In this episode I talk about treadmills, and about how they can create imbalances. If you're going to run on a treadmill, do these 2 exercises to re-balance yourself.
The two exercises I mention in this episode:
Core Balance Podcast Episode 34.
What do you think your body would look and feel like if you continue to move like you did when you were a kid, before fitness became about treadmills and calories. There is a better way and now you've found it. Welcome to the Core Balance Podcast with your host Chris Janke-Bueno.
Treadmills and calories, I know the two words that are in the introduction, the two things that I am “against”. It's not that I'm against treadmills or counting calories. It's that you know usually it's not very necessary. Anyway, welcome to the show, I'm so glad you are here today. I'm going to talk specifically about treadmills and just about some considerations that you want to keep in mind if you are going to use one. Now, again I'm not against treadmills, not by any means. If I lived up in Minnesota or somewhere up there and you know the winters up there are very harsh and I'm probably not going to want to go outside if I live up there, at least not very often, definitely not going to go for a little three mile run you know I'm going to enjoy that treadmill, I'm going to want that treadmill for sure. There's just one consideration that I want to tell you about and it's very easy actually to navigate around so that if you know this one consideration, this one limitation of the treadmill then you are able to add a few more exercises in order to kind of compensate for that limitation. So the limitation specifically is that the treadmill does not work your extensor muscles and your hip. In other words your glutes and your hamstrings. Those are the muscles that predominantly work when you do run out on the sidewalk or on a track somewhere because every time you push off so you are pushing that leg behind you, every time you do that, you are engaging the glute and the hamstring on that leg. And then every time you bring your leg forward you are engaging the hip flexor, quad, every time you land it's mostly quad.
So anyway running is a very balanced activity if your body is already balanced you are going to use all the muscles, it's going to be great. The thing with the treadmill is that since you have that belt rolling around for you, you actually don't have to do any of that extension. So imagine your foot hits the ground or hits the treadmill and then if you were on a track you would actually have to pull that leg back behind you in order to propel yourself forward. When you are on a treadmill you don't have to do that and in fact the hamstring and glute will just relax at that point. You just have to kind of leave your leg there and the treadmill will automatically pull up behind you. And then all you have to do is pick up your leg, put it down and then again the treadmill will put it behind you. So where running on the street is a flexion and an extension exercise, running on a treadmill, you are really only getting flexion and I would just caution you again because most of our day is predominantly in flexion; flexion when we are sitting at the desk, sitting in the car, you know we sit a lot and so you want your exercise routine to be able to do somewhat of the opposite of that.
So again if you are in a place where you need to use the treadmill maybe you are short on time or maybe it's too cold outside or whatever that is, use it, but just know that limitation. And then I'm going to give you two exercises that you can do in order to engage your hamstrings. One of them is specifically for the glutes actually and one of them is specifically for the hamstrings. So the first one is for the glutes. Now I would actually recommend doing this probably before and after your run and it's just one or two minutes per exercise so you are talking one or two to four minutes total before and after, pretty quick and it should be all you need in order to counter some of the effects of the imbalances of a treadmill.
So you are going to get on your back on the floor. This is a glute bridge. You are going to get on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms out to the side and I want you to look at your knee angle, your knee angle should be 90 degrees to start and you are just going to press your feet into the floor and lift up your hips. Now, when you do that you want to really focus on the balls of your feet. You want to keep those down. So almost like you are trying to touch your toes to the floor. You should feel this both in the glutes and a little bit in the hamstrings. And so if you don't feel it in the hamstrings, move your feet away from you just a little bit. And then so you are going to go up and down for again one to two minutes. And you want to really be deliberate in how you press the entire foot into the floor, especially the toes and the balls of the feet and really try to feel the glutes and the hamstrings. So that's one exercise.
The second exercise is called hamstring lean. Now the Glute Bridge, that's a generic exercise. You've probably seen it a million times. The hamstring lean, I don't know if I made it up, but I didn't see it anywhere. I haven't seen it anywhere else. So maybe I made it up, maybe I made it up at the same time as someone else, I don't know. But we use it quite frequently in our studio to engage the hamstring especially for people who are very quad dominant which happens a lot in runners, even if you do run on a track or the street.
So anyway you are going to get some padding too for this, you are going to get some padding and you are going to kneel down on the padding. So both knees on the pad and turn your body so that you are kneeling facing away from a wall and the bottom of your feet are touching the wall. And specifically the balls of your feet. So kind of the front of the foot, the toes, that area. So you are on your knees, the balls of your feet are touching the wall and then you are going to extend your ankle or press it down so that you are pressing into the wall and that's kind of going to be supporting you. And from there you are going to actually lean forward. You are going to lean your entire body forward and you want to go far enough where it almost feels like you are going to fall. And actually if you do fall just go down, catch yourself with your hands, come right back up. A lot of people feel hamstring cramps when they do this, that's completely normal and if you keep doing this every day or every other day the cramps will have a tendency to go away and you will be able to access the hamstring muscles a little better. So again these two exercises if you are running on a treadmill and even if you are not running on a treadmill, running itself, especially distance running, slow kind of a jog, tends to be very, very quad dominant, meaning that your quads, the front of your upper leg tend to do a lot of work. So I would just recommend balancing with these two exercises again before and after you do it, just to make sure that you are getting everything that you need.
So I hope that helped you runners out there and I appreciate you listening and I'm doing a podcast a day. So make sure you are subscribed on iTunes and you join us on the Facebook page, would love to hear from you.
You've been listening to the Core Balance Podcast. I'm your host Chris Janke-Bueno. We'll talk again next time. Until then let's be fit, let's be healthy, let's be happy. It feels good to move, so keep moving.
Stop relying on willpower, motivational tricks, and pump-up strategies and learn how to top into your inner fitness fire with Chris' 60-minute audio book: Ignite Your Fitness Passion (published 2015)
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Learn the basic principles that make a successful fitness program with Chris' 60-page book, Functional Strength: The Key To Pain-Free Movement (published 2008)