Muscle balancing and injury rehabilitation/prevention in one package. The Injured Runner – A Balanced Solution DVD claimed to have this and more. In my desire to return from the ultrarunning dead and have a happy left knee, I had to check it out.
What I really liked about the description of the product is the running specific balanced approach. The program doesn’t just contain knee support exercises (for my case) but works on eight different areas important to runners. Instead of just improving one area, improve the body – I like that approach.
I have been using it for almost a month and wanted to share my experience so far because I do think it could be a beneficial tool for many a runner.
The single DVD is packed with over two hours of solid content that includes:
- 91 minutes of core, strength, stability, and balance recovery/injury-prevention follow-along exercises. (Say that 10 times fast!) These running specific exercises are divided between three levels; The Foundation (13 mins), Level 1 (37 mins), and Level 2 (41 mins).
- Warm up (6 mins) – Four simple drills to perform prior to running.
- Stretching (38 mins) – A big old collection of demonstrated stretching exercises.
- The DVD was created by Bryan Whitesides, who is both a Physical Therapist and a runner for over 25 years. I liked hearing the running background.
The meat (or California Burger) and potatoes of it all is the initial 91 minutes – I am ready to eat!
Test Drive and Thoughts
After giving the DVD a spin, you are directed fairly quickly to the main menu. I checked out the Introduction which contained a little chat by Bryan and his wife (apparently quite a runner herself). Next came a nicely produced summary of the DVD.
Back to the main menu. Ok, looks good, let’s do this!
For each primary set (Foundation, Level 1, Level 2), you can Play All the exercises or select one individually. I always selected Play All.
The basic flow for each exercise sets consists of a glossy set introduction by a faceless, unknown, professional sounding voice guy. Then the video transition to the exercises location where Bryan gives a brief introduction for each individual exercise. The exercise model then performs the exercise while Bryan provides guidance throughout the exercise.
The Foundation (Level 0)
The initial level consists of four fairly basic, yet seemingly important exercises dealing with core stabilization and balance. These exercises lay the foundation (well duh!) for the primary exercises sets (Level 1 and Level 2).
You will work the stomach muscles, get that pelvis in a neutral position, and have fun with a single leg stance exercise.
The single leg exercise required the most focus.
Time to work eight different areas of the runner’s body.
- Hamstrings/Lower back
- Hip Abductors
- Hip Flexors
- the Bumper
Special note – The Calves and Hip Abductor exercises require a step or a couple of the big phone books you likely receive every couple months.
The calf/Achilles exercise provided the biggest burn of the set and consisted of lowering one heel off the edge of a step and then using both feet/legs to raise back up past neutral. Then single leg it back down…repeat for each leg.
I was a disappointed in the quad exercise. It was a basic quad flex while sitting on the floor. It wasn’t much of an exercise. In the exercise intro, Bryan mentions that this exercise may not seem like much (it didn’t) but if you are struggling with knee pain, to give it a try.
Fortunately I have a good range of motion without pain. If I couldn’t bend the knee without crying like a baby, this exercise may be perfect. It may have been nice to have an alternate exercise for those that didn’t have tears running down their cheek.
It didn’t take too many sessions before I was ready for Level 2.
Level 2 takes those eight exercises one louder. This often meant doing a similar exercise as Level 1 but include a free weight, ankle weight or stretch cords, to increase the challenge.
I did really like the quad exercise for this set – single leg squats. BAM! Definitely a good one.
The kick my butt exercise was the Hamstring/Lower Back exercise that consisted of a single leg balance exercise that includes some pelvic opening. It is a bugger to describe so here is pic of me trying to do it. I may have crashed into the wall after this pic. Still haven’t completely mastered it.
Two Step Journey
A basic routine would include The Foundation followed by Level 1. When ready for an increased challenge, go with The Foundation and Level 2. The foundation exercises are always good to include and really don’t take long to complete.
Standard or Express Viewing
In my first viewing I watched everything in its entirety.
This was fine for the first go-around but after that I became a bit antsy to keep things moving along. I really didn’t need to hear the introduction between exercises again so to cut down the overall routine time I would use the trusty remote to get in the workout express lane. Fast-forward through the verbal stuff and get the work done.
I was able to complete an entire routine (The Foundation and Level 1/2) in 30-35 minutes.
So you have a couple choices, Sunday drive it or hop in the express lane.
Bryan recommends doing the program 4-6 times a week during an injury recovery phase and twice a week for a preventative routine.
It is what it is
The Injured Runner (-A Balanced Solution-) delivered on its claim of providing core, strength, stability, and balance exercises that can support a runner holistically. There is a nice variety of exercises and is doable for all ability levels which I think is important for this type of product.
It will not turn you into a chiseled ultrarunning warrior and that is really not its purpose.
My approach to getting running healthy again includes a wide range of tools (the human and non-human kind) and the The Injured Runner is just one of them but I think it has been a positive addition.
If you are a newbie or looking for a workout routine to support your running or are dealing with some pesky tweaks that may be due to some muscle imbalance, The Injured Runner offers a solid balanced approach that may help both of those causes.
You can purchase a copy of the DVD at at Running Warehouse (Shoes, Packs, Clothes, Lights, and more…plus 2-day free shipping!).
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
[This article contains an affiliate links that provides a small commission (at no cost to you) if you would purchase.]
Posted on 16 Sep 2010
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