JKConditioning personal training“No more boring crunches!” It might sound like an infomercial on late-night TV, but it’s true: crunches and sit-ups don’t do much for the runner. Sit-ups and leg raises can potentially overwork one of the deep hip flexor muscles and they also place high compressive loads on the lumbar spine. These exercises don’t just train the core ineffectively; they may also damage the back at the same time. Traditional exercise programs have always incorporated trunk flexion (sit-ups) and extension exercises, while ignoring lumbar stability.

Also known as core stability, lumbar stability is the ability to resist unwanted or unnecessary motion in the trunk and hip regions. To a runner, this means upper- and lower-body running economy. When running, your core muscles are driven by reflex behaviour, but it can be altered by poor articleure, lack of mobility and flexibility, improper movement patterns, muscle strength imbalances or an insufficient warmup. A lack of core stability can cause head-bobbing, rounded shoulders, excessive arm swing and increased lumbar lordosis – inward rounding of the lower spine. Improving your core stability will improve your running economy and thus boost running performance. Core training can also:

  • – Reduce your risk of injury and contribute to achieving optimal lumbo-pelvic alignment
  • – Improve your sense of balance
  • – Lead to greater power generation
  • – Stabilize the torques created by the swinging arms and propelling legs, termed “dynamic stability”

Anti-rotation exercises

 
Cue anti-rotation training – also known as core conditioning, lumbo-pelvic stability training, core training or ab work. Runners need to think about the function of the abdominal muscles when deciding what core exercises to perform. Functional abdominal exercises should stabilize the spine and maintain lumbo-pelvic alignment. Think control rather than quantity. Control is the most important aspect of stability training and it is related to muscle recruitment patterns, timing and muscular endurance. Learning how to brace with a neutral spine will help you maintain the correct anatomical alignment of the lumbar spine because of the shape of the vertebrae and discs.

A neutral spine

 
Bracing the abdominal wall involves tightening all the abdominal muscles surrounding the torso to create 360 degrees of stiffness. Only a slight contraction is necessary to protect and stabilize the lumbar spine and you should be able to breathe while maintaining the brace. Picture attempting to prepare the torso to receive a punch – your abdominal wall does not hollow in or push out, rather the muscles just contract to form a stiff wall around your waist. Keep in mind the abdominal muscles are just a component to full body stability, running performance and health. Appropriate hip and upper back mobility training is important, as is gluteal strength. When strength training, such as performing squats, lunges or other single leg exercises, you should be “braced” to protect your lumbar spine. The exercises do not have to be ab-dominant to train your core.

Stand your ground

 
Many runners believe that training on unstable surfaces such as Swiss balls or Bosu balls challenges their core and helps improve running performance. In reality, performing exercises on unstable surfaces has been shown to offer no improvement in running economy, articleure or performance. Doing lunges onto a Bosu ball actually impedes strength gains, since it lowers the force output.

To read the rest of the article, please go to Canadian Running HERE.

I’m 35 and I started at JKC in November of 2019. I was coming off the win of the Royal St. John’s Regatta in 2019, and our crew was chomping at the bit to be stronger and faster for 2020. The reputation of JKC leached into our group and away we went! Unfortunately the regatta was cancelled due to COVID-19, but I just loved JKC so much I stuck around. JKC is different from other gyms because the level of experience the team has is unparalleled. Jon, Thomas and Craig all mesh well together and mentor me in a way that I know they love what they do and are genuinely excited to guide me towards my goals (and beyond). I really enjoy the atmosphere, the sense of community and all the positive vibes that I experience in every session. There’s never a time I don’t want to go because I’m motivated by the team’s coaching style and I get results.

trap bar deadlift

A few of my wonderful friends and colleagues recommended JKC. I was told by one colleague that “It’ll be the best thing you ever do for yourself” and she was right! To be honest, I didn’t have much experience in any gym setting. And NO prior weight training experience. It was always so overwhelming! But from the first day, nothing was intimidating about JKC. Each workout is set up just for me, and with my specific skills and goals in mind. There are no stupid questions, you learn as you go, and what I really love, I always feel included and important, regardless of my skills/experience.

I’m 43 and started at JKC just over a year ago. I started at JKC because of multiple recommendations from existing clients. There are 2 main elements that distinguish JKC for me. Firstly the sense of community. I’ve been to multiple gyms in multiple cities/countries, you just  can not manufacture the sense of community and support you get from other gym goers and the team. It’s very motivating and happy to say I’ve made some friends at JKC.

The other major distinguishing factor for JKC is the expertise and passion of the team. Jon, Thomas and Craig craft highly personalized programs based on my fitness goals and know how to push me best without being pushy. They pay close attention to ensuring my form is solid before encouraging me to take on more weight for the exercise. Plain and simple they love what they do and it shows.

I chose JKC because I was looking for something different. I’ve seen and done the trendy workout programs before, I was looking for something that I knew I could see myself still doing a year from now! JKC has a lot of clients that have been going for years. That was a huge motivator for me! The small group coaching sessions are great and I really enjoy the format. It’s nice having 2-4 people working-out with you during your session. The camaraderie is great, everyone is very upbeat and positive – zero gym judgment!

I heard somewhere that achieving your health goals is determined largely by what you do in the kitchen. I am grateful to have found Julia who brought direction and accountability to this most important piece for me. Having Julia in my corner has brought me confidence and certainty that I am on my way to achieving my goals. I highly recommend her if you are serious about making a change and feeling better about your health.

As Seen On: