Total Gym for Runners and Walkers
Whether you’re a leisurely stroller, treadmill treader, or competitive track athlete, running and walking are great forms of cardiovascular exercise and they’re essential to fulfilling an active lifestyle. Regardless of your size, age or fitness level, the benefits from adding the Total Gym to your cardio workouts will help you improve performance, increase stamina and prevent injury. So to complement your next run or walk, whether it’s on a treadmill, track, or neighborhood street, try these targeted exercises using the Total Gym!
Let’s start by making lunges better! Lunges have always been a great way to train and strengthen your lower body and core. The difference the Total Gym provides for lunges is immediately noticeable. The equipment allows you to continuously activate your core throughout the entire movement, and having the ability to “slide” instead of “stomp” means high efficiency, high range of motion, and less stress on your joints. Win, win, win!
For front lunges, face the Total Gym tower and place one foot on the glideboard and the other on the ground next to the Total Gym base. Lunge forward keeping your chest facing forward and core engaged at all times. This is a nice training exercise for your quadriceps and will also activate your hip flexors (which tends to get overly tight if you spend a lot of time sitting during the day).
After performing front lunges, turn 180 degrees facing away from the tower and lunge back for reverse lunges. To finish this off with more intensity, stabilize yourself over your front leg (keeping your chest facing forward) and quickly kick-back your rear leg with your toe on the glideboard.
After lunges you can move to single leg squats on the Total Gym (be sure to add the squat stand). Sit low on the glideboard with your back, shoulders and head aligned parallel to the glideboard. One foot stays on the squat stand and then slowly perform your squat. Squats are a staple leg exercise and the Total Gym offers a safe opportunity to those of all fitness levels to perform this exercise safely. But if you’re looking for more intensity (like me!), finish off your single leg squats with squat jumps.
This will train those fast-twitch muscle fibers to be more responsive if your goal is to run faster and conquer steep hills!
Now let’s transition to an exercise designed to improve core strength and stability, which is critical for running and walking. Lie on the glideboard with your back flat on the glideboard (including your lower back) and your abs stay engaged at all times. At a higher setting you may need to place your hands behind the glideboard near your shoulders for some added stability, but at a lower setting you can just place your hands near your hips. Regardless of the setting, the glideboard doesn’t move at all. Your legs stay straight (if you have a hard time with keeping your legs straight like me, try focusing on engaging the quadriceps while you do this). Then slowly raise and lower your legs. To do this correctly, your lower back is actually the stabilizer (like a fulcrum under a seesaw) and your abs contract to pull your legs up and expand to lower your legs. Finish this off with scissor kicks for a nice core-burn!
Finally, be sure to cool down your walk or run with some stretches using the Total Gym. A middle-to-high glideboard setting is typically fine for these stretches, although you may find a favorite setting after performing these a few times. Face the tower and place one leg (quadriceps facing down) on the glide board while standing on the ground with your other leg. You have full control of how intense you want to make this stretch by the length you press your hips forward.
Next place the heel of your front foot on the glideboard with your toe pointing to the sky and a straight leg. Bend forward from the hips with a stable back and a lifted chest for an awesome hamstring stretch! You can take it further by sliding your hands from your thigh to your knee to your ankle for a deeper stretch.
The third and final stretch is a calf stretch. Place your foot on the base of the Total Gym and be sure to press your heel down to the ground. Keep your leg straight and simply lean forward with your hips forward to activate the calf stretch.
So if your goal is to run or walk faster, longer, with better form, or just want to prevent your risk for injury, try these exercises using the Total Gym. They’ve actually helped me achieve one of my recent goals to get back to running 2 miles in less than 12 minutes! And I’m continuing to use the Total Gym to not only sustain this goal, but to be inspired to set some new ones!!