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Mathieu Blanchard’s favourite strength workout to tackle hills

Crush your next hill with these eight weightless core exercises

Photo by: S.DEMARD

In 2021, Montreal resident Mathieu Blanchard has had a breakout season on the professional trail running circuit. He was third at Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) in France earlier this summer, then fourth at the Ultra-Trail Cape Town in South Africa. We spoke with Blanchard about some key strength workouts that helped him finish fourth in Cape Town. He will be heading back to Montreal in due course for some downtime before his next buildup.


Exclusive interview with UTMB podium finisher Mathieu Blanchard

Blanchard mentioned how important core and glute strength are for running, especially during long climbs. Check out Blanchard’s favourite workout to do leading up to a big race. He suggests doing two or three sets of these exercises, taking 30 seconds to a minute rest between reps.

Plank or side-plank holds (one minute)

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Superman hold (10 reps)

Glute bridges (10-15 reps)

Jump lunges (front and reverse) – try for 10 on each side

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Hollow body holds (10-15 reps)

Goblet squats (10-15 reps)

You can choose to do this exercise with or without weights.

Hip thrusts (10-15 reps)

Burpees (5-10 reps)


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Your core strength is what keeps your torso upright when you run, and core strength is crucial toward the end of a long run or race, when your body is fatigued. Having strong core strength helps you maintain good posture, plus it reduces the pain that results from poor form.