17
Apr 2014
By awooga -   In News -   Comments Off on Five Muscles Runners Need

Five muscles runners don’t realise they use when they run

The Multifidus

1. Where is it?

Tiny little muscles that sit between each vertebra in the spine

2. What does it do?

Controls the spine by stabilising each joint and helps pthe joint work more effectively and

reduces degeneration of the spine.

3. How do you know it’s weak?

Everyone loves core exercises these days, but very few strengthen multifidus before working the larger muscles of the core.  These are the TRUE core muscles and if weak will give you poor posture, lack of ability to train or develop core strength, and cause low back pain.


4.What’s the best exercise to perform to strengthen it (giving number of times a week, times a day and reps)

The finger crusher (See pics made for previous article by Nick and Phoebe) In the normal floor sit-up position with bent legs and feet on the floor, Slide both hands (Palms down) under the small of your back. Now imagine you are desperatye for the toilet, hold your pelvic floor tight and pull in  your belly button. You should be crushing your fingers with your lower back. Hold this position for 10 seconds at a time.  Once you can do this with equal pressure on each hand, try SLOWLY lifting each foot off the floor in turn trying to keep the pressure on each hand the same throughout. do this daily, 10 reps for each foot x 3.


Glute medius and Glute minimus

1. Where is it?

These two muscle lie underneath and to the side of the glute max, that big muscle you call your bum.

2. What does it do?

Technically speaking, lifts the leg out to the side and rotates the leg outwards when the leg is straight, but inwards when flexed.  These two muscles work tirelessly to hold uor pelvis straight in standing and walking posture

3. How do you know it’s weak?

You walk like a catwalk model, the hips dropping on each side as the loss of pelvic control occurs each stride.

4. What’s the best exercise to perform to strengthen it (giving number of times a week, times a day and reps)

There are two realy good exercises, the Single leg squat to functionally control the pelvis.  Find a mirror and slowly perform single leg squats whilst placing your fingers on the front of your pelvis (the boney bits at the front of your hip) to make sure one side isnt dropping.  Do this 10 reps at a time over 4 sets on each leg.  You can do this as much as twice a day, even whilst out and about waiting for a lift, in Waitrose or standing at the bar.

The less functional method is straightforward abduction in side lying, lift your leg straight up to the side and at the same time slightly rotate your foot outward.  you can do 20 – 30 reps of this X 3. 


Tensor fasciae latae or TFL (not transport for london – transport for the ITB)

1. Where is it?

At the front/side of the hip

 

2. What does it do?

Along with Glute Max it helps to keep the knee straight through using the ITB

(illiotibial band) as a sort of guy rope to the femur.

 

3. How do you know it’s weak?

Pain in thelower back, hip and knees.


4. What’s the best exercise to perform to strengthen it (giving number of times a week, times a day and reps)

This isnt one to strengthen as much as it needs stretching.  By abducting the leg behind the good leg, (think line dancing) and then leaning towards its new position (think ballet) you will feel a stretch on the side and to the front of the hip.  Hold this for 30 -60 seconds x 3 daily and especially after a run.


Popliteus

1. Where is it?

At the back of the knee, going from just above the outside (medial) joint, to just below the inside (Medial) knee joint.

2. What does it do?

Its sole purpose is to help unlock the knee as you start to bend your leg from being totally straight.  Many people wont realise that the knee actually twists slightly into place when it straightens, so when the knee first bends it needs to unwind first and the popliteus performs that job (laterally rotating the Femur on the tibia) .  The cruciate ligaments are slightly twisted around eachother and also help with unlocking as they unravel themselves.

3. How do you know it’s weak?

Its not generally weak, but you know you have a problem when you have pain at the back of the knee and in many cases very tight hamstrings…. can you straighten your leg fully whilst sitting up???


4. What’s the best exercise to perform to strengthen it (giving number of times a week, times a day and reps)

This is such a small muscle that what you need to do is support it by stretching the hamstrings and then strengthening both the hams and quads.  Do this using the swiss ball on both as shown.  20 reps x 3 on each will be a great start. 


Soleus

1. Where is it?

It runs down the back of the leg and then attaches in three places under your foot arch.

2. What does it do?

It holds up the arch of the foot and assists in the foot and ankle movement when running.

3. How do you know it’s weak?

You have flat feet….. maybe shin splints and possibly plantar fasciitis.

4.What’s the best exercise to perform to strengthen it (giving number of times a week, times a day and reps)

Slow externally rotating heel raises. Do these 10 reps at a time, very slowly. Repeat 3 times and as its a small muscle do these every other day to allow for recovery.

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