Scrambled Eggs and a French Twist, its a great way to start your day! It probably sounds like I'm talking about breakfast, but I am actually referring to two of my favourite Megaformer exercises at Booster [Pilates +]! These exercises strengthen muscles that are especially important for runners to be able to run efficiently and without injury or strain in the lower back, hamstrings or knees.
As a runner, I know its important to strengthen muscles like the obliques, transverse abdominus, and the glutes because with a strong core you can increase your speed, power up those hills, and go the distance with better posture and less fatigue! To target these muscles, you must go beyond crunches, as these exercises only engage a small area of the abdominals, and exhaust the spine. You can learn more on the subject in this interesting article from the Huffingtonpost about why crunches are not the most efficient.
Exercises like the Scrambled Eggs and the French Twist target the obliques, using cables and spring loaded tension with slow pulling movements.
Scrambled Eggs is an Intermediate level exercise performed on the hands and knees facing the back of the machine. One knee stays firmly on the carriage under the hip while other leg extends out straight behind you with the foot in a strap attached to a cable and a pulley. Shoulders stay squarely over the wrists. The cable allows you to move the extended leg up forward and back in a sweeping motion that pulls against the tension of the springs. The extended leg is the only part of the body that moves, thus, the spine is stabilised, and hamstrings and glutes are engaged as well as the obliques!!! It might sound complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you will soon appreciate the benefits!! (we will soon add a video to this post so that you can better visualize the exercise!)
The French Twist is a slightly more advanced exercise that again targets the obliques, as well as the triceps, back and shoulders. Performed with the hands on the handlebars at the back of the machine, and the feet on the moving carriage. The outside of one foot is secured behind a strap and the other foot stays in place toe-to-heel behind it. Working with the tension of the spring, the hips drop to create a straight diagonal line from toes to shoulders, and then, keeping the legs straight, the hips are lifted up, pulling against the resistance, as always, with slow smooth movements. It`s a killer!
These are just two of the hundreds of exercises you can do with this machine, but they are my favourites! And, they are especially unique to the Lagree Fitness Method workout. As a runner, I can honestly testify to the benefits!
I have been an runner for more than 15 years now, starting with the high school cross-country team, continuing to run on my own through college, then on to train for and finish three full length marathons. I have always considered it part of my life, but lately, I had hit the dreaded `plateau`. I could still crank out the distance, but I seemed to be going slower and slower, not feeling really great, thinking maybe my running days were over. After working out regularly with Booster [Pilates +] and the Megaformer, things have turned around in a big way! I am feeling zippier, leaner and stronger, running with better posture, and really, feeling great. And its not just a feeling, the stopwatch and the scales confirm it!! After averaging 9:30-10 min/mile (5:50-6:10 min/km), now my average is under 9 min/mile (5:35 min/km), and I have trimmed off 4kg! And it’s only getting better.
But don’t just take my word for it, check out this great article about the importance and specific anatomy of a strong core for runners, featuring elite athlete Lolo Jones. You can also see how many of the exercises suggested are similar to movements you will find in a Booster [Pilates+] workout, sometimes combining 2 in 1!
"When your core is strong, everything else will follow," says Greg McMillan, a running coach in Flagstaff, Arizona, who has worked with scores of elite and recreational runners. "It's the foundation for all of your movement, no matter what level of running you're doing.”
My Booster Top 5 for Runners:
1. Scrambled Eggs (obliques, glutes, hamstrings)
2. French Twist (obliques, shoulders, back, triceps)
3. Mega Hamstring Curls (hamstrings, glutes, lower back)
4. Plank to Pike, Mega Plank to Pike, (lower abdominals, back, shoulders)
5. Swimmer (lower back, upper back, shoulders, triceps)
Hope to see you soon at the studio for all of these exercises and more!!
From Sunday 16/11, you can also join us every Sunday at 9.30 for a gentle morning run around the lake! Register in the group class schedule on www.boosterpilates.ch if you wanna join!