Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No Gym Required

Four exercises do the job just fine, thanks.

You can easily strength train without gym equipment. I recommend four key exercises. The first two target major muscle groups in your upper body, and the second two target your midsection.

The first exercise, and the most challenging, is the chinup, which works your upper back, rear shoulders, and biceps. It's best to perform chinups using an "underhand" grip, with your palms facing toward you on the bar. Do one to three sets of 5 to 10 repetitions every other day.

The second exercise is the pushup, which targets your chest, front shoulders, and triceps. Do one to three sets of 15 to 30 reps every other day. Just be sensitive to signs of lower-back discomfort, as pushups place stress on your lumbar spine.

The third exercise is the twisting trunk curl, which works the abdominal and oblique muscles of your midsection. Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, lift your head and shoulders off the ground just like a regular abdominal crunch, but twist your body to the side -- alternating left and right -- on the way up. Do one to three sets of 15 to 30 slow and controlled reps every other day.

The final exercise is the trunk extension for the lower back muscles, a particularly vulnerable area for runners. Lying face down with your elbows out and hands under your chin, lift your chest a few inches off the floor, then lower it. Do one to three sets of 5 to 15 reps, slow and controlled, on the same days as the twisting trunk curls.

For each exercise, gradually increase the number of repetitions until you reach the top of the suggested rep range, then increase the number of sets.

See article on Runner's

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