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“You have to teach me how you run with both feet off the ground?!”
One of my favorite recent Instagram comments because it was both funny and well…that’s literally the definition of running! Of course we think if we’re slow that one foot must always be on the ground, but that’s walking.
The definition of running is that for an instant both feet leave the ground! Which means as runners there are three very important things we need:
- Muscle balance on both sides (i.e. equal strength)
- Core strength to keep our body aligned as we move from foot to foot
- Gear that performs like the Brooks Running gear featured here (scroll down for my review of the new Brooks Levitate 2)
The following three moves are a fantastic way to work your entire core, improve your balance, and ensure you suss out any potential imbalances. As always these are moves you can add to your warm up routine or do later.
3 Balance Moves for Runners
Pick a few things and do them each week. The next week do a few different things to keep working those hips, glutes, abs and stabilizing muscles. These exercises for balance are going to force you to engage your core and work through motions that will help you as a runner.
You can do this as a full workout, but as noted I think it goes best to add in to your dynamic warm up.
10 reps on each side.
Each move is demonstrated in the video below. Be sure to Pin the final image so you don’t forget these!
These are a little different than you may have done before, so don’t rush through this!
Starting in a full plank position first bring your right knee out to your right elbow. Then you’ll bring your right knee under your body to your left elbow, but you’ll also drop your hip almost to the floor.
Instead of keeping your hips high this will force you to engage your hip, glutes and core all together for a bigger balance challenge and benefit.
Hip Flexor Balance Raises
We spend a lot of time talking about how to stretch our hip flexors, but we also need to ensure they’re strong. And of course this is one that looks so easy we want to skip it for the more exciting stuff…don’t.
Standing balanced on your left leg, focusing on contracting the hip flexor in your right leg to bring the knee up to 90 degrees and then return to the ground.
Curtsy Squat with Lunge
This two parter will force you to engage your abs, your hips and your glutes.
From a standing position, cross your right leg behind your left in to a squat and then engaging your core rise up while kicking your right leg out to the side. Again, we’ll find this forces power in your hips and engages the core to keep you from falling over.
DON’T get overwhelmed with all the things you should do!
Instead, keep life simple by ordering your gear from Zappos and doing what you can with all your cross training.
Not only do they tend to have more comprehensive information on shoes than you’ll often find on the brand website, but fast, free-shipping and 365 return policy just makes it easy. In fact, just a few weeks ago I noted on my run that I could tell my knees were hurting because I’d taken WAY TOO long to buy new shoes.
I got home that day, used Zappos to checkout the difference in some Brooks running shoe options and finally selected a pair. They arrived the very next day!! And that’s with free shipping!
Brooks Levitate 2
I previously gave you a full review of the Brooks Levitate LE, but I’ve moved on to the Brooks Levitate 2 and have to say this pair feels far cushier, which makes me happy. There are a few other differences which are important to note:
- The Fit Knit upper wraps the foot
- It also looks freaking cool and is super comfy with the soft knit
- Includes an Achilles guard
- As noted it’s even softer thanks to the Brooks DNA AMP
Brooks DNA AMP this is the technology in the midsole that provides cushion. According to Brooks DNA AMP is a polyurethane foam, wrapped in a TPU skin, that “captures the energy created by each foot strike and gives it no place to go but up – straight back to you.” I like the sound of anything that is going to give me more energy!
Overall for me the Levitate 2 is a MAJOR upgrade to the previous versions. It’s softer, comfier, cushier and for me a style that I’m already loving on long runs.
Of course we all know shoes aren’t the only gear that matters! Above you’ll see I’m also wearing the Array Short sleeve, which has a clever little slit up the back that feels quite breezy for summer!
But what I’m really in love with are the Greenlight Capri’s. The wide waist bands makes them stay comfortably put throughout my movements without any pinching or inching down my hips as I run. As expected they have great moisture wicking and pockets for things like keys or an extra gel.
Using the right gear and the right exercises is going to help improve your running form by creating stability. Having the control to move from side to side without letting your hips drop or your upper body sway is extremely important for keeping you injury free.
Any other gear you’d like to see reviews on?
Other ways to connect with Amanda
Instagram Daily Fun: RunToTheFinish
Facebook Community Chatter: RunToTheFinish
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Whitney E, R.D.
This is a wonderful blog post and resource for runners. You have some really amazing tips and awesome exercises! Though I am not a runner, I appreciate your wealth of knowledge and will send your link to all my runner friends :)
We did so many balance and core strengthening exercises when we ran in college. I definitely felt a difference in my running when we did too!
Great tips and exercises for runners! Balance is so important to avoid injury.
These are helpful exercises for me – I’m working on core stability right now. And those Brooks are so cute! My husband loves Brooks – I wish they fit my foot better.
I’m not much of a runner, but I could definitely use some more core stability for my squats and deadlifts! You know what they say… “A strong core a day keeps the back pain away”… or something like that.
I like to run but am not the best at it. A nice collaboration of exercises to work on core strength. Thanks for the post!