So you want to be a better runner? Whether you’re looking to run further or faster, Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes says strength training is an important part of development as a runner.
Dean has redefined the boundaries of possibility in long-distance running, finishing 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days, and completing ten separate 200-mile relay races solo. As an athlete who’s constantly traveling for races and speaking engagements, Dean uses the TRX Suspension Trainer™ to maintain a consistent training program. “One thing I love about my TRX Suspension Trainer is the portability; you can set them up almost anywhere,” he said.
Another reason Dean loves the Suspension Trainer is that it’s ideal for developing strength without bulk. “A TRX workout is ideal for runners because it uses body weight and strengthens and tones rather than building excess bulk, which can slow a runner down,” he added.
While the Suspension Trainer can be used for countless exercises to improve strength, mobility, and flexibility, the TRX Chest Press, TRX Crunch, and TRX Single Leg Squat are three of Dean’s favorites.
TRX Chest Press
Why Dean loves it: A standard chest press using the Suspension Trainer is essential for developing the muscles to help drive my arms forward when running an ultramarathon.
How to do it: Adjust the straps to the fully lengthened position and stand facing away from the anchor point. You get to choose your angle; just remember that the exercise gets harder as your angle gets steeper. Start with straight arms and your palms facing down on the handles. Drawing the handles wide apart, bend your elbows to 90-degrees at either side of your body, similar to a goal post. To return to your starting position, straighten your arms, pressing the handles back toward the floor. Keep your core tight to maintain control of this move.
Why Dean loves it: Crunches using the Suspension Trainer are another essential exercise that helps me retain my posture during long runs. It’s easy to spot at the end of a long race who has worked on their core and who hasn’t.
How to do it: Start with your straps adjusted to mid-calf length, then begin facing away from the anchor point with your toes in the foot cradles. Pressing your palms or forearms into the ground, extend your legs straight and lift into a plank. To add a crunch to that plank, simply fold your knees into your chest while continuing to keep your body suspended over the floor. When you need a break, gently drop your knees back down to the ground.
TRX Single Leg Squat
Why Dean loves it: Doing squats using the Suspension Trainer allows one to adjust the angle and create more orientations than possible when using dumbbells or a bar. The TRX workout more naturally simulates running.
How to do it: Stand facing the anchor point with your straps adjusted to mid-length. Plant one leg, then raise your other leg straight in front of you. Keeping your weight in the planted foot, drop low into a squat—all the way to the floor if you can—and drive back up to standing. Repeat on the same leg for 10-12 reps, before giving the second leg a shot.
If you’re not quite up to completing a rep while holding your free leg straight out, you can also bend your knee to 90 degrees, or use your free heel as a kickstand.
You don’t need lots of expensive weights and contraptions to become a better runner. Harnessing your bodyweight to train with the TRX Suspension Trainer can help you run longer, faster, and with fewer injuries.
Take it from Dean.
“TRX Suspension Trainers have improved my running, and I think every runner could benefit.”