach Simon Bennett from Colorado-based APEX Coaching. Bennett is a Level 1 Australian triathlon coach, a Silver Level swim coach, and has had several of his athletes selected to compete at the Australian National Triathlon Championships and elite ITU events. He was also an endurance coach for British Cycling during the last Olympic cycle and had six of his athletes win gold medals at the Rio Games.
“As endurance athletes, we put in many long hours training for our goal events, and one of the biggest concerns is that an injury will pop up or linger impacting our ability to compete,” Bennett says. Most injuries are a result of simple muscle imbalances that are taxed repeatedly. Bennett says most of these imbalances originate in our body’s core comprised of many central muscles including transversus abdominis, multifidus, the diaphragm, and the pelvic floor.
“The core muscles provide your spinal and central muscles systems with stability and also coordinate the movement of your extremities,” he says. “Without a strong core, we will not keep the body standing or moving in the correct aligned positions which will put the spine, arms, and legs out of position and left in a vulnerable stability pattern for movement and the possibility of injury. A muscle imbalance which is undetectable with the naked eye can become a full-blown imbalance causing another muscle group to compensate and leading to injury over time.”
The workout below is meant to stabilize those core and hip muscles that can cause a multitude of imbalances if not properly strengthened. Do this workout twice per week, three sets per session. Be sure to maintain tall posture with your shoulders down (and back), pull your belly button towards your spine, and tuck your tailbone down and slightly forward.
- Lie on your back on an exercise mat or on the floor, legs bent at the knee with feet flat on the floor.
- Raise your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line.
- Hold your bridge position for 30-60 seconds.
Elastic Band Side Steps
- While standing with feet shoulder width apart, loop an elastic therapy band around both legs, resting at mid calf.
- Bend at your knees slightly while stepping out to the side until the band is taut. Repeat with other leg.
- Perform 10 steps to the left, before changing direction and performing 10 steps to the right.
- Lie on your side with legs out straight and feet together. Position elbow and forearm directly below shoulder.
- Raise hips until your body is in a straight line from head to toe while resting top arm on your hip.
- Hold your side plank for 15-30 seconds.
Elastic Band Monster Walk
- While standing with feet shoulder width apart in a partial squat position, loop band around both ankles.
- In one motion, step forward and then out to the side until the band is taut. Repeat with other leg.
- Perform a total of 12 steps before repeating.
Elastic Band Squat
- While standing with feet shoulder-width apart, loop band around legs, and position just above knees.
- Bend at the knees while keeping your torso as upright as possible, as if you were going to sit on a chair.
- As you lower, keep the band taut, until thighs are almost parallel to floor. Complete 15 squats.
- Position yourself face down on elbows and knees.
- Keep elbows under shoulders with hands clasped together, press up on toes while extending legs out straight.
- Lower hips until head, shoulders, hips, and feet are in a straight line. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
Side Plank with Bent Leg
- Lie on your side with knees touching and top leg out straight and bottom leg bent at 90 degrees.
- Position elbow and forearm directly over shoulder, raise hips, keeping head, hips, and knees aligned
- While keeping your body in this raised position, lift your top leg to 45 degrees. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
- While standing tall with feet side by side, step backwards with one leg keeping torso upright.
- With hands on hips, bend back leg at the knee, allowing front leg to follow. Front knee should not to extend over toes.
- Back knee will almost touch the floor. Repeat by lunge by alternating legs. Complete 15 on each side.
Opposite Arm & Leg Raise
- Position yourself on your hands and knees at 90 degrees under your body with your back straight.
- While keeping head, shoulders, and hips aligned raise your right arm and left leg out straight.
- Hold each arm and leg raise for 10 seconds. Repeat with opposite arm and leg. Complete 15 on each side.
Elastic Band Hip Clams
- Lie down on your side with knees together and wrap theraband around both legs just above knees.
- Bend both knees, and lie on your side with your feet stacked.
- Raise upper leg at the knee until the band is taut. Hold each for 5 seconds. Complete 12 on each side.