Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Functionally Fit

One of the perks of your partner being an Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer is that all you have to say is “take me through a workout” and boom, someone creates a program for you.  It helps that our living room is basically a gym, equipped with a treadmill, a bike trainer, dumbbells, resistance bands, and yoga mats.

Last night Angela took me through a functional strength workout.  It was challenging and I am definitely sore today but more importantly, this workout pointed out my weaknesses and gave me some valuable insight.  Every injury I have ever experienced has been somewhere on my left leg.  I’ve had a tibial stress fracture, a metatarsal stress fracture, IT Band Syndrome and Tendinitis all on the left side.  I always assumed my left side was weak so I did certain exercises in the past to correct this.  Last night’s workout showed me that I was completely wrong.  My right side is far weaker than my left meaning my left side has to make up for that weakness, sometimes causing overuse injuries.

This is very valuable information.

It was also useful to find out my glutes are weak (common in runners), my hamstrings are weak, my balance is poor and my back needs strengthening.  All of this is good to know.  I plan to incorporate this workout into my training at least 2 times per week until it starts to feel easier, then I will switch it up. 

Here is the 30 minute circuit we did last night, in case you’re interested.  Keep in mind, I don't really know the technical names for these exercises and DB stands for dumbbells. 


Warm-up on the bike for 10 minutes


Squat to press w/ DB

Reverse lunge with a twist using 1 DB


Side lunge to single leg balance w/ DB

Side steps with resist-a-band


Rows with a single leg balance (switch legs halfway through)

Side plank to push up (alternating)


Forearm plank with hip abduction - Place paper towel under each foot and slide foot out and back. The paper towels make for an slippery, unstable surface, forcing your core to work harder than with a standard plank.

Straight arm plank with slow motion sliding mountain climbers Again, use paper towels under the feet to slide.


Repeat entire sequence once or twice

I realized that I won’t do my absolute best in Boston if I simply run.  I need to strengthen my core and work on correcting imbalances.  This is something that has always been put on the back burner, but it shouldn’t.  I want to avoid injury and I want to be a strong runner. Enter functional training.   Thank you, Angela for my sore booty and core today.

36 comments:

  1. So, it's always my left leg, too! When I had the first issue with chrondomalacia patella, my left quad was smaller than my right - so we strengthened it in PT. But I'm still dealing with IT band issues on my left leg.

    But when I did the RRS shoe dog, I favor my left leg when standing which makes me wonder about it's relative strength to the right. How did you determine your left leg is not as strong as your right?

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  2. That's really helpful, thanks! I just started experiencing left IT band issues and need to correct it before it becomes a big problem.

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  3. This is a nice simple workout that is definitely helpful! It's crazy how much of a difference strength training can make. I hope you get all your muscles nice and strong so that you can fly through Boston :)

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  4. i swear by strength training and think this is the thing that has kept me healthy in the past few years as i've made it a point to include it regularly. how nice that you can do it in your own home to!

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  5. ok weird...we all must have left leg syndrome because it is always, always my left side! Good to know. I will definitely try some of these excercises!

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  6. I've just started a clinic on running form and technique to help with the same kind of stuff, but I know I should do some of the strength exercises you're doing too. Good luck!
    Barbara
    My Running Shortz

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  7. We are on the same wavelength girl. I just wrote about how my right leg is picking up the slack and refusing to work right now. I sooo need to strengthen up my left leg LIKE IT's mY JOB! ;)

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  8. I've been looking into this "functional fitness" technique, and I need to work some more strength training into my life... I'm going to do this circuit next week after my race! :) Thanks for sharing!

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  9. I like this! I'm so NEW to the PT thing that all these workouts really help - thank you Kate!

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