Today in my marathon training class, I emphasised the importance of hitting proper angles when strength training. There are a couple exercises I have my runners do on our stability strength day, in which I require them to get their knees to ninety degrees, dorsiflex their toes, and drive up to a fully extended leg activating the glute. While actually hitting these angles does in fact make these exercises harder, the main rationale for being so anal about these angles,is it helps teach body awareness. These angles are all angles you ultimately should hit when running. If you can not hit them in a simple strength exercise, how do you ever hope to hit them while running?
So back to the body awareness. Let’s do a test, I want you to go in front of a mirror and do 10 single legged squats. While squatting with your right leg, I want you to hold you left knee at hip level at ninety degrees and keep your left toe dorsiflexed. At number 8 recheck your left leg. I bet most of you will find the leg is not at hip level or your toe is pointed down. Part of doing a repetitive exercise is it trains us to feel when muscles in our bodies are activated. You do not just retain this knowledge it comes with practice. Even if at one point in your life you had these awareness, it fades when we don’t use it! So hit those angles when you do your strength exercises. Every time your foot leaves the ground it should be dorsiflexed. If you are driving a leg off the ground, you might as well drive it to hip level. And most important–CHEST UP KEEP, THAT BELLY BUTTON SUCKED IN CORE NICE AND TIGHT! 🙂