Week 7: marathon strength-training

Different joints have different jobs, so you need to prep them accordingly.

Marathon runners, without fail, field plenty of questions about their joints, about which joints are giving them trouble, about whether they've given thought to what effects long-distance running may have on their ankles, knees, hips and more. But you're not destined to hobble: Marathon bodies can be long-running, well-oiled machines, provided you prepare each joint to perform its specific function.

If you haven't broken out an anatomy textbook since high school, here's a quick refresher: Each joint is structurally designed to be stable or mobile, explains Tier 4 coach Jason Skinner. "Moving from the ground up, the joints alternate between being stable or mobile: Ankle (mobile), knee (stable), hip (mobile), lumbar (stable), thoracic (mobile), scapula (stable), gleno-humeral (mobile)."

But the balance between mobility and stability gets thrown off, thanks to improper training, our chronically poor posture, and a host of other causes. "Regardless of your training goal, the body functions optimally when all of the joints are up to code, and therefore your training needs to emphasize restoring and maintaining proper function," explains Skinner.

Complete this four-move workout at least once this week.

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(1) Side-Lying T-Spine Rotation (mobility)

Lie on your right side with your head resting on a yoga block and a foam roller wedged between your knees and feet. Your spine should remain tall and neutral and your knees should be at or above 90 degrees in relation to your pelvis. With your arms extended and hands out in front of your shoulders, begin rotating your left shoulder back and towards the floor. Simultaneously rotate your left arm as well, ensuring that your legs stay planted on the floor (as shown). Exhale as a maximal rotation is achieved and try to reach further. Be sure to follow your rotating hand with your eyes, as this will allow the head to travel with the shoulders. Return to the starting position and do 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

(2) Plank (activation)

Lie on the floor facing downwards, elbows beneath the shoulders, palms down, feet together with toes pulled up towards your shins. Push your body away from the floor. The shoulder blades should spread apart as you push your upper body as far from the floor as possible (as shown). Imagine trying to pull the floor apart with your hands. Try to tuck your butt underneath you and engage your glutes. Hold this position for ten-second bursts and repeat for 3 or so reps with a few seconds rest in between.

(3) Cook Band D2 Pattern (movement prep)

Attach a cable or a Cook band at a low point. Go into a half-kneeling position, kneeling on your right knee, but keeping both knees at 90-degree angles and the spine tall. Grast the handle of the band in your right hand, then engage the glute of the right leg and pull the band across the body, from left to right, in a diagonal fashion (as shown). The goal should be to reach as far across the body as possible and to resist the rotation force created by the band. The only movement should occur at the arm and shoulder. Perform 6 to 10 reps per side.

(4) Viking Press (movement)

In a half-kneeling position on your right knee, with both knees at 90 degrees, hold a 4-kg kettlebell in a bottom-up position with both hands. The glute of the right leg should be engaged. Begin with the kettlebell in the middle of the chest, then press the kettlebell up and across the body away from the right knee, reaching until both arms are straight (as shown). Be sure to follow the movement of the kettlebell with the eyes and head. The only movement should occur at the arms, shoulders and head. Perform 6 to 8 reps per side.