Ever since I was a senior in high school, I have done some sort of strength training. As a runner, the focus was primarily on maintaining my upper body strength, a little leg work and core work using the “traditional” exercises (such as bicep curls, hamstring extensions, sit ups…). Over the years it was basically the same stuff, until I started triathlon training.
The last few years doing triathlons, I have grown a little lazy with the strength work. I figured that I am strengthening my body with swimming (arms) and biking (legs). The only “strength” stuff I did on my own was core work. Then this spring I met Erica.
Erica is a personal trainer who works with athletes, helping them train for their sport/activities of choice. I was thinking at the time that I met her, that my swimming form and speed wasn’t improving because I didn’t feel strong enough in my arms and obliques. So, I decided to see what she could do for me.
After an initial assessment, she was able to identify the areas that needed to be addressed on me – the specific muscles/areas that were weak or tight. She not only took into consideration what activities I do, but also what I do for work. And as many of you know, what you spend 8 hrs a day doing, is going to have an impact on your body – such as driving a lot, standing a lot or sitting at a computer all day.
After the assessment we started the fun stuff – working on all those weak/tight areas, and not in the traditional way. All sort of cool exercises (monster steps, inch worm….) that help to strengthen not just the major muscle groups, but those smaller muscles that assist when the big muscles get tired. Lots of lateral strengthening too, since most of our activities are linear in motion, and not side to side, leaving you vulnerable when you: step wrong off the sidewalk, try to play pick-up basketball after doing nothing but running for 20 years, or other activities that involve lateral motion.
After 4 months with Erica, I have found a great improvement in my overall strength. I can feel it in all my activities – even when I massage. It makes me feel so much more efficient and less prone to injury. I am able to do those trail runs without worrying about twisting my ankle. I feel stronger on the bike, due to the single leg strengthening exercise. And the increased core strength has helped me maintain form and speed in swimming. I could go on and on, but why not check her out yourself.
Her business is called Evolution Fitness and is based out of Health Coaches on 17 Free St. in Portland. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 329-7528. If getting a personal trainer is not possible, doing some research to find exercises (or a trainer in your area) that would help you in your sport/activity — or just to balance out your body, is well worth it. That strength can mean less pain and injury in the long run. Fall/Winter/Spring are great months to work on strength, because unfortunately in Maine, we can’t get outside as much to play.