Good for: General strength and workout advice.
Written by: Jay Johnson, former University of Colorado assistant coach and core-strength expert.
Johnson is best known for developing runner-specific core strength routines, but his blog is thoughtful and covers every element of training and racing, with posts on hill running, the value of plyometrics, and the art of coaching young athletes. The best part? He regularly posts videos demonstrating how to perform core-strength exercises with proper technique.
Sample post: Johnson says high schoolers should do easy-to-master backwards lunges: They build strength and give young runners a sense of accomplishment.
Quick question. Should a runner be able to perform a forward lunge? If the answer is yes, then what about a backward lunge, which is more challenging?
If you don’t have a strong opinion either way, just try it. Either use a line or imagine a line and simply take some nice long lunges backwards on that line. You’ll probably be a little bit wobbly, but since the movement is similar to running – you’re still moving in the sagital plane, just as with running – you should be able to do it.
But many runners, especially young runners, can’t do it…or they can’t do it very well. Some are so wobbly that they have will need to reach down and touch the ground to keep from falling over, while others can only backwards lunge by taking shallow, short lunges, not the nice full, deep lunge that they’re able to do when moving forward.