While in Seattle with Brooks Running last month for their Run Happy Blog Ambassador trip, I not only had a chance to hit the Burke-Gilman Trail for a run with Hannah Fields, professional middle distance runner for the Brooks Beasts Track Club — but I also had the opportunity to spend an hour in the gym with her to learn about how the Beasts train when they’re not logging miles. And as someone who really geeks out about how to best incorporate strength and mobility work into a routine when you’re training to be faster, well, this was one heck of a cool experience.
And, happily, it’s an experience I get to share with you guys — because, hey, we might not all be running at an elite level, but that doesn’t mean we can’t train like the Beasts, right?
Brooks Beasts Strength Workout
This workout, created by Brooks Beasts Head Coach Danny Mackey, is no joke. And it shouldn’t be — his running background plus his masters degree in Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics mean he knows what he’s doing. However, don’t be intimidated — it’s still absolutely doable. When in doubt, start with a low weight (on weighted exercises) and build up, maintaining good form at all times.
All moves consist of 3 sets of 10 repeats except for Push Press, which is 3 x 3, and Lateral Band Holds which are 2 x 30 seconds.
Wind Mill: Use the side of your hip on a Swiss ball. Keep your top leg in front of the lower, back leg, with both feet on the ground. With your lower hand on the ground, take your top arm and rotate it in a big circle to get a big stretch.
Roll Bugs: Lie face up on the ground and bring your knees to your chest. Hug your knees to your chest and bring your head up and off the ground toward your knees. In that position, roll front to back.
TRX Side Plank: Using a TRX suspension trainer, get into a side plank position with one elbow on the ground, feet in handles, and opposite arm in the air pointing up. Your body should be in a straight line. Bring the opposite arm back to the ground and switch positions. (Can also be done as standard plank without TRX.)
TRX Body Saw: In low front plank position, move your body forward a few inches, then back, with core engaged and feet in handles of TRX. (Can also be done with feet on the floor or on sliders if you don’t have a TRX.)
45-Degree Dumbbell Arch Row: Lay with your chest against a bench set at a 45-degree tilt, holding two dumbbells with your thumbs facing each other. Row the dumbbells back and make a semi-circle so the dumbbells end up behind your back with your pinky fingers touching.
Runner Push: Stand holding a cable with one hand near your hip and the cable machine behind you. Drive forward pushing the cable out and bring the opposite knee up, ending in what looks like a running position (as shown below).
Lateral Band Holds: With feet planted and a slight bend in your knees, activate your abs, hold a cable or lateral band with both hands, and then bring both hands out in front of your chest. Pause and hold position for 30 seconds.
Leg Extensor Reflex: Stand facing a wall (as shown below). Push against the wall as if you’re trying to knock it over, tucking pelvis slightly to engage core. Bring one knee up to runner position, foot parallel to floor, then quickly drive the knee and foot to the floor to switch position to the other leg, then back, very quickly. (This is also a great exercise to incorporate into your dynamic warm up!)
Good Morning: With your feet shoulder-width apart, resting a barbell across the back of your shoulders (not your neck), hold the bar in place with your hands and stand upright with core braced and shoulders retracted. Take a breath and hing forward from your hips (not your waist), allowing a slight bend in your knees and keeping your back flat. Lean forward only until you feel a slight hamstring stretch, not going beyond horizontal, then exhale and return to starting position.
Lat Pull Down: On a pull down machine, grasp the bar with both hands. With arms extended overhead, pull shoulders back and down, and attempt to hold this posture throughout exercise. Lean back slightly and keep head aligned with spine, then pull the bar down to your chest and, in a controlled manner, extend back to starting position.
Push Press: Begin with good posture and feet shoulder-width apart. Use a barbell resting on your shoulders in front of you, both hands gripping the bar. Bend knees slightly, the quickly push back to straight leg position, using that momentum to push the bar straight overhead. Bring bar slowly back down to shoulder level and repeat.
Kettlebell Swing: Begin with good posture, feet shoulder-width or slightly wider, gripping a kettlebell with both hands. Lower hips back and down slightly (but do not squat). Straighten legs rapidly, pop pelvis forward, and use that momentum to swing the kettle bell out in front of you, then allow it to swing back down naturally before repeating.
Any of these moves familiar? Are there any that you’ll be incorporating? I’m telling you, that Leg Extensor Reflex is amazing. —Kristen