Winter is a great time to reflect on what you’ve done to really achieve your best. You put in miles throughout the year, did workouts, watched your diet and raced your hardest.

But did you really put the work in to develop better control and stability to improve durability? Did you really work on being a more explosive athlete?

Here’s the thing. Days are short. It’s COLD. Its a great time to stay inside and build some skills that running won’t build for you. And the great thing is, these skills directly transfer to better running. In fact, to be your best come spring, you need this more than you need to run, as these skills will enable you to run more miles, more effectively, with less risk of injury.

Garage Fit Plan

WHAT: A fun group circuit you can do in your garage with friends. We don’t’ know how many friends you have, but we hope its at least 3. Invite them over for a fun group workout that will be done in under 40 minutes from start to finish. We wrote this for 4 people total, but the exact same framework can work for 3 or fewer, and if you have more than 4 people total, just modify it by adding a station so that you’ve got one person at each station.

garage circuit
photos: VeloPress

Skills trained in this plan:

POSTURE: Running requires you to develop postural control from your trunk and core to help you maintain position under fatigue. Our society demands a lot of sitting and slumping and we take that poor position into our running, which compromises our running form. Running won’t help fix that—taking an active role to improve your core and posture will.

HIP: Good form demands that you can PUSH, STEER, and control POSTURE from your hips. This plan helps kick your hips into gear for better durability.

FOOT CONTROL: Your shoes won’t save you. Developing better control and stability in your own foot will. Adding MOBO into this stability plan will help cue your foot to do its job, and integrate it with your hips for a solid contact point. Better control in your foot = better control upstream in the kinetic chain too!

JUMP: Even though running is bouncing from foot to foot, research shows that the impact loads from running actually are NOT enough to maintain adequate bone health. Instead you need to need much higher loads on your bones applied in a really short period of time. Plyometric jumps aren’t just for performance, they are good for bone development too. For all these jumps, aims to be QUICK on and off the ground.

EQUIPMENT: For this plan, you need:

  • Your body weight
  • A swiss ball
  • 2 boxes—or benches, stools, chairs—that are sturdy on the ground and approximately 14–15 inches high
  • Mobo board (enter coupon code PODIUMRUNNER10 for a 10% discount)

The Workout

HOW:

  • Set up the first circuit as outlined below with one station in each corner of your garage.
  • Designated one person as timer for the group.
  • Each of you moves to a station.
  • Start the watch and each person does the exercise at his or her station for 1 full minute.
  • Take 30 seconds to rest and switch stations, then the timer starts again for 1 full minute.
  • Repeat each circuit 2 rounds.
  • Rest for a full minute while you arrange each station for the next circuit.

Workout math:

• 4 stations x 1 minute plus 30 seconds rest for each station = 6 min for one round, thus 12 minutes for 2 rounds.

• 12 minutes at each circuit x 3 circuits = 36 minutes of work, plus your rest to switch stations.

• Start to finish in 40 minutes.

If you have fewer than 4 people, work through the circuits in the same way, with one or more station remaining empty with each move.

Circuit #1

Station 1: Glute Rainbow

Glute-Rainbow Hip Exercise
photo: VeloPress
  • Start on all fours, with your thumbs pointing forward and your fingers pointing to the sides. Imagine there is a plumb bob hanging from your chest—keep it still as you start the movement.
  • Lift one leg behind you so that your thigh is horizontally aligned with your torso and your knee is bent at 90 degrees with the sole of your foot pointing to the ceiling.
  • Keeping your thigh at the exact same height and your pelvis and spine stable and level, sweep your foot outward and then inward like the sole of your foot is pressing into the arc of a rainbow
  • Work your right foot for round 1, left foot for round 2.

TIP: Don’t let your low back arch or shift. The only joint moving is the hip.

Station 2: Tippy Twist

tippy twist hip balance exercise
photo: VeloPress
  • Place your hands on your hips and balance on one leg, focusing on a strong tripod through the forefoot.
  • Maintain a neutral spine and keep your hips level as you bend forward, extending the nonsupporting leg behind you.
  • Twist your hips in toward the floor, then out and up toward the ceiling. Keep your weight balanced across the middle of your foot as you pivot from the hip.
  • Return to level hips and the pelvis forward to come back up to starting position. That’s one full rep.
  • Stand on your right foot for round 1, left foot for round 2.

TIPS: If you wobble in your foot, focus on grounding the big toe to solidify the inside of the tripod. You learn balance through successful movement. It’s better to twist the hip through a smaller range with good control than to try to twist too far and fall each time.

Station 3: Lateral Hurdle Hop

Latteral hurdle hop
photo: VeloPress

Equipment: Shoe, water bottle, foam roller or other small object to jump over

  • Place the object on the ground and hop sideways over it from one foot to the other.
  • Continue jumping for the full minute.

TIP: Keep your hips level at all times—don’t allow them to collapse inward.

Station 4: MOBO Hip Band Kick

Equipment: MOBO Board, Resistance Band

  • Tie a small (4–6 inch) loop in the end of your resistance band.
  • Take that end of band and step both feet inside the loop so that it is around both ankles, with the long end of the band out to the side.
  • Carefully step up onto your MOBO with your right foot, and hover the left foot just off the board. Place your hands on your hips as a cue to keep your hips level.
  • Now move the left leg out and back behind you in a 45 degree angle and then back, aiming to float it on top of the MOBO without touching. Only move as far as you can control.
  • Continue for a full minute. As you get stronger, aim to move the leg further.
  • Stand on your right foot for round 1, left foot for round 2.

Circuit 2

Station 1: Bear Crawls

Bear Crawl exercise
photo: VeloPress
  • Start on all fours, then come up on your hands and toes.
  • Keep your back flat like a tabletop and walk forward with the opposite arm and leg (e.g., right hand goes with left foot).
  • Take 30 steps forward and 30 steps backward.
  • Repeat continuously until the minute is up.

Station 2: Banded Arm Circles / Pull-Aparts

Pull Aparts exercise
photo: VeloPress

Equipment: Resistance Band

  • Hold a TheraBand in your hands about waist high, arms straight and hands about shoulder-width apart. Keep your elbows locked and raise your arms until they are just below your shoulders.
  • Pull the band ends in opposite directions until your arms are spread wide, then release to starting position.
  • Repeat for one minute.

Station 3: Box Squat Jump

Box Squat Jump
photo: VeloPress

Equipment: Two boxes or benches

  • Set up a box or bench that is about mid-shin height and another box or bench about three feet away that is roughly the same height or slightly taller.
  • Start from a quiet seated position, and then explode up and forward so that you land on the box in front of you. Stand tall on landing.
  • Step (don’t jump) back down.
  • Return to seated position and repeat continuously for 60 seconds.

Station 4: MOBO Star Squat

Equipment: MOBO Board

  • Each rep has 3 mini-squats.
  • Step up on the board with your hands on hips to cue level hips throughout your squats.
  • Engage your big toe down to maintain a level MOBO.
  • Now do a mini-squat extending the left leg forward, come back up, do a mini-squat reaching the left leg out to the side, stand back up, and then another mini-squat extending the leg behind you. These three make 1 rep.
  • Repeat reps continually for the full 1 min.
  • Stand on your right foot for round 1, left foot for round 2.

Circuit 3

Station 1: Donkey Toes

Donkey Toes Exercise
photo: VeloPress
  • Begin on all fours with your thumbs pointing forward and your fingers pointing out to the sides. Come up onto your hands and toes, keeping your arms and thighs perpendicular to the ground (like a human coffee table).
  • Maintaining a stable spine, lift one thigh toward the ceiling while keeping your knee bent to 90 degrees.
  • Return to all fours and repeat with the opposite leg.
  • Build to 2 minutes of alternating continuous movement.

TIP: If you need to build up gradually, start off with 4 sets of 30 seconds to learn proper movement.

Station 2: Swiss Ball curls

Swiss Ball Curls
photo: VeloPress

Equipment: Swiss Ball

  • Lie on your back with a Swiss ball under your heels. Lift your hips into a bridge, keeping your spine straight.
  • Without changing the position of your hips, bend your knees as you press your hips up.
  • At the top of the movement the soles of your shoes will be on the ball and your thighs will remain parallel with your torso. Don’t let the hips flex up. If you feel any tightness in your low back, drop your ribs slightly.
  • Return to original position and repeat continuously for one minute.

Station 3: Split Box Jump

Split Box Jump
photo: VeloPress

Equipment: Box or bench about mid-shin height

  • Place one leg up on the box and explosively drive your body upward, switching your leg position in midair.
  • When you get back on the floor, aim to explode up again upon contact. Double bouncing is not allowed!
  • Repeat continuously for one minute.

TIP: Aim to drive equally through both legs on each jump.

Station 4: MOBO Twisted Lunge

Equipment: Mobo Board, Box or Bench

  • Position the MOBO so that the back of the board is about 2 feet in front of a box or bench.
  • Step on the board with your right foot and then place your left foot up behind you.
  • Grab your hands together in front of your body, and drop back into a lunge.
  • Now aim to keep the board and your right leg straight as you twist your upper body to the right and left, and then press back upward. This is one rep.
  • Continue for a full minute. Keep the motion small and controlled at first, working to a larger twist only as you build control.
  • Stand on your right foot for round 1, left foot for round 2.
Exercises adapted from Running Rewired. See more at velopress.com/rewire