Advertising
Advertising

Want to Start Running? See if You’re Ready to hit the Pavement

Want to Start Running? See if You’re Ready to hit the Pavement

New running shoes? Check. Hamstring stretches? Check. Crazy-expensive socks designed to prevent blisters? Check. You’ve got the gear and you’re resolved to get out the door and start a running program. However, despite your strong desire to be like Meb, don’t start pounding the pavement just yet.

Before you begin a running program, you need to know if your body is ready for this high-impact exercise. Running isn’t just about endurance; you need strength to run. Performing the strength test below is a great way to determine if you’re strong enough to starting running.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1) An exercise mat

2) A timer

Advertising

3) A step (a step stool will do just fine)

Start by going for a 10-minute walk to warm up. Then perform each exercise below for one minute in the order listed.

1) Forward lunge, knee up: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Step forward with your right foot, then sink down into a lunge. From this lunged position, push up on your right leg and bring your left leg forward into a knee-up. Step your left foot back to where it started and sink into the lunge again. After a few minutes, you should feel this in your right hip and right glute. If you feel this in your quadriceps (front leg muscle) or have any knee pain, focus on keeping your knee behind your toe as you lunge and your right knee turned slightly outward so that you’ll engage your gluteal muscles.

After one minute on one side, rest, and switch sides.

Advertising

depositphotos_73127957_original-1

    2) Mini-hops: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and hop just slightly above the ground. There’s no need to go super high. Just a slight hop will do.

    3) Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Stick your rear back, keep your chest up, and sit back like you’re going to sit in a chair. Just like in the first exercise, you should feel this in your gluteals. Strong gluteal muscles are essential for injury-free running, so if you can’t keep proper form, you likely aren’t ready to run yet. Until you’re stronger, you can hold onto a steady object (e.g., a chair, the back of the couch, etc.) to give yourself some stability while you master this move.

    4) Football feet: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Shuffle your feet up and down quickly. Move to right, to the left, or stay in the middle. You can do any type of football feet you like as long as you just keep moving.

    5) Birddog crunch: On your mat, start on all fours. Tighten your core and make your back flat. Tuck in your left arm as you bring your right leg toward your stomach into a crunch motion while keeping your back flat. Then extend your arm back out to be straight while you also straighten your leg. After one minute on one side, rest, and switch sides.

    6) Side V-up: Lie down on your right side with your right arm straight in front of you. Lean slightly back on your butt; keep your legs straight and crunch up, making a V, and then come back down. After your 30 seconds are done, rest, and switch sides.

    Advertising

    depositphotos_54506217_original-1

      7) Side plank: Lie down on your right side with your legs straight out. Stack your left foot on top of your right foot. Rise up onto your right elbow, while keeping your feet stacked on top of each other and your body in a straight line. After your 30 seconds are done, rest, and switch sides.

      8) Plank dog: Start in a plank position. Make sure your body is in a straight line. Press back into downward dog (i.e., making an upside-down V with your body) and bring back one of your hands to touch the opposite shin. Go back into plank, on the next downward dog, and switch arms.

      9) Bridge kicks: Lie on your back. Place your feet on the floor so that they are a couple of inches from your butt. Tighten your core and raise your butt off the floor. Keep your butt tight while you lift your legs one at a time. Is your butt dropping? Tighten it up; it needs to be level.

      10) Side steps: Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Stick your butt back and go into a squat, keeping your chest raised. If you can’t see your feet, you aren’t sitting back far enough. You should be able to wiggle your toes. Once you’re in a good position, step to the side while holding this position for 10 steps (or as far as your living room will allow), then go back. Think about keeping your nose level as you move across the floor. (If you want to add an additional challenge, you can place an elastic exercise band around the lower legs.)

      Advertising

      11) Heel raises: Stand with legs shoulder width apart with your feet straight ahead. Rise up onto the balls of your feet, then lift one foot and sink down slowly onto the foot still on the ground. Focus on bringing your arch to the floor last. After one minute on one side, rest, and switch sides.

      12) Mountain climbers: Start in a plank. Remember your butt should be in alignment with your back and shoulders. Alternating knees, bring each knee into your chest in a quick motion, like you’re climbing rapidly up a mountain. (Disclaimer: Nobody actually climbs a mountain like this, unless they want to die.) Keep your butt aligned; don’t let it pop up.

      depositphotos_80949982_original

        How did you do? Were you able to perform each of the 12 exercises for one minute, while maintaining great form, without having to take a break? If so, great – you’re ready to start running.

        If you’re struggling through these movements or need frequent breaks, you’re not ready; you’ll only risk injury if you start a running program. However, don’t worry. Every time you do this strength test, you’ll get stronger. If you are suffering pain after running due to plantar fasciitis, my article on how to choose the best shoes for plantar fasciitis is for you. Remember to do this routine up to five times a week and build up to completing the test successfully. Once you can, you can feel confident as you head out the door and begin your running program.

        More by this author

        Why Your Home Studio Needs Acoustic Treatment Want to Start Running? See if You’re Ready to hit the Pavement 5 Environmentally Friendly Flooring Options 11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers Which Is More Important to Build Strength, High Weight or High Reps?

        Trending in Exercise

        1 8 Yoga Poses to Help You Achieve Strong and Toned Inner Thighs 2 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly) 3 3 Home Exercises To Fix Your Rounded Shoulders In One Month 4 Workout Every Day: Thursday Music Playlist 5 Cut down on drinking! Time for a post-holiday detox

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on April 2, 2020

        10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

        10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

        Flabby arms are something a lot of us have to tend to. If you find yourself buying a sweater or cardigan to go with your tank top or usually opt for the long-sleeved dress, then you’re not alone. Usually a result of genes, general excess fat or just ageing, it seems difficult to lose arm fat. The fat in our arms accumulates mainly around the triceps – the muscles on the back of your upper arm – and are prone to getting flabby if not exercised regularly.

        What we eat can also play a part in the extent of the jiggle so eating a good, healthy balanced diet as well as keeping well hydrated can put you on the right track. Resistance exercises are the most effective way to blast that underarm fat as well as strengthen, shape and tone your muscles. You can always go down to the gym and work up a sweat but who has time for that? If you want a convenient and quick alternative then you can easily manage an effective routine in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a set of dumbbells and you can start toning up those bingo wings with these 10 easy workouts.

        1. Tricep dips

        shutterstock_251341681

          Works: Triceps

          • Hands must be positioned shoulder width apart on a secured chair or bench.
          • Position your bum in front of the bench with feet hip-width apart on the floor and legs bent.
          • Straighten out your arms a little, keeping a slight bend from the elbow so to put more emphasis on the tricep and less stress on the elbow.
          • Keeping your back close to the bench, slowly lower your body so that your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
          • Once in this position slowly push off your hands back to the starting position.
          • Do 10-15 reps.

          2. Bicep curls

          Advertising

          shutterstock_314080697

            Works: Biceps and shoulders

            • Start off with your feet hip-distance apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing out.
            • Starting with your left arm, bend your elbow to slowly bring the weight up to your shoulder holding the position for 5 seconds.
            • Slowly release the elbow and straighten your arm back down to the starting position.
            • Repeat the moves on the right side.
            • Complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each arm.

            3. Push ups

            shutterstock_326069966

              Works: Triceps and Deltoids

              • Lying face down, place your hands on the floor roughly shoulder-width apart.
              • Tuck your toes under and gently lift your body up, pushing through your hands and making sure not to lock your elbows.
              • Slowly bend your elbows bringing your face roughly 2-3 inches from the ground.
              • Slowly push back up through your arms. If this is difficult then do the same move but keeping your knees on the floor.
              • Repeat 10-15 times.

              4. Tricep Kickbacks

              shutterstock_314080715

                Works: Triceps

                Advertising

                • Place a weight in each hand and kneel down onto the floor with your toes tucked under.
                • Bend your upper body forward from the hips up and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
                • Extend both your arms backwards while your palms are facing each other.
                • Feel the tension in the triceps and return to the starting position.
                • Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

                5. Plank

                shutterstock_298755041

                  Works: Chest, Shoulders, Biceps and Core

                  • Start face-down on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.
                  • Step your feet out so that they are slightly apart and come into the plank position.
                  • Make sure your body is straight, parallel to the floor and your bum is tucked in.
                  • Pull your abs in and hold the position for as long as you can. Try to aim for 20-30 seconds and build up to a minute.
                  • Repeat 3 times.

                  6. Tricep Extensions

                  shutterstock_314080343

                    Works: Triceps

                    • Stand on a mat with your feet hip-width apart.
                    • Hold one dumbbell with both hands behind your head, bending the elbows.
                    • Bring the weight towards the ceiling, straightening your arms above your head.
                    • Lower back to starting position.
                    • Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                    7. Lateral Arm Raises

                    Advertising

                    ab891e2e702b8027b704791ef556d0ce

                      Works: Deltoids

                      • Stand with feel hip-width apart. With arms down the side of your body, hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in.
                      • Starting with your left side, inhale and slowly raise your arm so that it’s parallel to the floor. Make sure not to lock your elbow by keeping a slight bend.
                      • Make sure your arm is straight and palm is facing the floor.
                      • Exhale and slowly bring your arm back down to your side.
                      • Repeat on the right side.
                      • Do 10-15 reps on each side and two sets.

                      8. Overhead Press

                      shutterstock_314080298

                        Works: Shoulders

                        • Stand up, lining your feet with your hips and hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing out.
                        • Bring the weights to your shoulders.
                        • Keep your core muscles tight and straighten your arms above you.
                        • Slowly bring your arms back down to your shoulders.
                        • Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                        9. Bent Over Row

                        shutterstock_275943536

                          Works: Triceps and Biceps 

                          Advertising

                          • Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
                          • Bend your knees and and then bend your upper body forward from the hips making sure you keep your back nice and straight.
                          • Make sure your hands are straight and placed under your shoulders.
                          • Bend the elbows back while lifting your arms towards the sides of your chest, pulling your shoulder blades towards each other.
                          • Slowly lower the weights in a controlled movement and feel the tension at your triceps.
                          • Repeat 10-15 times.

                          10. Skull Crushers

                          Skull-Crushers

                            Works: Triceps

                            • While holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie on your back with your knees bent.
                            • Slowly raise your arms so they are above your chest, making sure your elbows are straight but not locked.
                            • Slowly lower both arms toward your head, bending your elbows to 90 degrees as the dumbbells reach the mat. Aim to lower your weights so they are on either side of your head  with elbows bent and pressing in toward your head (being careful not to hit yourself in the face).
                            • Lift your arms back to starting position.
                            • Complete 2 or 3 sets, 10-15 reps each.

                            Featured photo credit: Maddi Bazzocco via unsplash.com

                            Read Next