Fitness Friday

Planks are one of our favorite exercises for runners. They work the core, your hamstrings, hips, shoulders and back muscles. Over the next few weeks, we'll be highlighting our favorite plank variations. 

Today, we are highlighting the Knee to Elbow Plank. This one is great for hip flexibility along with all the other benefits of doing a plank.


  • Begin in plank pose with your feet about hip width apart. 
  • Bring your left knee up to the outside of your left elbow. Repeat on the other side.
  • Keep the hips low and even.
  • Repeat 10x on each side



Tip of the Week - 3 Do Anywhere Exercises


The following 3 exercises are our favorites because you can do them anywhere - house, hotel room, park, rest stop, gas station and airport - if you don't mind some funny looks! They hit the major muscles groups for an easy total body workout and will get your heart rate up. Do 3-5 rounds at the same time or split it up over the day. We like to do a set or 2 at each rest stop while road tripping. Try variations as well - we've listed a few for you. Happy exercising!

Squats: Strengthens the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and improves overall muscle balance and mobility. Focus on keeping the knees over the ankles and sitting as far back as you can while keeping your chest up. Add some variety: slow down the up and down movements; lower down to where it burns a bit and pulse; widen your stance into a ballet second position or sumo squat; or try the variation (video on the right) that adds more leg movement: Squat to Leg Extention


Pushups: Strengthen shoulders, arms and core. This is a great exercise for runners because it improves the upper body strength you need to maintain proper form as your lower body begin to fatigue & essential in hilly terrain to help drive your body uphill. Keep your core nice and tight throughout for a true full-body workout. There are a ton of variations as well: keep your arms close to your body for a yoga/tricep pushup, move your arms far away from your body and move one arm forward and keep the other by your shoulder. The modified version (on the right) is great and you can do those variations on your knees too. Aim for 10-15 for 1 set.


Planks:Targets your entire core. Our favorite way to do planks is in a 2 minute series: 30 sec forearm plank, 30 sec side plank, 30 sec other side and end with 30 sec forearm plank. Try the variation (video on the right) for added oblique work - Plank Knee Tucks


Our Top 5 Strength Moves for Runners

Let’s face it, most of us runners think we are in great shape and fit because we run long distances or so many hours a week. While that’s true, running is the same motion over and over and over again. Thus, your muscles and joints learn to behave in a very specific way. In order to become a faster and stronger runner, incorporate cross training and strength exercises into your weekly running plans.

One of our favorite ways to incorporate strength into our weekly workouts is to do the exercises during a run. We do this on an easy run day and not on a day before or after our speed/tempo/hill or long run.

Here’s our workout: Run 1 mile, dynamic warmup series, run ½ mile, legs, run ½ mile, abs, run ½ mile, upper body, finish up with 1 mile cool down.

Here are the top 5 exercises we recommend for every runner. Do 2-3 sets of each exercise at least 2x a week. You will become stronger and you will feel faster. We've included a link to our video. The description is within our YouTube video.

1. Plank - Builds abdominal and lower back strength to support and stabilize your upper body while running improving form, performance and reducing risk of injury. 

  • Begin lying face down, resting on your forearms. 
  • Push off the floor, raising up on to toes and forearms so your body is parallel to the floor, making a straight line from your head to your heels
  • Focus on pulling your abdominal in and keeping your shoulders over your elbows. 
  • Look slightly forward to avoid straining the neck.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds.

2. Side Plank - Strengthes the oblique muscles and increase hip strength and stability which are important in preventing injury. 

  • Begin by lying on your right side with your right forearm on the ground, shoulder over your elbow and left leg stacked on top of right.
  • Exhale and push your hips off the floor. Keep pushing left hip up towards the sky. 
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side

3. Pushups - Strengthens the shoulders, arms and core improving your upper body strength which will improve your running economy, help maintain proper form as your lower body begins to fatigue, and are essential for hilly terrain in order to drive your legs uphill.  

  • Get into a plank position and place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Feet can be together or wider apart (easier).
  • Contract your abs by pulling your belly button toward your spine. Keep your core tight throughout the movement.
  • Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Exhale as you push back up to the start position. Don't lock the elbows; keep them slightly bent.
  • Repeat 25 times (full or modified or a combination).

3. Squats - Strengthen your hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteals, calves and hip flexors. These are great for runners because they work the entire lower body and improve muscle balance.  

  • Stand with your knees shoulder width apart and toes angled out, arms by your sides. 
  • Squat down bringing thighs parallel to the floor. Keep your weight in your heels, chest up, back flat and knees behind your toes. Squeeze your butt as you come back up. 
  • For weak knees, only perform a partial squat. 
  • Repeat 25 times.

4. Bridge Lift - Works your glutes, which is necessary for efficient leg turnover. 

  • Lie flat on your back with your hands by your side, knees bent and feet hips width apart. 
  • Fire your glutes by driving your heels into the ground to raise your hips. Your hips should create a straight line from the knee through the hip and shoulder. 
  • At the top point, draw in the abdominals and hold for 2 seconds. 
  • Lower back down and repeat.
  • You should feel this in your glutes and hamstrings, not your back.
  • Repeat 25 times.

5. Single Leg Deadlift - Strengthens the hips, engages the hamstrings and gets the glutes firing. These are all needed for stabilizing the body while running. Balancing on one leg simulates the one legged activity of running, works your balance and core muscles. 

  • Standing up with a slight bend in the right knee, raise the left leg slightly off the ground.
  • Hinge forward at the waist and lift the left leg straight behind you until your chest is parallel to the floor. Engage your hamstring and glute of the right leg planted on the ground and come back to standing. Repeat for 10-15 times and switch legs.
  • Advanced Option: As you hinge back to standing draw the right knee up until your knee is parallel with your hips. Hold for 3 seconds and return to hinged forward position with your leg behind you. Repeat for 10-15 times.