By Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Lachlan Whiting.
Local sports competitions and sporting events have been postponed due to new government regulations regarding COVID-19. Instead of using this time off to have a break from training, why not get stuck into some key stabilization and strengthening exercises that will assist you in becoming injury-free when sport does resume?
Many football and netball injuries occur when there are discrepancies in strength between different muscle groups and when there is increased strength on one side of the body compared to the other. When we focus on strengthening abdominals, hips and ankles we can try to avoid any injuries that come from instability or weakness in the body.
The good news is that there are plenty of bodyweight exercises that you can do at home while you are waiting for the season to resume! Here are some of our favourite exercises that are running specifically to help with whatever sport you play.
1. Single leg bridge with resistance – mimics the motion in running, with resistance in hip flexion for the elevated leg. Focus on keeping hips at the same height as you lift up, not dropping one hip towards the ground. Push through your heel and squeeze into the glute of the leg that is on the ground as you lift your hips towards the ceiling.
2. Dead bugs with a swiss ball – will help to strengthen your abdominal muscles, shoulders and hip flexors. Focus on keeping your core muscles engaged, ensuring that you do not arch your back as you extend opposite arm and leg out. Keep your hand pushing pressure into the ball to target shoulder strength, and keep your knee pushing into the ball to strengthen hip flexors.
3. Lateral step-downs – focus on control and unilateral glute strength, while also working to improve your single-leg balance. Slowly lower your foot from the step down towards the ground, aiming for a light tap of your heel to the ground, then push through the glute to stand back up.
4. Plank with shoulder tap – works abdominal strength and stability during movement. Keep your core muscles engaged and body still as you tap one hand to your opposite shoulder.
5. Single leg hinge – works to improve balance, ankle stability and hip strength. Think about bringing your back foot towards the ceiling as you hinge forward, having a straight line from your head to your foot.
6. Side plank with the resisted clam – will strengthen your obliques and glutes. This exercise focuses on control and stability. Make sure you are lifting up through your hips and avoid them dropping towards the ground, keep your heels together as you raise your top knee, pushing into the resistance band.
7. Bent knee single leg calf raises – target the soleus muscle which plays an important role when you’re running. Doing this off the edge of a step allows you to work the calf muscles through both a lengthening and strengthening movement. Ensure you keep your knee bent throughout the entire movement.