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Image credit: Kasia Gondek - Selfie taken on one of my 18-mile long runs leading up to Boston Marathon, sporting my Boston Marathon running hat from the last time I did the race in 2014!
Image credit: Kasia Gondek - Selfie taken on one of my 18-mile long runs leading up to Boston Marathon, sporting my Boston Marathon running hat from the last time I did the race in 2014!

Road to Boston Marathon Part 2: Exercising at Home or in the Gym

10 Exercises to Improve Strength, Conditioning, and Balance

Leading up to the Boston Marathon, I have been incorporating these 10 key exercises into my weekly routine (3x/week) to keep my body strong and balanced. Videos of these exercises are posted below. These exercises target the key muscle groups used by runners. These are for educational purposes, not meant to treat medical conditions nor supplement medical advice. 

Mat-based Strength and Conditioning for Boston

  1. Sidelying Clamshell: strengthens your hip external rotators (gluteus maximus, piriformis, obturator internus). Be sure not to let your hips roll backwards!
  2. Single leg bridge with hip abduction isometric: strengthens hip extensors and knee flexors (hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and gluteus medius). Be sure to keep your spine neutral. I use a “roll-up and roll-down” technique here to ensure my back muscles don’t compensate for my hip muscles.
  3. Sidelying hip abduction with hip in slight internal rotation, followed by clockwise and counterclockwise hip circles: strengthens hip abductors, hip extensors, deep core muscles (gluteus medius, maximus, obliques, transverse abdominus). Don’t let your leg move forward as you do this exercise– that allows compensation with your TFL muscle (connects to IT Band) which most runners over-use!
  4. Sidelying Hydrant:  strengthens hip abductors. I use this exercise to build endurance in the already-fatigued glute muscles at this point in my exercise.
  5. Side plank with shoulder circles: Strengthens obliques, transverse abdominus, shoulder stabilizers, and hip abductors. This improves trunk stability as well. Runners need strong core muscles.

Dynamic Balance and Functional strengthening: 

  1. Front plank with reverse crunch: strengthens and builds endurance in transverse abdominis, hip flexors, obliques, shoulder stabilizers. This movement mimics the last part of your running stride which is important for propelling you forward.
  2. 3-way lunges (anterior, lateral, and posterior): improves dynamic hip, knee, ankle, and trunk stability in functional ranges of motion used during running and occasional cutting motions. This helps prevent knee, hip, and ankle injuries! 
  3. Multi-direction standing clamshell with resistance band: improves controlled axis of rotation motion at your hip joint in all ranges of hip extension, abduction, and hip flexion. This keeps your hip joint healthy and teaches you how to control knee motion during your running stride. 
  4. Isometric hip abduction wall squat with resistance band: This improves endurance of hip and knee stabilizers like your gluteus medius, quadriceps, gluteus maximus muscles. You will feel the muscle fatigue in the hip opposite the wall. Hold for 15-30 seconds to fatigue. 
  5. 3-way tree matrix with optional arm positions (sagittal, frontal, and transverse plane balance): this improves dynamic single leg balance and ankle stability to prevent ankle and knee injuries. Because your running stride changes with incline/ decline/ running on an uneven surface, it’s important to improve dynamic balance. It’s use it or lose it! When moving dynamically, you are training your vestibular system to respond to the changes in position and center of gravity throughout the diverse movements of the body. 

Whether you are looking at prepping for a 1 mile run or an ultra-marathon - WE GOT YOU! You can give us a call or contact us here (link to FusionWellnessPT.com Contact form). After we complete a physical exam to identify your areas of strength and weaknesses, we’ll customize a program to get you back to what you love.

Dynamic Balance and Functional strengthening for Marathon Training: 

  1. Front plank with reverse crunch: strengthens and builds endurance in transverse abdominis, hip flexors, obliques, shoulder stabilizers. This movement mimics the last part of your running stride which is important for propelling you forward.
  2. 3-way lunges (anterior, lateral, and posterior): improves dynamic hip, knee, ankle, and trunk stability in functional ranges of motion used during running and occasional cutting motions. This helps prevent knee, hip, and ankle injuries! 
  3. Multi-direction standing clamshell with resistance band: improves controlled axis of rotation motion at your hip joint in all ranges of hip extension, abduction, and hip flexion. This keeps your hip joint healthy and teaches you how to control knee motion during your running stride. 
  4. Isometric hip abduction wall squat with resistance band: This improves endurance of hip and knee stabilizers like your gluteus medius, quadriceps, gluteus maximus muscles. You will feel the muscle fatigue in the hip opposite the wall. Hold for 15-30 seconds to fatigue. 
  5. 3-way tree matrix with optional arm positions (sagittal, frontal, and transverse plane balance): this improves dynamic single leg balance and ankle stability to prevent ankle and knee injuries. Because your running stride changes with incline/ decline/ running on an uneven surface, it’s important to improve dynamic balance. It’s use it or lose it! When moving dynamically, you are training your vestibular system to respond to the changes in position and center of gravity throughout the diverse movements of the body.

Whether you are looking at prepping for a 1 mile run or an ultra-marathon - WE GOT YOU! You can give us a call or contact us here. After we complete a physical exam to identify your areas of strength and weaknesses, we’ll customize a program to get you back to what you love.

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Testimonial by Ann V.

I wish i could give this place 10 stars!! 
I have been suffering from vaginismus for 5 years and never found the cure to it. I had seen an ob/gyn and he diagnosed me with vaginismus and told me i needed a surgery to cure my condition, which i refused to do. He also referred me to a PT that he works with, i had given them multiple calls and they never responded back to me, so i started searching yelp for another PT. I am SO HAPPY I found Heather's office! I was working with Laureen, and with her guidance and techniques i was able to be cured from vaginismus in only 2 1/2 short months!!! I couldn't believe how quickly their program worked for me! I am forever grateful and thankful from Heather, and Laureen! They are the absolute best at what they do!

Read more: Testimonial by Ann V.

Testimonial by Ann V.

I wish i could give this place 10 stars!! 
I have been suffering from vaginismus for 5 years and never found the cure to it. I had seen an ob/gyn and he diagnosed me with vaginismus and told me i needed a surgery to cure my condition, which i refused to do. He also referred me to a PT that he works with, i had given them multiple calls and they never responded back to me, so i started searching yelp for another PT. I am SO HAPPY I found Heather's office! I was working with Laureen, and with her guidance and techniques i was able to be cured from vaginismus in only 2 1/2 short months!!! I couldn't believe how quickly their program worked for me! I am forever grateful and thankful from Heather, and Laureen! They are the absolute best at what they do!

Read more: Testimonial by Ann V.

Testimonial by Ann V.

I wish i could give this place 10 stars!! 
I have been suffering from vaginismus for 5 years and never found the cure to it. I had seen an ob/gyn and he diagnosed me with vaginismus and told me i needed a surgery to cure my condition, which i refused to do. He also referred me to a PT that he works with, i had given them multiple calls and they never responded back to me, so i started searching yelp for another PT. I am SO HAPPY I found Heather's office! I was working with Laureen, and with her guidance and techniques i was able to be cured from vaginismus in only 2 1/2 short months!!! I couldn't believe how quickly their program worked for me! I am forever grateful and thankful from Heather, and Laureen! They are the absolute best at what they do!

Read more: Testimonial by Ann V.

Testimonial by A.B.

Before I was referred to Heather Jeffcoat I was living in a nightmare. I had been married to my husband for three years and I was suffering from Vaginismus. That all changed when I visited my OBGYN and she said she knew of someone with a great success rate. To be honest I was hesitant at first because my first doctor had already told me that all I needed to do was order dilators from the internet and I should overcome my problem. She was wrong because I had followed the book on how to use the dilators with absolutely no advancements in my condition. However, that all changed when I went in for my first visit and Heather took the time to explain my condition and how we were going to work together to overcome it.

I remember leaving her office with a glimmer of hope that I could live a normal life. As my sessions continued I began to see immediate results. With only four sessions and a strict dedication to my home programs I was cured of Vaginismus. In the beginning of this process I was made aware that my health insurance company might not cover the costs, which was disappointing but today I can say one hundred percent that it was the best money I ever spent. Now thanks to Heather I am finally enjoying my life to the fullest with my husband. Thank you Heather, I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate all that you have done for me. I will never forget it. Those who are suffering from these types of conditions don’t be afraid because she makes you feel so comfortable and the end result is worth it. Good luck to you all and I hope you experience the success I have.
-- A.B.

Testimonial by Mary L.

I started seeing Heather to treat my Interstitial Cystitis in November 2016. At this time, I was extremely miserable, in constant pain, and felt as though no one was listening or understood what was going on with my body. I have just finished my last appointment and I can honestly say that my life has completely changed for the better because of Heather and her team of PTs! I live almost completely pain free, and when I do have flare ups, I am able to treat them at home on my own. I am so grateful that this office was recommended to me a honestly cannot recommend them enough!

Read more: Testimonial by Mary L.

Testimonial by A.M.

Months after giving birth, it was difficult for me to go from a sitting or lying position up to a full standing position without feeling that I had to remain hunched over until a bit of time had passed to get fully upright. However, after taking Heather’s course, I learned exercises to get my body back to normal. She also showed me correct ways to lift and carry my son as well as put him in/take him out of the carseat and stroller. This class was really beneficial and Heather is a wonderful teacher who made me feel very comfortable.

-- A.M.

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