November 16 2016
After months with a sore back, one runner started doing a plank every day. Here's how it eliminated her pain and helped her form.
Bodyweight training is a great way to strengthen your running muscles in the comfort of your living room. No equipment, no problem! Well, except there is one problem. You can’t perform many pulling exercises (like rows or flys), which are so important for your posture and keeping your body balanced and injury-free.
The easy ﬁx? Suspension training. A system of straps (like the one TRX makes) that anchors to a sturdy object changes the game when it comes to bodyweight training. You can perform a wide variety of movements without a room full of machines. Suspension training is a great way to increase your strength and really put a demand on your muscles without touching a single dumbbell.
And it’s so versatile—you can use it in combination with other equipment, or when traveling (just pack it in your suitcase!), or even for a sweat session in the park. The following workout will hit every basic movement—squatting, pushing, lunging, rotating, rowing, single-leg balancing—and you’ll work your core as you stabilize your body.
“Plank position” is used with most suspension training exercises. Regardless of where your hands and feet are, this refers to a position your body is in when your core is engaged and your head, shoulders, hips and feet are in one straight line.
Complete the following exercises one after the other for 10–15 reps each. Once finished, rest and repeat.
Photos: James Farrell
This is one of the hardest core exercises. Put your feet in the loops and position yourself face down on your elbows in a plank. Your core should be engaged. Push your body back to open the angle under your arm until your arms are reaching as far as you can go while maintaining a stable core. Hold for two seconds then, slowly with control, return to the starting plank position. Do 10–15 reps.
Put the suspension trainer into single-arm mode. Stand facing the anchor and hang from the suspension trainer, and while holding on with one hand, rotate your body to the side. Pull yourself up to a row while rotating your body toward the suspension trainer, maintaining a plank the entire time. Do 10–15 reps.
In a pushup position with your feet in the loops, lift your hips up as high as you can, bringing your feet closer to your hands while maintaining control. Return carefully to the pushup position. Do 10–15 reps.
Pushup With Alternating Knee Drive
Make the suspension trainer as long as it can go and face away from the anchor point with your feet in the loops, ready to perform a pushup. Keeping your body in one straight line with your core stable, lower into a pushup. Return to the start, and while maintaining your solid core, drive one knee up and then the other knee up. Repeat. Do 10–15 reps.
Hold the handles with both hands while balancing on one leg. Use the suspension trainer for support as you lower yourself into a single-leg squat. Keep your knee tracking over your toes and your posture upright and go as low as you can while keeping your foot planted on the ground. Return to the start and repeat. Do 10–15 reps.
Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat
Facing about three steps away from the suspension trainer, place one foot behind you into the loop. After getting your balance on one leg, slowly lower yourself, under control, into a split squat keeping your upper body upright. Drive through the front leg and return to the start position. Do 10–15 reps.
This one will work your butt and hamstrings. Lie on your back with your heels hooked in and legs straight. Lift your hips off the ground to engage your butt and hamstrings. Hold for 2 seconds, then lower to the ground.
For an extra challenge: Add a leg curl in by bending your legs once your hips are extended and maintaining that hip extension until you straighten your legs back out. Do 10–15 reps.
Face the anchor point with your hands on the handles and lean back to form a 90-degree angle from your arms to your torso. With your body in a straight line, pull with both arms to create a standing Y. Return to the start and repeat. Do 10–15 reps.
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