Saturday, January 25, 2014

Movements every runner, cyclist and triathlete should have in their strength routine

Winter is here. And that means improving on weaknesses.

It also means its a great time to step back from traditional swim, bike, run training and incorporate other training methods. Time to hit the gym!

Here are a few movements I regularly incorporate:

1. Squats - with a barbell, dumbbells, resistance bands, or on top of a Bosu ball, these are my all-time favorite lower body movement. Why? Squats engage all of your lower body's major muscle groups: quads, hamstrings, and glutes. They also build core strength; some even argue more effectively than many of your traditional abdominal exercises. And then there's the hormonal response, which doesn't necessarily always come to mind. But, essentially, when large muscle groups are forced to lift heavy things (particularly during the concentric phase of the movement) there is a significant elevation in several anabolic hormones. Think testosterone and growth hormone.

Good form is essential. Make sure to start out simply with your body weight before progressing. Squatting down onto a box or bench is also extremely helpful if you're just starting out. It's a bit easier to focus on sitting back, ensuring your knees don't shoot out over your feet. Here's a great demonstration.

(Start the video around 2:00)

2. Single-leg Deadlifts - Running and cycling are essentially single-leg movements combined together to form one fluid motion. But if you break down the gait cycle of running or isolate different parts of the pedal stroke, it becomes obvious how important single-leg strength is. When an imbalance occurs between the two legs, that's when things can go wrong with biomechanics. So, I try to isolate each leg as much as possible during my strength sessions. Single-leg deadlifts are one of my favorites. They really target the glutes and hamstrings (hugely important for cycling power), while also forcing you to engage many of the stabilizing muscles in your lower leg. Similar to squats, make sure your knee doesn't cave inward. Start without any weight and slowly progress up to using light dumbbells.

3. Step-Ups - I like step-ups for all the same reasons as single-leg deadlifts. Step-ups are all about building strength and power in the glutes (and also engaging the hamstrings and quads). There are a ton of variations too. Use dumbbells, a barbell, or a weighted vest.

4. Lateral band walks - Ever have IT band syndrome or runner's knee? These and a bunch of other common running injuries can be prevented by doing one thing: strengthening the gluteus medius. These muscles are located on the outside of the pelvis and help support the body when on one leg (i.e. during the stance phase of your running gait, or when your foot is in contact with the ground).

Give these a try and let me know what you think? What are some of your favorite strength exercises?

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Coaching Business

And we're off and running. Pun intended. I spent New Years at my in-laws, and my father-in-law is known for his over-the-top puns. They must've rubbed off.

I recently started my own coaching business, Craig Moscetti Training Systems. It's still in the early stages and a work in progress. But I'm excited to be working with a couple clients already and that it's finally off the ground.

Craig Moscetti Training SystemsMy mission is simple, to help clients - of all ages and ability levels - achieve higher levels of performance to meet their personal health and fitness goals. 

I don't use pre-formulated training programs. Your body type, metabolism and physiology are all unique. That's why my advice is 100% tailored to my client's individual performance goals. Whether you're looking for helpful tips from time to time, or a personalized training approach based on your upcoming race calendar, my approach is based on client training needs. You can read more about my coaching philosophy here.

Looking for a coach? I offer one-on-one running and triathlon coaching services (both in-person and virtual), general health coaching, and individual consultations.

Contact me here for your free introductory consultation.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Top Posts from 2013

Well, 2013 is officially in the books. It's been a great year - my first full year of blogging. I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts as much as I've enjoyed writing them.

Here are the most popular posts from the past year:

1. Minimalist running shoes: Are they really what we want them to be? 

2. What's wrong with the conventional wisdom on cholesterol and how it could actually be harming us

3. Making the best of it when things don't go your way: NJ State Triathlon race report

And, of course, if there are specific topics you'd like to hear more about, let me know. I'm always looking for new ideas and would love to hear from you.

Happy New Year and best wishes for a healthy and successful 2014.