Natasha Wodak is the Canadian 10,000m record holder who’s competing this weekend at the Pan Am Cross-Country Cup in Victoria. In preparation for this weekend’s race, Wodak did a training camp in sunny San Diego. While she was away, it was easier to keep her strength routine minimal–so she stuck with exercises that required almost no equipment and could be done anywhere.
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Wodak says this workout can be done without equipment or runners can use a small resistance band, “You can buy a band for $3, that’s all you need. The blue band is the one I use.”
Wodak says she’s fortunate enough to have worked with several trainers over the past six years, and this circuit is an accumulation of the tips she has picked up along the way. Wodak does this workout a lot when she’s travelling, “This is for when you go to the hotel gym and it’s packed or you just don’t have access to a gym. This workout can be done anywhere. This might not be the specific workout that your trainer gave you, but it gets the job done.”
Pick two exercises per category (glutes, core and arms) and cycle through them a couple times. Start with 20 reps of each, and work your way up from there.
For the core portion of Wodak’s workout she’ll do side crunches, sit ups, plank variations (see video above) and scapular push ups. The scapular push ups engage both a runner’s core and their arms. They’re done by holding a high plank position and moving your shoulder blades up and down.
Wodak’s favourite glute exercises are the glute bridge, step ups, split lunges off a bench (or even a chair will work) and box jumps (if you have access to a bench).
If you don’t have access to a bench, a walking lunge and regular squats are also good options. Wodak recommends holding at the bottom to make unweighted squats more difficult.
The glute bridge can be done with a band around your knees, and is held at the top to make it more difficult. Step ups are simply done by stepping onto a bench and holding a running ‘A’ position at the top. For box jumps, start in a squat position and jump onto the bench, then, push up like you’re finishing a squat.
Wodak’s favourite arm exercises are good, old fashioned, push ups and dips off a bench. When doing dips, be sure to keep your back as close to the bench as possible without scraping yourself.
While these exercises are a good place to start, Wodak recommends that runners go for one tutorial to be sure that their form is correct. “For any runner that wants to do a no-equipment strength workout, do one tutorial session with a trainer so that you know exactly how to do the exercises and that your form is strong. It’s an investment in yourself and your sport.”