“These moves help mobilise and strengthen all the global and local muscle groups that are important for stabilising and producing running power. That all means longer faster runs,” Jeffers tells Runner’s World. “Running, by definition, is a movement that’s generally in one plane of motion—exercises moving in different planes of motion helps to train those stabilising muscle groups.”
For example, Jeffers says the world’s greatest stretch works a lot of different muscles throughout the body at once. And the reverse lunge sequence helps with stability and strength because it mimics how runners use their muscles while running.
Not only does this workout focus on your lower body, but it will also include your upper body and core with a series of lunges, push-ups, crunches, and of course, toe touches. All these exercises can be completed from anywhere without any equipment.
How to do it: Perform each exercise for 1 minute, resting 1 to 2 minutes in between each exercise. Complete 3 sets of the 5-move circuit.
World’s Greatest Stretch
Start in a high plank position, then move into a high runner’s lunge position: Step forward with left foot, and bend left knee to make a 90-degree angle (left foot should be outside left hand). Keep your right (back) leg straight. Lower chest toward floor and place right hand on floor, in line with left foot. Twist torso to the left, and raise left arm up toward the ceiling, keeping your eyes on your left hand. Pause for a second, then reverse the movements to return to high plank position. Repeat on opposite side, and continue alternating.
Reverse Lunge Knee Drive to Toe Touch
Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart. Drive your right knee up until it’s parallel to the floor, while simultaneously driving your left arm up. Immediately go into a reverse lunge, by bending left knee and taking a big step back onto the ball of right foot—keeping the right heel off the ground. Bend both knees until the left thigh is parallel to the ground and the right knee is hovering just above the ground, legs forming 90-degree angles. Push through your left foot to stand, and while keeping your right knee in a 90-degree angle, reach for left foot with right hand, and touch your toes. Repeat on opposite side, and continue alternating.
Push-Up to Kick-Through
Start in a high plank position and place your hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly over wrists. Engage your core and glutes to keep hips level; your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Then bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor. Your elbows form a 45-degree angle with your body. Push back up, twist torso to the left and lift left arm as if you are going into a high side plank, and kick right leg through to meet left hand. Return to high plank, repeat on opposite side, and continue alternating.
Crunch to Alternating Cross-Body Toe Touch
Lie on your back with arms at your side, your lower back pressed into the ground or mat. Lift your shoulders and upper back off the ground into the crunch position, lie back down, then lift your right leg and left arm off the floor into a V position to meet as close together as they can. Return to starting position. Repeat the sequence, alternating which arm and leg meet.
Skater to Toe Touch
Stand with feet together and crouch down by pushing hips back, keeping back flat and abs engaged. Jump as far as you can to the right, landing lightly on the ball of your right foot as left leg swings back behind you. Reach left arm down to touch right foot. Now jump as far as you can to the left, engaging glutes to push off, and land lightly on left foot as right leg swings behind you. Reach right arm down to touch left foot. Continue alternating sides.