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.

Courtney Sharpe

Nutritional Coaching by Julia Howard

For the past two months I have worked with the JKC team and have never felt better! In addition to a personal fitness plan, JKC’s holistic nutritionist, Julia, worked with me and around my busy schedule to educate me on healthier food options and meal planning. I maintain a daily food log which Julia reviews and provides feedback on and we also have weekly chats to discuss my nutritional goals and potential improvement areas. Julia also helped me to identify and work around dietary constraints which have caused digestion issues for years!

Julia and the rest of the JKC family have helped me get my confidence back! I love starting my days with a good sweat and a healthy breakfast. I understand what foods make me feel my best and my body is well on its way to becoming more lean, fit and happy! I would totally recommend Julia and the entire JKC team!

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 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.

cas dyke

I started training at JKC in 2016 because I had built up a number of muscle imbalances from old injuries and activities like rock climbing which had led to some really bad posture and mobility issues. On top of that some friends had convinced me to sign up for a half-ironman. Working with Jon and Thomas was a way to pull my body back into alignment and make sure it wouldn’t fall apart during my race. The staff at JKC pride themselves on continuously advancing their knowledge, which leads to new and inventive way to address problems, old and new. I got my Dad to start training here and recommended JKC to all looking to improve their strength and fitness.

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.

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