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When it comes to improving your running form, crunches and sit-ups will do very little. They’re detrimental to a runner’s spine and not at all effective at improving the true function of a runner’s core. But many people still ask how many sit-ups they need to do to run a faster 10K. The sit-up movement results in high spinal loads and reproduces an injury mechanism that could result in a herniated disc. The true function of a runner’s core is not to flex the spine, so why would you train it that way?

Visualize the core as a group of muscles surrounding the torso, providing structural integrity to the lumbar spine and pelvic girdle. When running, the core provides dynamic postural control to minimize excessive movement in the torso and pelvis while the hips and legs propel the body forward. The group of muscles also has to resist and control the rotational torque that the legs and hips apply to the upper body. Core-stability training can improve this function and make runners more efficient.

The gluteals also play an important role in the running stride. For example, the gluteus medius functions to maintain pelvic stability when standing on one leg. A lack of gluteus medius strength allows the pelvis to drop, reducing stride efficiency and running speed. Weakness in the gluteus maximus and overdeveloped hamstrings can also pose problems for runners. This muscle imbalance can lead to hip issues or hamstring strains, which would put a halt to your training.

Everyone knows planks and side planks but few have seen their progressions. Add these advanced core stability and gluteal strengthening exercises throughout your training week to strengthen your abs and to keep you injury free.

Key training points to remember:

 
Maintain neutral spine by pretending to brace for a punch. This light contraction will ensure the correct posture is maintained. Don’t hold your breath during the exercises – take smaller more frequent breaths. Keep your chest out and pull your shoulders toward your hips as you maintain the normal curve in your thoracic spine.

For the exercises, read the rest of the article on Canadian Running HERE.

photo credit: kaneda99 via photopin cc

I’m 34 and started at JKC in 2015. My wife joined while I was working away in 2015 and started making amazing progress while also completing exercises I’d never perform on my own. I felt I was missing out so I signed up. JKC helps in establishing goals while also having clear direction of what to do, and how, in each session. They also measure your progress which is another means of motivation! At other gyms I wouldn’t have a clear plan and would just use whatever equipment was free, it was hard to see any results. Between setting some personal bests and making good friends its hard to identify a favorite memory.  One that does come to mind was when I hit my target goal/PB in both bench and squats in the same session, big day.

sumo deadlift

I had always wanted to start lifting weights and get stronger, but didn’t know where to start. I was looking not just for a gym, but for training on proper technique to prevent injury and a program designed for my specific goals. I also wanted a fun and supportive atmosphere to keep me coming back. JKC delivered on all of this and more.

Jon and Thomas have a wealth of knowledge that help their clients get the most out of their time in the gym. Programs are continuously modified to keep the workouts challenging. Even through everyone’s program is unique, you always have the coaches and other clients cheering you on and pushing you to achieve new bests.

I joined JKC because I wanted to better care for my physical health, but didn’t really know how, or where, to begin.  Seeking help from a trainer seemed like a wise choice, and I had heard great things about the staff at JKC. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate exercising.  So, I’ve only ever tried sticking with a gym routine twice in my life.  Each experience consisted of me wandering around, not knowing what to do, and settling for an elliptical machine or something else that seemed comfortable and non-threatening.  Each session was the same, and I felt like I was wasting my time.

Each session at JKC, however, is specifically crafted for me.  I don’t have to think about what to do, because I’m told what to do.  I don’t have to worry about how to do things properly, because I’m shown (sometimes multiple times!) how to accomplish each task.  I don’t have to be concerned about slipping into a comfortable routine, because Jon and Thomas won’t let that happen.

I saw an article in Men’s Journal that quoted Jon in about 2018 while traveling and was impressed that someone in St. John’s made that international magazine.  Jon spoke about an exercise called the Farmer’s Walk and I started working that into my routine at the YMCA. I tore that article out of the magazine and kept it, meaning to make contact, but got busy. Then I had lunch with an old friend Bruce Dyke. I hadn’t seen Bruce for a while and I remarked that he looked super healthy and fit. He told me about his, and his son Cas’, experience at JKC and then I remembered the Men’s Journal article! No coincidences!

The experience is unique on many levels – great people, camaraderie, passion, purpose, and dedication. Jon and Thomas are attentive, precise and understanding.  Their teaching has unlocked a new perspective for me with what our bodies are capable of. I still appreciate the YMCA, wonderful place, but I can’t imagine working out without Jon and Thomas now.

After my children were born, I was completely out of shape. I had been active before my first pregnancy in 2008. I saw a post on social media about a charity event that was hosted at the gym. It prompted me to check out the JKC website. I was immediately impressed by the professional content and decided to give it a try. The professionally crafted and uniquely tailored work outs, as well as the sense of accountability and commitment that they foster. I have not missed a workout since joining – contrary to other experiences I have had when purchasing gym memberships. The flexibility of booking and rescheduling workouts, made easy by an online app, also contributed to my success in meeting my fitness goals.

I enjoy every session, working out with Jon, Thomas and Craig, as well as the “JKC Community”. Anytime someone achieves a personal best, I enjoy the celebration and support everyone gives each other. For me, I fondly remember achieving personal bests on bench press, chin ups and the sled push, in particular.

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