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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 originally joined JKC because I was anxious about passing out and embarrassing myself since I hadn’t weight trained in a while and I’d hoped to find somewhere sympathetic. My husband @terry_hussey had been training at JKC and his success there made me miss the achievement you feel from a good workout. I went to meet Jon and immediately knew it was going to be a safe space for me. I was never judged for the fears I had and where I was starting from. Jon and Thomas made sure to check on me often, and found a way to challenge me but make me feel secure at the same time, and Terry and I were able to book sessions together, so working out became a shared win for us!

JKC is different from other gyms because of the personal growth you have outside JKC (the sessions inside JKC creates a great positive feedback loop!). You gain self confidence, learn how to show up for yourself, meet a community of newfound friends, and get the support of your trainers who are behind you 100%. I’ve left a scattered workout so proud of myself I’ve honestly shed a tear in the car on the drive home. JKC is the mental health relief valve I need to stay positive, and keep my anxiety and health related fears at bay.

I had been struggling with work-life balance resulting in not exercising or playing hockey as much as I had been doing in the past. In addition to being out of shape, I was starting to experience some back/shoulder issues and realized I needed to make some changes. Around this time, a friend (who was also a client) recommended JKC and that’s when I started!

You really feel part of a community where everyone is welcoming and supportive. You get a program that is designed specifically to achieve your goals, with the ongoing coaching, progress tracking and support required to achieve them. The JKC team are very knowledgeable about fitness and conditioning, and very engaging with everyone to answer questions or discuss anything and everything training related. I also like the flexible scheduling and gym times that work for my schedule (I like early mornings and evenings).

I chose JKC because I row/coach teams in the St. John’s Regatta and was looking to add strength training to our program. My wife is also running friends with Julia, so I got to meet Jon a few times and heard lots of good things. I like JKC over other gyms because of the level coaching I receive and the gym atmosphere. The energy in the gym helps me through the tough workouts.

I heard really good things about it from my sister, and I could see the positive results she was getting.  I needed to do something.  I was overweight, depressed, and recovering from a back injury.  I had reached a point where simply getting up out of a chair was becoming difficult.  I knew that if I didn’t do something about it my senior years would be very burdensome to the people close to me.  I’m so glad I did!  After just a few weeks my day-to-day pain was drastically reduced, and my mobility increased. I had the confidence to try sea kayaking, and I now play ice hockey twice a week!

The key difference is the expertise.  The trainers know the gym equipment and the exercises, but they also have degrees in kinesiology, and can apply what they know to your workout.  As someone who was in poor physical condition starting out, I was worried about hurting myself.  Previously I tried an outdoor weekly bootcamp and injured my knee by pushing too hard.  The trainers at JKC constructed a program that started at the right level for me, evolving it as I grew stronger and more fit.  I feel well looked after.

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.

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