Exercises To Strengthen Your Ankles

Exercises-To-Strengthen-Your-Ankles

As runners, especially trail runners, we must ensure our body is well prepared to negotiate with the wavy terrain, whether dry, muddy, wet or slippery.

Twisted ankles are very common and can put you off training. Indeed if you do your mileage off road your ankles – joints, muscles, tendons – will adapt and get stronger eventually. But what if you twist or sprain your ankle before they get strong enough?

I have to say I very seldom twist my ankles and I don’t remember ever spraining my ankles. The odd twist happens in obstacle course races where I run over tractor tires prints on dry ground or running through rivers over big, slippery rocks. And even then I recover fast.

Thus today I’d like to share with you how we, at The Merisoiu Technique Institute, train and condition our bodies, specifically ankles in this case, to be prepared for the unexpected on the trails.
 
1. Ride the terrain

Too often I see runners forcing themselves “into” the terrain instead of allowing the terrain to take them where it wants and then making small adjustments to keep moving in the desired direction.

Stop fighting the terrain, move with it, flow with it rather than going against it.

2. Strengthen your ankles 

The topic of this article. There are countless methods and exercises that help you to strengthen your ankles. Right now I will share with you a few simple ankle strengthening exercises which you can do not only as part of your scheduled training but anytime you wait in line, for a bus or brush your teeth.

a. Balance on one leg. That’s it, just stand on one leg. Please be aware of your surroundings so that if you lose your balance you don’t fall and injure yourself, have enough free space around you.

b. Balance with variations – The Clock. This means something like our very well known exercise The Clock in the video below. It’s excellent for ankle strength but also for strengthening stability muscles in the knees and hips and stabilising the hip joint, when done correctly. Here is a video with coaching tips.

Again please be aware of your surroundings so that if you lose your balance you don’t fall and injure yourself, have enough free space around you.

 

c. Balance with variations – 360 Degrees. Another slow movement balance exercise is the 350 Degrees. Again this will also strengthen stability muscles within other joints as well as the ankles.

d.  Walk on tip toes. Classic but effective.

e. Walk barefoot on uneven terrain.

You should have guessed this was coming! Walking barefoot will activate dormant muscles in your feet and ankles which, in regular shoes, are so well supported they don’t do much work so they weaken. Take your shoes and socks off, go out in the garden, walk around and balance observing how your foot and ankles muscles move and twitch, they’re working out.

Any exercise you choose do them regularly to get results. You don’t need to spend hours doing this. It’s most effective when you do a little everyday over a long period of time. Balancing while brushing their teeth seems to be my clients’ favourite, just take care not to fall and injure yourself.

The Limping To Leaping 4 weeks is a course for runners who want to run with less effort and fewer injuries, it introduces you to the running mechanics of natural running technique. If you wish more information email alexandra@alexandramerisoiu.com or fill in this form and I will reply within 2 business days.

By they way, have you checked out Dracula’s Retreat?

Lower Back Pain – Exercise To Reduce Tension And Stiffness In Your Lower Back

A lot of people suffer from low back pain. And there are many reasons we suffer from back pain. These group into specific and non-specific low back pain.

Specific means we know the exact cause of your back pain (i.e. slipped disc, accident etc). This needs medical attention.

Non-Specific back pain, we can’t exactly point out the reason, it might be from  lot of sitting down, poor posture, weak muscles (core, buttocks), tight muscles and so on.

Most of the people suffer from non-specific lower back pain, about 19/20 cases. And the reason behind it is usually a combination of all of the above, they are related anyway:

Sitting down too much -> (leads to) Weaker muscles -> Poor posture

Poor posture -> Weak muscles

Sitting with a poor posture -> Weak and tight muscles

You got the idea.

 

Today I will share with you a video with stretches to release tension in the lower back area, as well as surrounding muscles, in the case of non-specific lower back pain.

This is also a great stretch for the fascia (a thin membrane which connects everything in the body, I will write about it with another occasion). It’s also great to improve flexibility and mobility around the lower back and not only.

This is a video from the MTI Academy. Check it out here and here.

Remember, you can always book a free, no obligation consultation with me here to talk about the online academy of any questions you may have, or help you may need.

Find more lower back pain articles here.

Workout At Home – Tone Your Legs – The Archive Box

No time to go at the gym? Or don’t like it? You have everything you need in your house to tone and strengthen your legs. Watch the video below.
 
This exercise trains your leg muscles, adductors and abductors to be more specific, but it does much more than that. It teaches you how use your core muscles in motion, it also works the core muscles.
 
And if you already have strong core it will improve the connection between the upper and lower body. This is important because your body is one whole unit, and the hips and core are what connects the upper and lower body, and when we dorn’t use the body as a whole…..well….that’s when injury happens.
 
Your body is a perfectly designed machine, we just stop using it as such and…..we lose it in the end.
If you have any questions or need any advice please book a free, no obligation consultation clicking here

Workout In Your Daily Routine – Stairs

Enough with the boring going up and the down the stairs, or even taking time out of your busy schedule to plan your workout.

To work your body throughout the day, every time you go up the stairs, at the top DO A PRESS-UP. Every time you go down the stairs, at the top DO A PRESS-UP.

Depending on your level of fitness and time, you can do more than 1 of course. But if you are at the beginning of your journey, it’s enough to start with one.

Lose weight, tone your body and enjoy.

Exercise For Tight And Stiff Shoulders

Exercise -for-tight-and-stiff-shoulders

Do you experience tight or stiff shoulders? This simple Qigong exercise is perfect for releasing that tightness.

From a comfortable standing position:

Step 1: Hand facing up lift them about the level of the forehead – BREATHING IN

Step 2: Interlock fingers when hands reach the forehead, twisting the hands, so palms face up

Step 3: Drive or lift your hands and arms above your forehead, pushing up, as if lifting a heavy object

Step 4: Release the fingers and lower your arms slowly, from the shoulder – BREATHING OUT

Repeat

 

Notes:
– breathe in when lifting
– breathe out when lowering
– breathe in through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth or nose
– keep shoulders down, even when you lift the arms above your head
If you have any questions or would like individual guidance, contact me at alexandra@alexandramerisoiu.com

Also connect through Facebook for live streaming, such as this one https://www.facebook.com/TheMerisoiuTechnique

Cross Frog Jump – Natural Movement Fitness – The Merisoiu Technique Institute

Strenghten your core muscles and whole body, while bringing mobility and flexibility in the same exercise

Benefits:
– strengthening core muscles
– joint mobilisation
– upper and lower body strength

We named this exercise Cross Frog Jump as it is a progression of the frog jumps or frog leaps. This exercise and more are part of the Merisoiu Technique Institute Academy. Contact us to learn more about the MTI Academy

We hold monthly Free Taster sessions. To try out one of our classes click here to contact us.

We hold monthly Free Taster sessions. To try out one of our classes click here to contact us.

 

* Music: www.bensound.com

The Best Exercise For Your Triceps

The-Best-Exercise-For-Your-Triceps

Have you ever thought whether there is a different exercise out there, more interesting and less boring than the usual diamond pressups and triceps extension? Among the best arm workouts you can do is this funny looking exercise, which uses only your own body weight? Yeah, you hear me right, I am an advocate of body weight training. That’s because for the majority of people, body weight training is enough and it can be progressed and regressed.

Furthermore if you practice this triceps exercise you not only tone your triceps bu you also:

  • improve your posture (probably the number 1 benefits of this triceps exercise in my opinion)
  • strengthen your core muscles (abdominal muscles, side of the abdomen, back muscles, hips and diaphragm)
  • protect your lower back and reduce the risk of low back pain (for many people standing exercises or pressups and planks can be detrimental if they do not have good core control and body awareness; problem solved with this triceps exercise)
  • stabilize your shoulder joint (stronger in a safer way)
  • stretching and opening up the chest and shoulders
  • shoulder mobility
  • mobility in wrists and ankles
  • finger strength (particularly if you practice on uneven terrain, such as the outdoors)

What does all this mean to you? It means you can have a toned, strong, fit, healthy and truly powerful body in a safer way (this is key). Well….you must do other exercises of this type as well, do develop the body all round.

When I say “of this type” I mean exercises that work more than just big muscles in the body, think about posture, fingers, toes, mobility, flexibility and much more.

Remember, you are as strong as your weakest link.

That’s why I believe this is triceps exercise is among the best out there. One that enables you to strengthen your body in a safer way than other methods.

Here’s a video we made at one of The MTI Online Academy : The Crab Walk or Inverted Crawl.

 

 

Squats And Lunges – Why Should You Care About Body Weight Distribution

Everything you do is body weight distribution, and body weight transfer, as well as balancing (walking is balancing for example). Understand and practice these 3 concepts (and posture) and any exercise or movement you will ever do will be correct. But only if you practice these concepts.

 

Incorrect body weight distribution simply leads to:

  1. One side of the body will take more of the weight than the other. Thus chances are this side will be over worked, and muscles strained in the long run, while the other side will weaken.
  2. Stress injuries. If you walk, run, squat and lunge while one side of the body takes of weight, and so more of the aggressive impact, it will increase the risks of injuries. It may not happen this year or the next, but after years and years.
  3. Knee pain. This is very common particularly when squatting and lunging, but also standing, walking and running.

 

When we squat or lunge we are told “knees behind the toes!” Why??? Give the reason why. I’ll tell you why. When the knees go too far over the toes, your body weight distribution is lost. There is more weight going on the front of your feet, while you take the weight off the heels (even if heels are still on the ground). This causes the knees and ankles to take more and more pressure.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you bring the weight back on the heels and lift the toes of the ground. That’s not good either. The solution is The TRIPOD.

 

How to distribute your weight correctly

Every moment you stand, whatever you do, you will form a tripod with your feet.

THE TRIPOD = BIG TOE + LITTLE TOE + HEEL

When you stand, walk, run, squat, lunge, balance on one leg etc, keep The Tripod firmly rooted into the ground. That’s it. FOCUS.

If you need advice or would like to know more about coaching programs contact me.

 

Press-Ups – Most Common Press-Up Mistakes

I will be using the same video I used in the first post on press-ups: Press-Ups – Why It’s Difficult To Do A Full Press-up, to list some of the most common mistakes we do when learning and practicing press-ups.

 

There are 3 main reasons why we make press-up mistakes:

  1. We don’t know how to do it – no one taught us
  2. We want to do a lot of them – a lot for some people can be 10; we try to do a lot of them regardless of HOW we do them
  3. We get tired and we lose technique without realizing – having no one next to us to correct leads to even more mistakes

 

Practicing and repeating press-ups with incorrect technique can lead to:

  1. Muscle strain – particularly the neck, lower back and shoulder blades
  2. Lower back pain
  3. Shoulder pain
  4. Elbow injuries
  5. Muscle imbalances

When you lose technique, further repetitions are useless and you are wasting time and energy.

 

Common press-up mistakes (you will also see them and explained in the video below):

  1. Head hanging – straining neck muscles. You should focus your attention on a point just in front of your hands. Not just your eyes but the whole head.
  2. Sinking into the shoulders – for beginners in particular, this is sinking into the shoulders to give the impression the body is lowering. Shoulders must be stabilized and the press-up is done by bending the elbows to lower the body.
  3. Elbows to the side – places unwanted stress on the joint and can lead to overuse injury. Although this makes it more difficult learn how to do press-ups with elbows going back, brushing the sides of the body.
  4. Hips sinking below the chest – lower back pain and the abdominal muscles are not working. Hips should follow the chest. When the chest stops the hips stop as well. Hips never go lower than the chest. We do that because, again, we have the impression we go lower in the press-up.
  5. Hips too high – core is not working. This is a pressup variation, forming an “A” shape. But for classic press-ups the hips have to follow the chest. However, if you are unsure it is better to have your hips higher than lower. Hips higher – core not working, while Hips lower – over arching back and lower back pain. Better the first, if you are unsure.

Correct these press-up mistakes and you will train and strengthen your whole upper body. The more correct you do them, even just a few at a time, the more effective they are.

And here is the video I promised, jump at minute 2:48 for press-ups mistakes:

Press-Ups – Why It’s Difficult To Do A Full Press-up

Doing a full press-up is very, very achievable but not as easy some think. You just try it a few times and expect to go from not being able to bend your elbows to a correct full press-up

There are many muscles involved in doing a correct full press-up. Because there are so many muscles involved, for a beginner, until those muscles strengthen, it takes a while. That is why it is important to have patience and practice, if you want to do a full press-up in the end.

Why-It's-Difficult-To-Do-A-Full-Press-up
Image source: http://www.md-health.com/What-Muscles-Do-Push-Ups-Work.html

 

These are roughly the main muscles press ups work. There are also the oblique muscles (side of the abdomen), lower and upper back muscles. The whole mid section of your body need to work to keep you in the right position.

So you see, it cannot happen over night. Work and consistency needs to be put into it. So I have put together a video with how I managed my full press-ups and how I helped my clients who really wanted to do this. Hope it’s good enough to help you as well.