Welcome to Mab & Stoke’s proprietary workout series. We believe that movement is medicine and fitness is for all. So, each month, we’ll bring you a new routine from a trainer in our community. Next up: build your running muscles—and work on your form—with these moves from Shodan Rodney, a personal trainer in New York City.
Ready to run into 2022—literally? Not so fast! If you’re new to running, or coming back after a hiatus (no judgement), you should do some prep work before you hit the pavement or trail. For starters, Rodney says that running drills are just as important as running itself. “They’re paramount to the proper running form and technique,” he says. “Drills break that form down step-by-step so you can really master it.”
Next: “Strength training to me is the pillar of all movement, sports like running included,” says Rodney. “When the body has strength across all planes of movements you’re infallible as an athlete.”
In addition to strengthening the key working running muscles (hello legs, glutes, and core!) you’ll want to do plyometrics like box jumps to help you literally power up for sprints or hill work.
The good news is that you can do all three—drills, strength, and power work—with little to no equipment or space. Rodney’s moves below prove it.
Do the following three moves on their own, or as part of your regular leg day at the gym.
- Bulgarian Lunges
“Single-leg work is a greatly underutilized modality that runners can benefit from,” says Rodney. Think about it: You’re only ever on one leg while running! This move in particular works your legs, glutes, and yep—core too.
Instructions: Hook your back foot at the edge of a couch or bench in a split stance position with front foot planted on the floor, knee slightly bent. Deeply bend your front knee, bringing your back knee towards the ground. Return to start and repeat. Do 4 sets of 8 reps on each leg. Start with your bodyweight, then grab a light to medium kettlebell or dumbbell to progress.
- Box Jumps
“This is a great movement for building explosiveness in the legs which will undoubtedly have tremendous carry-over for runners, whether you’re a sprinter or distance runner,” Rodney says.
Instructions: Start standing in front of a box. Bend your knees and drive through your legs to jump up onto the box. Carefully step down, reset, then repeat. Do 3 sets of 5 to 8 reps, depending on the height of your box.
- Seated Fast Arms
“A sure-fire way to reinforce running form in the arms is by isolating them from a seated L position,” Rodney says. “This movement teaches you how to properly utilize the arms to aid in forward propulsion.”
Instructions: Start seated on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you and arms at your sides. Begin to rapidly drive your arms forwards and backwards, like an exaggerated running arm swing. Do 3 sets of 30 seconds.
Do the following 2 moves as part of your pre-run warm-up.
- Sprinter Crunches
“A strong core is pivotal for every aspect of exercise and running is definitely no exception, Rodney says. “The better you can engage your core, the more control you can have over the complete unit that is your body while performing.”
Instructions: Start lying on your back with your hands behind your head. As you sit up bring your left elbow to your right knee. Return to start and immediately repeat on the other side. Continue alternating. Do 4 sets of 30 seconds.
- A Skips
“Form is king when it comes to running,” Rodney says. “So running drills are crucial to honing the pattern and cadence needed to crush those running goals. The key is all in how we train and practice.”
Instructions: Quickly bring your left knee up to your chest, then your right, as if you were doing exaggerated skips in place. Do 3 sets of 45 seconds.