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 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 am turning 67 next month and I started my journey with JKC in 2018. Seven years ago I experienced significant foot pain which had a negative impact on my day to day activities. I learned that issues in other parts of the body need to be addressed to achieve a positive result. My doctor (Dr. Jessica Wade) suggested, along with some other therapies, that I could  benefit from the conditioning JKC had to offer. I previously had not trained in any gym. I observed how many gyms operated and had a sense that JKC would be more my style: training in a small group setting, having such personal attention, and a program meeting my specific needs is fantastic! I love the atmosphere at the gym. Everyone is accepted and you feel supported and comfortable.

lisa jumping onto a box

JKC was recommended to me by a fellow runner. I was experiencing injuries, and feeling weak and fragile. When I started with JKC, Jon asked me about my goals and my focus. I wanted to concentrate specifically on running, and preventing injury. Jon developed a program for me that has enabled me to focus on my form and strength and has been flexible enough to enable me to train for many different races. I have been training with JKC for six years, and during that time I have enjoyed Jon and Thomas’s expertise in a very warm and supportive atmosphere.

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 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!

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