Squats

 

By Rick Morris

 

Squats are very effective exercises for nearly any sport that requires powerful hip and knee extension movements. Distance running is no exception to that rule. As a distance runner you are using your gluteal muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps muscles to extend both your hips and knees with every stride you take. That makes squats one of the more important strength exercises for distance runners. Squats are especially valuable for building a base of general strength on which you can build more specific running strength and power.

 

When you perform squat type exercises be sure to keep your knee behind your toe throughout the exercise. If your knee travels in front of your toe you are placing excessive stress on your knee joint, which could potentially cause or aggravate knee problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squats

 

Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Hold your chest out and up. Pinch your shoulder blades together. Keep your head up.

Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

Slowly lower your body by flexing your knees and hips. Initiate the action by lowering your hips rather than bending your knees. Maintain an erect body position. Keep the weight over the your heels and the middle of your foot. Do not allow your knees to extend in front of your toes at any time. Lower your body until your thighs are nearly parallel to the ground.

As you are lowering your body, raise your arms straight out in front of your body.

Slowly raise your body back up by extending your knees and hips. Maintain an erect body position. Stay smooth and controlled throughout the exercise. Repeat for about 20 to 30 repetitions or to your desired fatigue level.

Breath throughout the exercise. Inhale on the downward portions and exhale on the upward portion.

Keep your back in a neutral position.

 

Single Leg Bench Squat

 

Stand in an upright position. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

Place one foot (rear foot) behind you on a bench that is 12 to 24 inches high. Your other foot (forward foot) should be flat on the floor and directly under your center of gravity.

Bend your forward knee until it is at approximately a 90-degree angle. Do not let your knee extend in front of your foot. Slowly straighten your forward leg and return to the starting position. Repeat for about 20 to 25 repetitions.

Repeat this exercise using the other leg as the lead leg.

Do not lock your knees at any time during this exercise.

 

One Leg Squat to Stride Up

 

Stand with your feet approximately 12 inches apart.

Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

With most of your weight supported over the heel of your right foot, go into a one leg squat position by dropping your right hip and bending your right knee. At the same time pick up your left foot and drive it behind your body much like a running stride. Now push off with your right foot and drive the knee of your left leg upward as in a running stride. Keeping your weight towards the heel of your right foot return to the one leg squat position with your left foot driven behind your body. Keep following that motion for about 20 repetitions.

Switch leg positions and repeat.

Don’t allow the knee of your squatting leg to extend in front of your toes.

 

Balance Squat

 

Stand holding your chest out and up. Pinch your shoulder blades together. Keep your head up.

Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

Lift one leg in front of your body by raising your knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Now slowly lower your body by lowering the hip and flexing the knee of your supporting leg. At the same time press your bent forward leg and foot back and laterally behind your body. Maintain an erect body position. Keep the weight over the your heel and the middle of your support foot. Do not allow your knee to extend in front of the toes of your support foot at any time. Lower your body until your support thigh is nearly parallel to the ground.

Slowly raise your body back up by extending your knee and hip. At the same time bring your unsupported forward leg back to the starting position. Maintain an erect body position. Stay smooth and controlled throughout the exercise. Repeat for about 20 repetitions.

Switch legs and repeat.

 

One Leg Squat To Power Up

 

Stand with your feet approximately 12 inches apart.

With most of your weight supported over the heel of your right foot, go into a one leg squat position by dropping your right hip and bending your right knee. At the same time pick up your left foot and drive it behind your body much like a running stride.

With most of your weight centered over the heel of your right foot, very forcefully push off with your right foot and drive the knee of your left leg upward as in a running stride, jumping or driving your right foot and body about 6 to 12 inches off the ground.

Land back in the starting position with your right foot on the ground and your left foot behind your body. Immediately repeat this exercise concentrating on quick, powerful, bouncing motions. Keep repeating this motion for about 20 to 25 repetitions.

Switch leg positions and repeat.

Don’t allow the knee of your squatting leg to extend in front of your toes.

 

One Leg Balance Squat to Stride Up

 

Stand with your feet approximately 12 inches apart.

Lift your left leg in front of your body by raising your knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Now slowly lower your body by lowering the hip and flexing the knee of your right leg. At the same time press your bent left leg and foot back and laterally behind your body. Maintain an erect body position. Keep the weight over the your heel and the middle of your right foot. Don’t allow your knee to extend in front of the toes of your right foot at any time.

Lower your body until your right thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Now push off with your right foot and drive the knee of your left leg back around and  upward as in a running stride. Keeping your weight towards the heel of your right foot return to the one leg squat position with your left foot driven around and behind your body. Keep following that motion for about 20 reps.

Switch leg positions and repeat.

Don’t allow the knee of your squatting leg to extend in front of your toes.

 

One Leg Balance Squat to Power Up

 

Stand with your feet approximately 12 inches apart.

Lift your left leg in front of your body by raising your knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Now slowly lower your body by lowering the hip and flexing the knee of your right leg. At the same time press your bent left leg and foot back and laterally behind your body. Maintain an erect body position. Keep the weight over the your heel and the middle of your right foot. Don’t allow your knee to extend in front of the toes of your right foot at any time.

Lower your body until your right thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. With most of your weight centered over the heel of your right foot, very forcefully push off with your right foot and drive the knee of your left leg back around and upward as in a running stride, jumping or driving your right foot and body about 6 to 12 inches off the ground.

Land back in the starting position with your right foot on the ground and your left foot behind your body. Immediately repeat this exercise concentrating on quick, powerful, bouncing motions. Keep repeating this motion for about 20 to 25 reps.

Switch leg positions and repeat.

 

Extended Leg Squat

 

Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Hold your chest out and up. Pinch your shoulder blades together. Keep your head up.

Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

Extend one leg in front of your body and slowly lower your body by flexing the knee and hip of your supporting leg. Initiate the action by lowering your hip rather than bending your knee. At the same time raise your arms in front of your body as a counter weight. Maintain an erect body position. Keep the weight over the your heel and the middle of your foot. Do not allow your knee to extend in front of the toes of your support foot at any time. Lower your body until your thigh is nearly parallel to the ground.

Slowly raise your body back up by extending your knee and hip. Maintain an erect body position. Stay smooth and controlled throughout the exercise. Repeat for about 20 repetitions.

Switch legs and repeat.

 

 

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