Week 6: marathon strength-training

A marathoner's body should be in a neutral state. These moves help you get there.

Like it or not, even super-fit bodies may be off-kilter, thanks to our workout routines, our desk jobs, even the way we breathe. To run as efficiently as possible, and avoid overuse injury, you need to set yourself straight. "This week's exercise selection deals with the fact that most of us tend to possess imbalances that are created by more than just our improper exercise selection," says Tier 4 coach Jason Skinner. "They are inherent in our daily life and are seen in our breathing and our typical standing stance."

This four-move workout focuses on asymmetries typical to runners, including an overly arched spine, an anterior pelvic tilt, and weakness in the glutes. "When it comes to correcting muscular imbalances, we must return the client to as close a state of neutrality as possible," says Skinner.

Perform these moves once a week, on your designated strength-training day.

Just getting started? Jump right in, or circle back and start from the beginning. Access the full calendar of workouts here.

(1) Asymmetrical Toe Touch (mobility)

Stand with your left leg on a yoga block. Shift your hips back and reach towards your right toe, as low as you can within your range of motion and without losing a neutral spine (as shown). If done correctly, this will induce a stretch in the glute and hamstring of the right leg. Using these same muscles, drive through the right heel and return to an upright position. Perform 10 reps on each side.

(2) Assisted Squat (With Belly Breathing) (activation)

Holding onto any solid counterweight, such as an anchored Cook band, drop into a deep squat (as shown). Your head, hips and legs should be relaxed. In this deep squat position, breathe through the belly and upon the inhale, try to apply pressure with the belly into the thighs. Exhale as much air as possible. The exhale should allow relaxation of the body and thus achieve a deeper squat position. Spend 1 to 2 minutes in the deep squat position, trying to focus on breathing.

(3) Lateral Band Walk (movement prep)

Stand in an athletic position with a band around the quads and another around the ankles. From a wide stance, take steps from this wide stance to one side (as shown). Try to think about the glutes creating this motion. Move 10 steps to one side and return to the original position.

(4) Goblet Squat With Kettlebell Pulse Press (movement)

With a 4kg kettlebell held at chest height, squat into a deep position while pressing the kettle bell out front (as shown). This will prevent a stimulus for the body to flex forward. Resist this force and return to the standing position. Perform 10 to 12 reps.