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Strength moves to do when killing time

Triangle pose

Life gets busy. Sometimes it’s easier to just not to the strength and stretching that keeps us strong for running. But these few moves can be done throughout the day while waiting for other things to finish up.

Triangle pose1. Waiting for dinner to cook. You’ve got half an hour to kill while that chicken is cooking away in the oven. That’s not enough time to get involved in a lengthy task. It is enough time to loosen up those stiff muscles.

The move: Mini yoga session. What are your favourite yoga poses? A lot of runners use yoga to fix muscular imbalances, stretch out tight muscles or get in strength work while having fun. Whether you’re doing warrior pose or downward dog or extended triangle, it’s a better use of time than sitting at your table texting.

V-Sit Lateral Medicine Ball Touches. Photo by Mark Burnham.2. Waiting for the dryer to finish your load. Stick your clothes in the washer or dryer and put that yoga mat to good use. You’re killing two birds with the one stone in this time.

The move: Ab circuit. You have enough time here to do a thorough enough ab circuit. Don’t just stick to crunches. Pick a few ab moves that you love and rotate doing as many reps and sets as you feel comfortable with. Maybe start with crunches, move to leg lifts, a plank or get that med ball going.  Remember to do each move slowly making sure you’re really contracting the muscles. It’s not always about speed!

plank3. Waiting for the coffee to brew. It only takes a few minutes but strengthening during these few minutes every single day will add up…

The move: Planks. Planks don’t take long and we’re not asking you to get involved in some heavily vigorous activity before you’ve even had your morning coffee! Planks can be done over the span of a few minutes. Get into traditional plank position and hold or upgrade your plank by doing side planks, reverse planks or using a stability ball.

4. Waiting for your friend to call back. You’re in the middle of making a plans and a friend has to take another call or you’re put on hold. You don’t want to do exercises that will leave you out of breath but calf work is doable!

chair-poseThe move: Calf work. We runners really use our calves. Takes these few minutes, find a step and letting your heels hang off the side, rise and lower yourself moving slowly so you can really feel those calves working. Need other fresh ideas to strengthen your lower legs? Try chair pose on your toes!

5. Waiting a few minutes before a friend to comes over. If you’re an early person, you’ve got that problem of always having a few minutes to kill before your ride shows up or guest comes over.  

The move: Loosening the upper back. Who doesn’t have a tight upper back? Use these minutes to undo the damage from hunching at a computer, texting or simply having poor posture. Tight upper backs lead to lazy form or restrict movement in your arm swing. Prevent these issues by doing reverse prayer pose. It’s what it sounds like. Bring your arms behind your back and join your two hands together as if in prayer and hold to release tension. Another good option is to hold arms out perpendicular to the ground. Bend them at the elbows forming a U. Draw the arms back as far as possible pinching the shoulder blades to strengthen. For more upper back ideas, see here.