If you want to run more efficiently, build up your hamstrings (yes, not just your quads) with these pilates moves. By Estelle Low.
Your quads may seem like the heroes propelling you forward as you run, but the hamstrings (at the back of your thighs) are doing just as much work. A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that athletes with equally strong quads and hamstrings have better running economy (using less oxygen at a given pace) than those with muscular imbalance. If you’ve been neglecting your hamstrings, try these moves demonstrated by Susie Chamberlain, pilates instructor at Powermoves Pilates In The Park.
Sit upright with legs straightened and spread slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep feet flexed. Stretch arms out to sides [shown]. Inhale and twist upper body right, keeping pelvis stable [shown]. Exhale as you reach left hand towards right foot. Inhale to deepen stretch in hamstrings and lower back [shown]. Exhale and draw body back to starting position. Do six reps; repeat on other side.
Single Leg Kick
Lie face down. Place forearms on ground, parallel to each other, with elbows slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lift chest and legs off ground. Abdominal muscles should be tightened [shown]. On exhalation, bend left leg and keep right leg straight. Push left heel towards buttocks twice, foot flexed [shown]. On next exhalation, switch sides. Do 10 reps for each side.