When You Can’t Run Outside
When you can’t run outside it’s important to explore alternative ways to maintain your fitness training at home. In this article I’m going to go through some key running exercises that are simple and easy to perform at home with no special equipment. See below for video of me running through each exercise to demonstrate.
The world is currently dealing with crazy times with many countries enforcing or at least strongly recommending that we self-isolate in our homes. If you don’t have a treadmill you could be left feeling that your run fitness is about to take a serious dive.
Our Sacred Freedom
Getting away from it all by going for a run is a sacred ritual that I thought would always be readily available. Without this option we are not only left without our fitness outlet, but more importantly without the mental wellness outlet it also provides.
On top of other factors causing concern right now, the last thing we need is to burden ourselves with further guilt on not getting our miles in. Instead, how about focusing on the silver linings.
Fitness Training At Home
Let’s use this opportunity to focus in on more commonly neglected areas such as leg, glute and core strength. This area is not only regularly overlooked but is crucial in injury prevention and improved running form and performance.
There are several key exercises that can be done at home with no special equipment. Below we will look at a few of my favourites that I try to regularly incorporate. Add in two to three at home HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions and you will return to outside running better than before!
As a guide, you could try incorporating these work-outs Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Utilise Tuesdays and Thursdays for a HIIT session.
Check-out some inspiration for HIIT training here.
Perform each exercise for one minute each then follow onto the next. If you cannot do a full minute then do it for as long as you can (this will improve as you go along).
For a full work-out you could run through the 10-minute session three times with a one minute break in between. If you’re short on time or not feeling up to that level yet, you can go through it once or twice.
Don’t forget to do some light warming up to prep your muscles for the real work-out.
Remember, good form is far more beneficial than aiming for more reps within the minute.
One minute each of the following:
Single leg squat: You can use a chair, couch or box. As you progress with these, the aim would be to find a lower box for further difficulty.
On one leg, with the other just out in front to help with balance, lower yourself to the sitting position. Only briefly (and barely) make sitting contact before pushing up through your heel to the standing position again. Keep a slight bend in the knee. You should feel this in your glutes and quads.
One & a Half Deep Squat: Position your feet a little wider than shoulder width, toes slightly pointing out. Go into a deep squat, just beyond a forty-five degree angle of the leg (so your butt is dipping just lower than the knees).
It’s important to make sure you are sitting back into the squat (as if you were going to sit down, butt first) and ensure your knees don’t go forward of your toes during this movement. If they do, do you are putting a lot more stress on the knees.
Come up about half-way before again going back to that deep squat position. Now come all the way up. So you’ve done a squat and a half before returning to the start position. Keep a slight bend in the knees when doing this exercise.
Jump Squat: This time when you squat down you are going to come up out of the squat with propulsion and jump up off the ground before landing back down softly on both feet. Begin again in a smooth movement and maintain a slight bend in the knees throughout.
Crunches: Laying on your back with knees up, hands behind the head. In these crunches the focus is on lifting the upper torso up off the ground. Lifting straight ‘up’ rather than towards the knees. Using the abdominals to do the work not your arms, neck or lower body.
Reverse Cork Screw: Lay down on your back with your with arms out beside you, palms down. Have the arms out from the body about halfway between straight out from shoulders and flat against the body.
Start with the legs together, knees bent, up off the ground. While the upper torso stays firmly planted with the assistance of the arms, bring the legs up with abdominals braced. As you bring them up, bring a twist into the movement. Using your hands to push into the floor will aid you in placing all the focus and work onto the abdominals and obliques.
Straight Arm Plank with Knee Up: Start in the plank position, abdominals on. Have your arms straight and palms directly under the shoulders. Bring the right knee up towards the right elbow, then raise the knee up the arm, back down below the elbow and back to the starting position. Now change sides to do this on the left.
V-up tucks: Laying on your back, abdominals activated ready for the exercise. You are bringing your knees up and your torso up at the same time to form a ‘V’ shape. I find if you have issues with your lower back you can modify this by starting with legs up and only lower down to a point you still have good control. At no time should the strain go to your lower back. The more you strengthen your glutes and posterior chain, the better you will get at this exercise.
Alternate Heel Touch Squat: Start with feet around shoulder width apart. This is a forward bend while on one leg, the other leg held up just behind you (use slightly as a counter-balance as you perform the exercise). Bend forward to place your hands either side of the standing foot before returning. This targets the posterior chain, so ensure you glutes and hamstrings are activated in performing this exercise. Alternate on each leg for the full minute.
Alternate Sprinters Lunge: Again, this exercise focuses on the posterior chain as you will be folding forward as one leg steps back into a reverse lunge. As you reverse lunge backwards both hands come down either side of the front foot into the “sprint start” position. Continue alternating legs for the full minute.
Plyo Sprinters Lunge: Take the same motion of the above sprinters lunge but add some explosive power to it by springing off the ground a little with each movement. Jump between each alternating leg position. By this stage doing this for a full minute will be very difficult!
Reverse Hyper Extension: If you imagine a hyper extension your lower half is stationary while you bring the upper torso up, working the back, glutes and hamstrings. In the reverse hyper extension your upper half is stationary and we bring the legs up (behind you). Lay on a table or bench top. Place yourself in a position where the edge of the bench ends just below the pubic bone or around where the legs naturally bend from the hips. Anchor yourself by holding on somewhere, activate your glutes and use them to bring you legs up behind you. You will get a feel of where to bring them to, around level – where you will feel it really working in the glutes in particular.
Modified Reverse Plank with Leg Lifts: Laying flat on your back, turn your core on and lift up into a low, modified reverse plank. So, you will only have contact with the floor via your heels, shoulder blades, elbows and hands. The rest of your body is elevated and lifted; this should be pretty tough in itself.
While trying to maintain the lifted and balanced position of the hips, alternate lifting one leg at a time up and back down into position. This one is much harder than it looks! Excellent for the muscles of the posterior chain.
High Hip Thrusts: Laying on the floor, put your feet up onto a higher surface such as your couch. Ensure your legs create a 90-degree angle from hips-knees-feet. Glutes activated, now push your hips up to create a straight line from you neck to your knees (like a glute bridge).
Ab Set as above.
Alternate Cross Over Step Ups: Find a stable box or low chair. Start on the box ready to step down backwards from your position. As you step down place your landing foot behind your standing leg. Raise back up to the start position and then alternate to the other leg. Try to drive up with your quads and glutes with minimal assistance from pushing off from the ground.
Alternate Reverse Lunge: Stand shoulder width apart and take a lunge step backwards before returning to the start position. Alternate legs for the minute. Ensure your stationary knee does not go forward of your toes. This exercise works the glutes and quads.
Split Squat Jump: Taking the same position of the alternate reverse lunge, this time springing up between alternating legs and landing into a split squat. Using some explosive power to change legs with each change, this one is a killer for a full minute.
Keep Things Interesting
So there you have it, a nice little work-out to keep you well-conditioned for when we are back on track again. The beauty of today’s connected world is that there are literally mountains of online resources (like You Tube) to ensure a varied and interesting fitness plan.
Focus on the Positives
When you can’t run outside for a period of time, allow any down time for reflection. Utilise this time to work on areas you feel you haven’t had time for. This includes all areas of your life – learn that language you’ve been thinking about for years, try some new vegan recipes, advance your yoga skills, start that garden! (You may need that food… just kidding… hopefully…).
As horrible as things can seem, there are always positives and silver linings we can draw from the situation. It is so important in times like these to focus on your health first and foremost. This includes physically and mentally. Stay connected with family and friends, allow yourself time to nourish your body with good food and fitness and focus in on the things we have to be grateful for.
Stay strong, and remember we can ‘stay on track’ without being on the trail.
Andrew & Lisa 🙂