Is your exercise regimen letting you down? Kick it up a level with these expert tips and get one step closer to a fitter, more toned body!
You’re diligently turning up for your Pilates class or heading out for regular runs, but aren’t quite getting the results you want or the fitness boost you’d like. Maybe it’s time to give your workout a shake-up with one of these tricks from the trainers.
BOOST YOUR RUNNING
Ask someone to film you running
Look at it in slow motion and check which part of your foot hits the ground first. “Landing on your forefoot is the more efficient way to run and improves performance,” says running coach and elite endurance runner Matty Abel. If you’re landing heel first, adjust your stride so the ball of your foot hits the ground first. If you can’t get the hang of it, a session with a running coach can help your technique.
Count your strides
You should be aiming to take 30 to 37 every 10 seconds. “No matter how fast they run, the best runners have a cadence of 180 to 200 strides a minute,” says trainer Kylie Edwards. “Most runners need to shorten their stride to reach this – shortening your stride makes you more efficient and reduces stress on the hamstrings.”
See some sky
“Looking down while running is bad for posture but, more importantly, it impinges on your breathing,” says Marie Bean from lazyrunner.com. “Lift your eyes higher and you open up your face, mouth, nose and windpipe. The easiest way to do this is aim to look at high landmarks like the sky, trees or bridges as you run, and if you’re running behind someone, look over their head, not at their back or shoes.”
Leave all your apps and trackers at home
“Tracking your runs every time can cause you to lose the joy of running,” says Kylie. “Once in a while just go out and run as you feel and cover the distance you want to. Doing that every now and again reminds you that running feels good, which then improves your performance.”
GET MORE FROM PILATES
Focus on the last five per cent of any move
“This is normally the most important part of any Pilates move but often we spend the least amount of time on it – focus right to the end of every movement,” says Kylie. “Also, carefully control any change in direction – don’t use momentum to help you move.”
Buy some Pilates socks
“These look like regular socks but have a grippy sole,” says Pilates trainer Kris Etheridge. “They stop you slipping when doing moves or using equipment like the Reformer. This allows you to effectively do more daring exercises without feeling like you might slip and hurt yourself.”
Lengthen the spine
“Too often we focus just on what our arms and legs are doing and take our focus off lengthening the spine, but this activates the multifidus muscles (series of muscles attached to your spinal column) between each vertebrae, helping further improve posture, strength and balance,” says Kylie.
“People often forget that Pilates is a musclestrengthening exercise – and that muscles build when we rest them, not as we work them,” says physiotherapist Michael Dermansky. “Take a day’s break between classes.”
POWER UP THAT BOOTCAMP
“Be the first person in the relay race, do a few push-ups on your toes even if you drop back down afterwards – you don’t have to stay at the front, or maintain the hardest move the whole time, but the headstart will keep you improving. Starting last will always make you feel lethargic and more prone to giving up,” says trainer Ali Cavill.
Find someone 40 per cent better than you
That’s the point at which a partner motivates us to work harder, say studies. “There’s nothing better than having a training partner who is fitter, faster or stronger than you,” says performance and lifestyle coach Blake Worrall- Thompson. “If you’re the best in the room you’re in the wrong room.”
Use a heart-rate monitor
“If you’ve reached a plateau this can tell you if you’re truly working hard enough to be getting results,” says Ali. To improve fitness you should be trying to work up to sessions where you reach 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate.nd lifestyle coach Blake Worrall- Thompson. “If you’re the best in the room you’re in the wrong room.”