José Carlos Hernández, an international athlete from Lanzarote, shares five exercises that should never be missing from your training routine
The new year always brings with it new resolutions, which often include exercising regularly, eating more healthily, and (why not) signing up for a challenging sporting event that will serve as motivation to take your training seriously.
In this blog post we share five essential functional exercises recommended by José Carlos Hernández, an international athlete from Lanzarote, who took part in the London 2012 Olympic Games, and who has been dedicating himself professionally to his great passion – running – for 30 years.
For any runner who trains regularly and competes, it is important to develop proper running technique, which is achieved through different functional exercises that help you run more, run better and avoid injuries.
These exercises are short but very effective training. They can be carried out in any natural environment, and typically involve 10, 15 or 20 minutes of jogging to warm up, 20 minutes carrying out the functional exercises, and 5 minutes of jogging at the end to cool down.
The functional exercises themselves involve an effort of between 20 to 40 seconds combined with recovery periods between sets lasting 10 to 30 seconds, depending on the intensity. This is mixed training that improves not only your muscular strength, but also your cardiovascular endurance.
Below, José Carlos describes the five exercises he recommends:
There are several ways of skipping, but the most common is high skipping. In this exercise you run forward, with your weight towards the front of your feet, and raise your knees above the height of your hips, trying to remain fully vertical by activating your core muscles. Increase the cadence of your steps and coordinate your arms with the movement of your legs in order to gain momentum.
This is one of the most effective exercises to include in the training programme of a runner aiming to learn or improve running technique. It will also help to strengthen the lower body, prevent injuries, and even make you run more economically and save energy.
BODYWEIGHT SQUAT JUMPS
To correctly execute a squat jump, stand upright with your feet a little wider than the width of your shoulders. Lower yourself keeping your upper body straight, with your chest up and with your glutes moving backwards. Once your hips have gone beyond parallel with your knees, try to come up as fast as you can, jumping as you come up in order to get your feet as high off the ground as you can.
Squat jumps are an excellent tool to increase power in the lower body, allowing the athlete to improve their power and leg strength.
The plank is an exercise that works out the core and abdominal muscles, although it also involves other parts of the body. To perform the exercise correctly, place your forearms on the floor, parallel to each other and aligned with the shoulders. Keep the body in a straight position, as if you were going to do a push-up, activating the torso, glutes and legs. While performing the exercise, keep your legs and upper body in a straight line, with your head slightly inclined like an extension of your spine.
For a runner, a strong core is essential for better physical performance when running.
To do a lunge jump, start the exercise by standing up and bringing one of your legs forward, enough so that when you lower your body, your legs form an angle close to 90º, keeping the torso as upright as possible. From this position, rise with a jump and change the position of your legs, before coming down again, bending your knees as you do.
This exercise strengthens your drive and support when running, thanks to working vital muscles for runners, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.
JUMPING ROPE WITHOUT A ROPE
Jumping rope (without a rope) is a very comprehensive exercise that brings many benefits applicable to all kinds of athletic endeavours. Position yourself as if you had a jump rope, keeping your core activated, maintaining an upright posture and jump as if you were jumping over an imaginary rope, making sure to always land on your forefoot.
Jumping rope without a rope is powerful cardiovascular exercise that also helps strengthen the muscles in the abdomen, arms, shoulders, legs and glutes.
It is important that after any training exercise there is a period of recovery, which normally involves 5 minutes of gentle jogging to cool down. It is also important to let your heart rate recover through breathing, and to stretch, which helps prevent injuries.
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