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    7 Exercises to Treat Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS), or IT Band Syndrome

    Injuries and overuse syndromes are common in runners and can quickly take the fun out of exercise.One of the most frequent problems runners face is the iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), often just called IT band syndrome, or sometimes referred to as runner’s knee.Here you can find answers to the most common questions on the problem and seven exercises for preventing and treating this common runner’s ailment:What Is IT Band Syndrome and How Does It Develop?The problem of iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), often just called IT band syndrome, occurs when the iliotibial band (IT band), which runs along the outside of the thigh, rubs against the knee joint.When you run, you constantly bend and straighten your knee joint. If your leg is turned slightly inward due to improper form, rubbing occurs. This friction can lead to tightening or inflammation of the fascia of the IT band. This explains why IT band syndrome, sometimes also named under the broad term ‘runner’s knee’, starts out as a dull ache, but over time turns into a stabbing pain on the outside of the knee. This can make simple things like climbing stairs or even walking very painful. It can also put a quick end to your running training.Please note:The term runner’s knee is a broad one and therefore, can also be referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). The latter is actually different from the above-mentioned IT Band syndrome: PFPS describes pain in the front of the knee and around the patella or kneecap.What Are the Causes for IT Band Syndrome?Improper running technique and worn-out shoes are not the only causes of IT band syndrome.  A lack of strength in the stabilizing muscles of the foot, knee, and hips can also lead to this injury. The weak muscles cannot provide the stability needed during the initial contact and take-off. Regular cross-training can help to prevent imbalances and avoid developing an overuse injury: Try the Running Strong training plan in the adidas Training app to improve your running.What Should You Do When ITBS Occurs?If you are experiencing pains like those described above, stop running for the next ten to 14 days. Give your body and your knee a good rest.You can focus on recovering and building up strength in your stabilizing muscles with a targeted workout: the most important muscles to strengthen are your core, hips, and glutes. The right balance of mobility and stability is essential for relieving the stress on your IT band.You can and should, of course, do the workout below to prevent problems before they occur. Doing specific exercises two or three times a week can help avoid muscle weaknesses and imbalances.7 Effective Exercises to Treat ITBSThe following seven exercises offer you an ideal combo—they reduce muscle tension, improve flexibility and strengthen your stabilizing muscles.You can do them as a separate injury-prevention workout or as part of your recovery routine if you are forced to take a break from running for a while.Afterward, you should be able to continue with your running training pain-free. Take 30 minutes a day to work on correcting the imbalance in these typically weak areas.Please note:If you do not see any improvement after treating iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), or runner’s knee, yourself, you should definitely consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Specialists may also be able to clarify other causes of the problems.1. Release: Reduce Muscle TensionExercise 1 – Trigger Release with BallStarting position: Hurdler stretch with your knee bent at a 90° angle.How to perform the exercise:Position a trigger point ball or a lacrosse ball under the outside of your thigh muscle.Search for the spot in your muscle with the most tension.Now increase the pressure on the ball and slowly rub the tense area in a star pattern. This area should start to hurt less after a while.Duration:60-90 seconds per point and sideExercise 2 – Lateral Quad RollStarting position:Lie on your side.Position a foam roller under the thigh of your bottom leg and cross your top leg over with your foot on the floor in front of you.How to perform the exercise:Roll the muscle slowly at an even pace starting from the knee and working your way up to the hip.Avoid rolling directly over tendons and ligaments so as not to place unnecessary stress on them.Duration:60-90 seconds per point and side.2. IT Band Stretches for Runners: Increase FlexibilityExercise 1 – Supine ScorpionBasic VersionStarting position:Lie on your back.How to perform the exercise:Using your left hand pull your right knee to the left and try to push your knee to the floor.Your knee should form a 90° angle between your upper and lower leg.Now reach your right arm up and to the right. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your thigh.Advanced VersionHow to perform the exercise:Starting from the basic version.Now extend your right leg and thus increase the intensity of the stretch on your thigh muscle.Duration:60-90 seconds per sideExercise 2 – Pigeon PoseBasic VersionStarting position:Start on all fours.How to perform the exercise:Bring your right knee forward through your arms as far as you can and place your knee on the mat.The lower part of your right leg should be slightly open, so that your thigh is not resting on your calf.Make sure to keep your front foot flexed.Your left leg should rest comfortably extended behind you and your left hip should be tilted slightly to the right.Now raise your torso until your back is straight and adjust your center of gravity so you feel a comfortable stretch on the outside of your thigh.Advanced VersionHow to perform the exercise:Starting from the basic version, stretch your arms forward and lower your torso toward the floor.This will increase the intensity of the stretch.Duration:60-90 seconds per side3. Performance: Build StabilityExercise 1 – Single Leg Squat Front and BackStarting position:Stand on one leg.Put your weight onto your right leg and extend your left leg out straight in front of you and low to the floor.How to perform the exercise:Squat down and try to keep the knee as stable as possible.Hold this position for a few seconds and then push back up to the starting position. (Picture 1)Now extend your left leg straight out behind you and low to the floor.Squat down while once again keeping your knee stable and then push back up to the starting position. (Picture 2)Duration:3 x 10 repetitions per sideExercise 2 – Single Leg Bridge with ResistanceStarting position:Lie on your back.Place your feet hip-width apart.Lift your hips up and assume the shoulder bridge position.How to perform the exercise:Pushing up through your heel, put your weight on your left leg.Pull your right knee up towards your chest with your hands under the knee joint.Push your leg against your hands to apply resistance.Keep your hips square and then slowly reduce the tension.Let your hips sag and then lift them up high again.Duration:3 x 10 repetitions per sideExercise 3 – Clam Shells with MinibandStarting position:Lie on your side.Position a miniband between your knee and thigh and bend your knees slightly.How to perform the exercise:Stabilize your body with your right arm on the floor and then open your knees like a clam. Pull the band apart slowly but firmly and try to engage your hips and core muscles.Let the band pull your legs back together (with control) and then repeat the movement again.Duration:3 x 10 repetitions per sideSome Final WordsAs soon as you are pain-free for about ten days, you can try an easy test run. You should keep it short and make sure to warm up well. You can find useful tips and stretches for warming up in this blog post. It’s best if you run your test run on a treadmill or do a short, flat loop. This way you can stop at any time if the pain should return again. If everything goes well, you can slowly increase the distance per day. Related articles:*** More

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    Why Does My Knee Hurt? Check Your Symptoms!

    Does your knee hurt after a run or other workout? It’s not always runner’s knee; you may be suffering from jumper’s knee or pes anserine bursitis. Here you will find an overview of the three most common knee problems and what you can do about them.3 Common Knee ProblemsStep #1: Where Does It Hurt?Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS):If it hurts on the outside of the knee and extends toward the hip, it is iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), often just called IT band syndrome, or sometimes runner’s knee.Jumper’s knee:Isolated pain in the front of the knee on the lower pole of the patella is also called “patellar tendinopathy”, or “patellar tendonitis” (jumper’s knee).Pes anserine bursitis:If pain develops on the inner side of the shinbone directly below the knee joint, it is most likely pes anserine bursitis, also called “pes anserinus syndrome”, “inner knee pain”, or “medial knee pain”.Step #2: Which Sport Do You Do?In order to diagnose which knee problem you suffer from, it is important to look at how you work out. All three knee problems can, indeed, develop in any sport. However, the jumper’s knee – as the name suggests – is more common among athletes who do sports involving jumping (e.g. volleyball) or stop-and-go movements (e.g. tennis, soccer). Runner’s knee and pes anserine bursitis, on the other hand, usually appear in runners.Step #3: Is Your Knee Tender to the Touch?Tenderness is present in all three conditions:With the IT band syndrome (also runner’s knee), the tenderness is on the outer side of the knee joint.With the jumper’s knee, the tenderness can be felt in one spot directly on the patellar pole.With pes anserine bursitis (also pes anserinus syndrome, inner knee pain, or medial knee pain) there is tenderness below the inner side of the knee joint.Step #4: What Can I Do About the Pain in My Knee?Treatment is necessary for all three conditions: ice and rest your knee! Avoid jumping or impact activities.Foam rolling exercises and stretching can help. If you suffer from Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), jumper’s knee, or pes anserine bursitis, you can find helpful exercises and tips in the respective blog posts:In a nutshell, these three knee problems can usually be distinguished by the location of the pain. The type of sport you do can also provide helpful information.Please consider:If the condition does not improve after treating it at home, you should definitely consult a medical professional for a clear diagnosis and additional treatment advice.*** More

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    High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Endurance Training: What’s Better for You?

    Exercise is generally separated into aerobic/endurance training and power/strength activities. Long-distance running is an example of aerobic/ endurance, whereas high-intensity interval training (HIIT) falls into the power/strength category.(1)Are long, continuous endurance runs better for your training, or should you focus on high-intensity workouts? The answer largely depends on your training goal, fitness level, and enjoyment.Table of ContentsWhat Is Endurance Training?Endurance training is also known as “prolonged exercise training.” It is classically performed at a relatively low intensity over a long duration. Long slow distance training is one type of endurance workout. During long slow distance training, an individual sustains a submaximal workload for a longer time.(2)Classic endurance training results in enhanced cardiac output, maximal oxygen consumption, and the development of new cells. The result? The ability to maintain cardio exercise for longer distances and times with ease.(3)What Is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?HIIT is performed with a relatively high load or intensity at a short duration. Typical HIIT workouts qualify as strength training exercises. You perform repeated bouts of work at close to maximal power for a short period.(4,5)But, just because you’re doing interval training doesn’t mean you’re doing HIIT. For it to be high-intensity training, you’ve got to push yourself to your max with every interval. Studies show that most people overestimate their exertion levels.(6) Be honest and continuously adapt your workouts for progressive overload.How Does Endurance Training Compare With High-Intensity Training?Endurance training and HIIT demonstrate a similar energy consumption (i.e., they burn an equal amount of calories during the workout).(8) But how individuals adapt to the training depends on many factors, including:geneticsgenderagenutritiontraining historyenvironmentFurthermore, it’s rare for a workout to be purely endurance or strength training. Most activities combine endurance and strength.(9) Even cardio-focused HIIT, like cycling intervals, will likely develop strength.Ultimately, both HIIT and endurance training make you stronger, increase your stamina and cardiac output, help you lose weight and fat, and positively impact your fitness.Studies show that short-term, intense exercise can lead to endurance adaptations. Inversely, low-load training approaching failure can lead to strength adaptations. If you challenge yourself, you’ll see results, no matter the type of workout.(10)Thoughtful Workout ProgrammingWhen planning your HIIT and endurance exercise routines, the adage of “too much, too soon” holds. Studies show that simultaneously increasing strength and endurance training volume impedes progress.(11,12,13)Goals-Based Training ProgramNow that you understand how endurance and interval training at high intensities affect your fitness, it’s time to set some goals! Find your objectives and how to achieve them in the list below. Then, use the Find the HIIT series on the adidas Training app!Goal 1: Get StartedDo This:Lower-intensity HIIT and endurance trainingWhy?Have you just taken up running and still find it difficult to run for longer periods of time without stopping? Then you should begin with low-intensity intervals. Try running for short intervals followed by walking rests so you can recover. You can find a good program for beginners in our blog post, Go from Walking to Running with These Expert Tips!Goal 2: Improve Race TimesDo This: Endurance training and HIITWhy? An effective training program for improving your race time is built like a pyramid:The stable foundation is composed of longer runs to build your aerobic capacity.You can enhance your base by improving your running form and performing strengthening, stabilizing, and stretching exercises.The top of the pyramid consists of race-specific maximum efforts like tempo runs and high-intensity intervals.Goal 3: Run Half Marathons And Longer RacesDo This: Endurance training*Why?If you want to finish a half marathon or longer, you must first put in the mileage. Long, low-intensity runs make up the majority of your preparation. In particular, this helps your tendons, ligaments, bones, and working muscles get used to sustained impact. This helps to prevent overuse and injury. Long-distance runs increase your aerobic endurance and streamline your running form. *Note: If you want to run a sub-3 hour marathon, you not only have to train at high volumes, but you also need to incorporate speed work and high-intensity interval training into your training plan.Goal 4: Run 10Ks And Shorter RacesDo This: HIIT and HIIT sprintsWhy?High-intensity intervals are crucial for short-distance races like five and ten kilometers. The shorter the race, the more fast-paced and intense workouts you should do. For races of up to ten kilometers, you usually run at or above your anaerobic or lactate threshold. This is the level at which the oxygen is no longer sufficient to metabolize the accumulating lactate (lactic acid) caused by high-intensity exercise.High-intensity interval training and challenging tempo runs at race speed are good ways of building up your body’s tolerance to high lactate levels. This not only improves your lactate tolerance and pace endurance but also increases your VO2 max. Goal 5: Lose WeightDo This: HIITWhy?The best workouts for losing weight are those that help you achieve a negative energy balance (where more calories are burned than consumed). High-intensity intervals burn a high amount of calories in a short period of time. The high intensity of the workout puts a lot of strain on your muscles. The process of rebuilding and repairing your muscle tissue after the workout requires additional energy, and the afterburn effect continues to burn calories post-exercise. HIIT leads to a greater afterburn than endurance training.(14)Is HIIT Making You Hungry?Try endurance training if you’re trying to lose weight but feel extra hungry after your HIIT workouts. Your intense exercise might be dysregulating your appetite. Longer, more relaxed activities may soothe your hunger hormones and maintain a negative energy balance.(15)Goal 6: Build StrengthDo This: HIITWhy?HIIT workouts are more likely to increase muscle mass throughout the body. Muscles get bigger when exercised to fatigue (or very close). Since HIIT aims to train as hard as possible with every interval, these workouts are likely to develop total-body strength.But if you’re new to exercise or returning after a break, any workout will increase your muscle mass. So beginners can use endurance training to achieve their strength development goals. Once you get over the initial training hump, avoid a plateau by adding HIIT.Goal 7: Lose FatDo This:Endurance trainingWhy?Generally speaking, endurance training is a fat-burning activity. When you run, cycle, or exercise at around 60% effort, your body uses fat as fuel. Anything about that switches to glycogen and acid for energy (like when you reach your maximal output during HIIT). After an initial fat loss stage, start incorporating HIIT into your workout program. HIIT workouts increase muscle mass more than endurance training. Muscles increase metabolism, helping you use more fat during the day (even when resting). For more information on the mechanisms of exercise for fat loss, see this blog post: How To Burn Fat Running.It Gets Easier!Tough training sessions are very hard on the body and require a lot of recovery time. The better your base is, the more training your body can handle, and the less recovery time it needs after intense workouts. Or simply put, you can train harder and more frequently.Create Your Workout ProgramEndurance training and HIIT are equally important. Your exact workout plans are dependent upon your goals and lifestyle. Nevertheless, you should incorporate both styles of exercise to profit from the training effects of each.Admittedly, going for an hour-long run requires less planning and knowledge than creating your own HIIT workout. To help, we’ve launched a new high-intensity interval training series on our adidas Training app. Let us guide you: *** More

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    Get Started With High-Intensity Interval Training ► Top 6 HIIT Benefits

    Have you been running a consistent distance for some time but not seeing the fitness results you want? Do you find yourself skipping workouts because you just can’t fit them into your schedule?It’s time you try High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short!What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?HIIT is an interval training practice that combines short, high-intensity bursts of speed with slow recovery periods of mild activity or rest and helps to improve your performance incredibly. A HIIT workout lasts around ten to 30 minutes and is known as a very time-efficient way to train.(1,2)By varying the intensity of your workout, you’ll reap the benefits of both aerobic and anaerobic training. Over time, HIIT can help improve your speed, strength, and endurance.What Are the 6 Best High-Intensity Interval Training Benefits?1. Extra Free TimeInterval training is the most efficient form of cardio and can deliver benefits much more quickly than typical cardio workouts. Research shows that 27 minutes of HIIT performed three times per week delivers the same aerobic and anaerobic results as 60 minutes. 2. Burn Calories (More and Quickly!)Regarding weight loss, intervals are more effective than long, slow endurance exercises.(3) The intense effort you put in means your body must work harder to recover, so you’ll burn more calories in the 24 hours after an interval workout than you would after a slow, steady run. During those 24 hours after high-intensity interval training (HIIT), your body can also produce up to 450 percent more human growth hormone, which increases caloric burn.(4)3. A Big SmileInterval training creates a surge of endorphins, the natural opiates your brain produces due to challenging exercise.(5) Because of its short bursts of strenuous activity, interval training drastically boosts endorphin production, so you’ll experience a true “runner’s high” and feel happy and energized after your workout.4. Increased Explosive Power, Speed, and AgilityInterval training stimulates several physiological changes that can increase explosive power, speed, and agility.(6)For example, HIIT helps your body learn to burn lactic acid more efficiently – allowing you to exercise for a longer period of time before fatigue sets in. Interval training makes it easier to go farther and faster with more energy and will also help with your other cardio activities, including hiking, biking, swimming, and skiing.5. A Healthier HeartAlthough high-intensity intervals accelerate your heart rate, they can decrease the strain on your heart. Over time, cardiovascular exercise can increase your heart stroke volume or the amount of blood your heart pumps per beat. Interval training maximizes cardiovascular benefits, so it can quickly increase stroke volume, making your heart stronger and more efficient. HIIT also maximizes the other benefits of cardiovascular exercise, including decreasing your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.(7,8,9)6. Fewer Sick DaysInterval training also amplifies cardio’s other health benefits, including reducing cholesterol(10) and lowering the risk of arthritis and other inflammatory problems. In general, exercise has positive effects on your health and immune system and also can diversify the gut microbiota. But make sure not to overdo it if you’re a beginner: muscle damage and increased illness risk can occur from overtraining as your body is put under oxidative stress.(11) It is always recommended that you find a good middle ground between sports motivation and recovery.Now you know everything about the six benefits of HIIT and why you should get started with it. Are you ready? Try the high-intensity interval training program in the adidas Training app today! More

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    Pes Anserine Bursitis: 6 Exercises to Treat Inner Knee Pain

    Do you feel pain on the inner side of your knee? You may suffer from pes anserine bursitis, also called pes anserinus syndrome, medial or inner knee pain.Here you can find answers to the most common questions on the problem and six helpful exercises for pain relief:What is pes anserine bursitis (medial knee pain)?The pes anserinus, also called “goose foot”, is where three tendons are conjoined on the inner side of the shin. It is a complex structure of tendons susceptible to injury. Located below the knee, it is the starting point of three muscles. These muscles are responsible for the inward rotation and bending of the knee joint.The pain occurs on the inner side of the shinbone directly below the knee.Pain develops from overexertion, friction, or trauma (e.g. direct hit) in the transition zone from muscles and tendons into the bone. There is also a bursa located here that can cause problems. What causes inner knee pain?Inner knee pain develops from overexertion, friction, or trauma (e.g. a direct hit) in the transition zone from muscles and tendons into the bone. There is also a bursa located here that can cause problems.What causes overexertion or friction?Pes anserinus syndrome is caused by walking for an extended period on uneven or sloped surfaces, muscular imbalances, worn-out running shoes, one-sided training, pelvic instability, or gait problems (knock knees).What are the symptoms of medial knee pain?The first symptom of medial knee pain is often initial pain at the beginning of a workout, which then fades. Later on, a lasting pain will develop along with a limited range of motion, swelling, and tenderness below the inner side of the knee. There may also be a crunching sound in the knee (also called crepitus).What can you do as first aid?If you feel inner knee pain and think you might suffer from pes anserine bursitis, it is important to cut back on your training. Resting and cooling the area (e.g. with an ice pack) is also helpful. If the pain goes away, you can continue low-impact active exercise with a full range of motion (cycling). It is also recommended that you replace your worn-out (running) shoes regularly. Expert tip:If you do not see any improvement after treating pes anserine bursitis yourself, you should definitely consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Manipulative (fascial) therapy, leg axis training, ultrasound, anti-inflammatory medication, shockwave therapy, and knee injections can provide additional relief. Specialists may also be able to clarify other causes of the problems.Pes Anserine Bursitis: 6 Effective Exercises for Inner Knee PainIf you are in pain, the following six exercises can help. But please be aware:If you do not see any improvement after treating the pes anserinus syndrome yourself, you should definitely consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Manipulative (fascial) therapy, leg axis training, ultrasound, anti-inflammatory medication, shockwave therapy, and knee injections can provide additional relief. Specialists may also be able to clarify other causes of the problems.Foam Rolling1. Relaxation of the hamstringsSit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place the foam roller under your hamstrings on the affected side. Lift your butt to shift the weight to your thigh. Use your upper body to help you move back and forth, rolling the foam along the length of your hamstrings. Make sure you roll very slowly. Do this exercise as many times as you are able.2. Relaxation of the quadriceps Get down on all fours. Stretch out the leg that has pain. Place the foam roller under your quad. Now roll it along the entire length of your thigh. Make sure you roll very slowly. Do this exercise as many times as you are able.3. Foam Rolling Directly on the Pes AnserinusGet on all fours. Lift the affected knee. Position the foam roller below the pes anserinus (the inner side of the shin directly below knee). Roll back and forth very slowly.Caution:This exercise can hurt – do not go beyond your pain threshold. Do this exercise as many times as you are able.Stretching1. Stretching the hamstrings Get into the hurdle stretch. Extend the leg that hurts in front of you. Bend your upper body toward your foot. Keep your back straight. You should feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Hold this stretch for 60 to 90 seconds.2. Stretching the quadsLie on your side with the leg you want to stretch on top. Slightly bend the bottom leg to stabilize your pelvis. Grab the foot of your top leg and pull it toward your butt. You should feel the stretch in your quads (the front of your thigh). Be careful not to arch your back. Hold this stretch for 60 to 90 seconds.  3. Cobbler’s poseSit in cobbler’s pose. Bend your upper body forward. For an effective stretch, push your knees down toward the floor with your elbows. You should feel the stretch in your inner thighs. Be careful not to arch your back. Hold this stretch for 60 to 90 seconds.Related articles:*** More

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    Does Running Build Muscle? Yes, So Does Resistance Training

    Striking a balance between running and strength training isn’t easy and often leads to confusion among runners. How can one boost endurance and build muscle mass at the same time? In summary, this is how:Varying your run intensity, duration, and frequencyAdding or subbing strength training exercises into your workout scheduleEating wellSleeping wellThe simplified checklist above hides much of the nuance involved. Read on for specific details, workout splits, meal plans, and general advice.Does Running Build Leg Muscle Naturally? Yes, so does Core!Running is a natural muscle-building activity for your legs, core, and back. The largest muscles in these regions are strengthened with running: quadriceps, gastrocnemius and soleus (calves), quadratus lomborum, and spinal erectors (lower back). The hamstrings and glutes work to a lesser extent if your run involves hills. Smaller muscles are activated around the ankles, knees, pelvic floor, upper back, biceps, and shoulders. Running is bodyweight resistance training. Every time we take a step, we push the ground away. Every time we lift a knee, we pull against the downward force of gravity.Running Form TipsGet stronger while running by practicing great running form. Here’s a guide.How To Combine Running And Resistance TrainingTo maintain muscle built from running, gain new power throughout the body, and ensure proper recovery, you’ll need to mix running workouts with strength training workouts.Running AdviceBased on your personal goal when it comes to growing muscle mass, reducing your weekly runs’ mileage might make sense, especially in the early building phase of your strength training. Short, fast runs and sprints have positive effects on building muscle in your legs.Varying your workouts’ intensity, duration, and volume is a great way to ensure that every muscle gets a workout. Here are some examples of varied runs that engage unique muscle groups and contribute to hypertrophy:A casual jogClimbing stairs*Hiking or trail runningLong, endurance-based runsRunning a different distance every dayRunning uphill and downhillSprint workouts*Need a cognition boost or an uplifted mood? Try climbing stairs! This study shows that a short stair climb increased the speed of understanding and positive energy in men.Hypertrophy:An increase and growth of muscle cells.Function: increased strength, speed, energy storage, and enduranceBenefits: longevity, bone mass, metabolic effectivenessPerks: a more toned, lean physiqueStrength Training Advice When it comes to resistance training, a little goes a long way. You don’t even need heavy weights: resistance band workouts are enough to trigger muscle growth.If you have access to dumbbells, a barbell, kettlebells, or weight-training machines, you should pay attention to training volume and frequency. Many studies show that high-frequency strength training (3+ days per week) yields the same lean muscle mass development as low-frequency strength training (1x per week).(1, 2, 3, 4, 5) But, studies have also found that a higher volume of repetitions and sets increases overall muscle growth. Specifically, three or more sets of 8-12 repetitions show the best results.(6, 7, 8)Better, Not MoreIf you’re already exercising four or more hours per week, you do not need to exercise more to see results. If you exercise again before adequate recovery, you may see a drop in running and strength performance. The diagnosis: short-term over-reaching or long-term overtraining (skip to the last section for more information on overtraining).(9, 10) Here are wiser ways to train:Substitute one or two runs with strength training sessionsCut an hour-long run in half and spend 30 minutes strength trainingDo a short, high-intensity run with a strength training sessionRun in the morning, hit the gym in the evening (or vice versa)Before or After?Here is a blog post full of advice about running before versus after a strength training session: When To Run.Training VolumeWorkout programming matters! Running and weight lifting tax muscles in different ways. Therefore, you can exercise daily so long as you vary strength training with running. As time goes on, your metabolism and fitness levels will increase. Then, you can start doing back-to-back or twice daily sessions with 2+ rest days per week.(13)Nutrition: Your Secret WeaponExercising without proper nutrition is like a car trying to run on an empty tank. If your goal is to build and tone muscles while being an active runner, you need to consider this. Ensure your nutrition provides your body with at least the calories you burn when running. Being aware of your macronutrient and micronutrient intake is key to restoring your body’s glycogen and promoting muscle protein synthesis. Muscle Protein SynthesisThe process of turning amino acids into muscle proteins. Basically, how your body builds new muscle.Ignore hyped ideas about changing your eating patterns dramatically to match your workout (like “carbo-loading” before a run or “protein bulking” after a heavy weightlifting session). The best thing to do is eat well every day, so your body always has what it needs. Furthermore, your metabolism will recognize that it doesn’t need to store fat in case of starvation. It will use what you give it when you give it! Protein: Which and Why?Skeletal muscle is 80% protein.(14) When you’re trying to increase muscle mass, getting enough protein is pertinent. Amino acids build protein. Educate yourself on how protein forms to make intelligent decisions about diet and supplements.Amino acids are the building blocks of molecules, like protein, and are transportation devices within the body. Twenty standard amino acids create chains to form proteins. There are nine limiting amino acids not found in the body. We must get them in our diet. The easiest way to get all essential amino acids is by eating animal products. However, when given particular vegetarian food complements, the body can produce all essential amino acids.(15, 16)Here are examples of vegan food complements that help the body to generate essential amino acid development:Lentils with flax seedsQuinoa with almondsBlack beans with riceWild rice and cashewsKale salads with chia seedsCorn and pinto beansSpinach salads with sesame seedsZucchini with buckwheatWhole grain bread with nut butterOats and pumpkin seedsWe have tons of protein-packed recipes on our blog! Check out a list of all recipe posts HERE.Omega 3 Fatty AcidsLike amino acids, Omega 3s are the building blocks of the body. They function as gatekeepers for the movement of hormones and nutrition across cell walls. They also help veins pump blood and decrease inflammation.(17) If you’re not taking time to eat well and recover after workouts, you might notice a “brain fog,” difficulty staying focused, and slowed comprehension rate. That’s because the human brain is 60% fat. When we’re not fueling and resting, our body may use fat from the brain to energize us. Omega-3 fatty acids fuel our brain. Eating natural Omega-3s or supplementing them can aid recovery time and stay alert.Data suggests that Omega-3s may also be integral to building skeletal muscle. Clinical studies show that muscle size and strength increase in older adults supplement Omega-3s. Other studies show that Omega-3s help people retain muscle mass even when not actively strength-training.(18) Which means that, after your initial training hump, you will be able to exercise less and still get gains. That’s great news!How to Get Omega-3sEat natural wild-caught fish, farm-raised salmon, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans. Or supplement with EPA and DHA.Post-Workout CarbohydratesEating high-glycemic-index carbohydrates after a workout is a great way to aid muscle recovery. If you plan to do two workouts within 24 hours, it’s pertinent to get those carbs in.(19) Foods like potatoes and squash, whole grain oats, bulgur, and brown rice are easy-to-make, high-glycemic carbs. For extra bang, complement high-glycemic-index carbs with natural antioxidant carbohydrates, like kiwis and berries—for example, this sweet potato bowl with tomatoes and citrus fruits.SupplementsMedical DisclaimerThe information provided in this blog post is for guidance purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult a medical professional or healthcare provider to seek medical advice.The ideal diet is well-balanced with micronutrients and macronutrients. But in times of intense exercise or when it’s challenging to eat enough (i.e., when you’re eating around workouts), supplementing essential vitamins and minerals is effective.Here’s a list of some supplements that help with muscle recovery and building:CreatineBranch-chain amino acids (especially for vegetarians and vegans)CollagenWhey proteinCaffeine (before a workout, to help with the heart rate increase and for going big!)Turmeric extract (for anti-inflammatory benefits pre-run)Fish oilSleep Makes You StrongerDo you pound the pavement, hit the gym, but skip the bed? Then you might as well skip all of it, because sleep powers muscle development. Sleep deprivation decreases muscle protein synthesis in young, healthy men and women.(20) Even a few sleepless nights can compromise glucose metabolism and impair muscle function.(21, 22) If you’re looking to gain skeletal muscle, then you’ve also got to look for at least eight hours of sleep per night.(23)It’s easier to recover glycogen stores than to fix torn muscle fibers (which is what happens during strength training). You can work out again within a day when you properly restore glycogen. Studies show that the heavier the weight lifted, the more recovery time required.(24)Not Seeing Results?You’ve put in the miles, added the kilograms, eaten the macros, and gotten the ZZZs. But still, you’re not seeing results, or you’ve plateaued in your early gains. You might be over-reaching or overtraining. Over-reaching (OR) vs. Overtraining Syndrome (OTS)OR is characterized by an unexpected drop in performance despite increased training load or may lead to OTS, a complex state of exhaustion and persistent fatigue.(25)When over-reached and overtrained, you’ll see decrements in your workouts.(26) And a slew of other mental and physical pains, as covered in this blog post. The best solution: deload.Deloading Your TrainingIn the case of OR or OTS, you’ll need to take a break. Studies differ on the amount of rest time required. Ultimately, you’ll know when you’ve rested enough because you’ll feel lively and excited about workouts again.Here are a few examples of deload techniques:Plan a deload week at regular intervals, for instance:Every three weeksEvery six weeksWhenever you feel you need itMake your current workouts less intense for 2-3 weeks, for instance:Cut your weight lifting load in ½Replace low runs with light jogsInstead of running and weight-lifting, try other kinds of exercise, like yoga, bodyweight workouts, or cycling.Detrain entirely for three weeksNote: One study shows no loss of muscle mass after a 3-week training break within a 15-week routineGet Your Build On!Now that you’re armed with education, examples, and worst-case scenario mitigation, step up to the task: download the adidas Training and adidas Running apps to get workout ideas and training inspiration!  More

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    Understanding and Overcoming Plateaus in Sports Performance

    Popular media is full of stories of people conquering challenges no matter what. New employees learn the company’s goals first and their own tasks second. Every year Olympic athletes break their own personal records. We’re led to believe that setting goals, and then working arduously to achieve them, will lead to success.But what if you’ve been working toward a fitness goal for weeks, years, or months, and suddenly hit a plateau? Here’s how to cope with a workout plateau. The first thing to recognize is that it won’t last forever. The second thing is that you don’t deserve all the blame. There are many factors at-play when it comes to workout goals, including sports nutrition and overtraining.What is a Plateau?According to analyst Wu Xiangming,“The plateau phenomenon… refers to the stagnation or even regression of an athlete’s performance within a certain period of time after the rapid progress in years of training.” Xiangming identifies that there are “internal and external” causes for such a plateau(1).While the above study examined South Korean athletes over the course of years, fitness plateaus can still happen to everyday athletes over the course of weeks or months. Basically, an exercise plateau occurs when the athlete is unable to successfully increase the intensity of a workout or earn a new personal best. Intensity can refer to any exercise stimulus, from duration to volume to velocity. Are you unable to go faster, lift heavier, or go higher? Then you’ve probably reached a workout plateau.There are two kinds of plateaus that may affect everyday and competitive athletes: a mental plateau and a physical plateau. For most athletes, a mental plateau expresses itself as a negative and unmotivated attitude toward exercise. A physical plateau is the literal inability to progress in a movement or sport. Usually, athletes experience both in conjunction. Sports psychology analyzes both aspects when identifying athletes’ performance.What Causes A Plateau in Performance?In fact, the “Plateau Effect” is a natural occurrence in sport. As an athlete gets fitter, they must continually add on more intensity to improve. Performance will reach a plateau if the training load is kept constant.(2)Blaming yourself for being “unmotivated” or “lazy” won’t help with sports plateaus. There are many reasons why an athlete might not be progressing. Understanding those reasons is the first step to overcoming them. Ask yourself the following questions.#1: Are My Goals Right For Me?When setting achievable goals it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want and why you want it. Maybe the goal is to run 5km, and you can’t seem to move past 3km. But what was the reason behind running 5km? If you only intend to lose weight, and you’ve indeed gone down in a pant size, then you can be happy with 3km.Truthfully, getting started with a new workout routine is the most difficult part. Once an initial increase in fitness has been realized, it takes much less physical effort to maintain. If you love your 5km runs and easily maintain them in your schedule, then you might make a new goal of simply maintaining your workout schedule. At some point, the goal could be simply to “maintain” rather than “gain.” Here’s another thing that Instagrammers don’t share: most of them are in the maintenance phase. They talk about “gains” but they’ve already put in years of effort to get where they are. Now, they’re in a relatively normalized state, where they eat and train to maintain their current form.Of course, competitive athletes are always striving to win. But, the everyday athlete must weigh their perception of fitness with the creation of goals that are personally fulfilling, sustainable, and achievable. Ask yourself: what are your needs, desires, and motivations? Set goals that match. For more guidance, see our goals setting guide.#2: Have I Given Myself Enough Time?Most people who’ve achieved notable success have been working on their craft for a long time. It takes several years of regular physical movement to change one’s physiology. Set small, incremental goals on your way toward a larger goal. Be willing to give the incremental goals all the time they require.#3: Am I Rested?There’s a reason why some of our most popular articles deal with overtraining and knowing when to take a rest day. Over-exercising is both a cause for and symptom of performance plateaus. The body requires adequate recovery between sets and sessions. Rest isn’t just taking physical days off. It’s everything that makes you feel lively again: sleep, food, creative time, vacations, etcetera. Your nervous system is complex. It rules the mind and body. When it’s undernourished and full of cortisol, it’s going to underperform. The result? Feeling physically and emotionally unwell. Determining just how much rest to get is tricky. That’s why we’ve written this training tips blog post about guidelines for recovery periods and days. Our post on sleep advocates for creating a sleep schedule alongside a workout schedule.#4: Am I Getting Enough Variety?Elite athletes only train intensely two or three times a week. The rest of the week is spent cross-training, lower-intensity exercise, mobility work and active recovery. Even non-competitive athletes do better when they vary the training style and intensity throughout the week. Why is cross-training important? First: injury prevention. Train supporting muscles so that when primary muscles fatigue the secondary muscles kick-in. This helps to prevent unnatural pressure on a joint. Second, cross-training keeps the mind and body curious about movement, increasing enjoyment and motor skill development. Third, it provides active rest days to flush the system of lactate and keep the body supple (if you don’t push it too hard).Here are three ways to introduce variety into your training schedule:Do the opposite. If your goal is running, try swimming. If your goal is to get rock-hard abs, try soft yoga. Let your body use all of its functions in as many ways as possible.Vary bodyweight versus barbells. Bodyweight training builds muscle without using weights. Bodyweight exercises tend to be compound movements, which work multiple parts of the body at once. They’re an easy way to build muscle if you’re focused on cardiovascular endurance and boost the metabolism if you’re focused on hypertrophy.Do something for fun. What is Pilates? Is dancing actually a workout? Do you have an old pair of rollerblades collecting dust in the closet? Take them for a spin! Find new and novel ways to move. You’ll be amazed at what you can do and laugh at what you can’t. #5: Am I Using Sports Nutrition?The field of sports nutrition is complex and ever-expanding. The goal is to promote muscle development and cardiovascular endurance while minimizing fat storage. Thanks to the world wide web, it’s easier than ever to get nutrition advice. From intuitive eating to intermittent fasting, Keto to vegan, someone on YouTube probably has a channel dedicated to telling you why their diet is the best diet. Knowing where to start, and who to trust, is the hard part.Ultimately, what feels good in your body is the best diet for you. But, there are some basic, science-backed sports nutrition truths. Read on! ProteinAdequate protein intake is crucial when overcoming a workout plateau. Protein builds muscles and can be used as fuel when carbohydrate sources are depleted. It is a longer-lasting energy source for the body. Protein also contributes to feeling satiated (which can help with weight-loss goals). Unfortunately, the “right amount” of protein remains undetermined in the scientific community.What we do know is that the body maximizes protein differently depending on age and activity level. Protein is valuable because of amino acids, and vegetarian-based protein sources need to be combined with other amino acid sources in order to create the complete protein that muscles require. It’s not a bad thing to eat more protein than the body requires, but it also doesn’t help. Extra protein is oxidized or transaminated to other organic acids in the body (basically, it’s converted to something other than protein). However, current studies are based on fast-digesting proteins like supplements and powders. More research needs to be done about natural proteins that are bound with other macronutrients, i.e. carbohydrates and fats.(3)You can use our protein calculator to learn a ballpack range of how much protein overall your body requires. If you’re very focused on building physique, lean muscle, and strength training, then you can add many more grams of protein per day to this initial amount.Fats and CarbohydratesThe fitness world is obsessed with protein (for good reason, as shown above). But inadequate overall nutrition will cause the body to steal protein from muscle, rather than fats and carbohydrates.(4) Fast-acting carbohydrates are the first thing that the body uses when cardiovascular intensity increases. Fats are used once carbohydrates are naturally depleted and on endurance-based workouts (like long runs). If you’re underfueling on fats and carbs then your body will use its own muscles as a protein source. Muscle mass will decline, as will overall performance.Nutritional TimingTiming nutritional intake to optimize sports performance is tricky. An athlete must consume enough calories to offset energy expenditure, otherwise they’ll get sick, stressed, and less fit. Try eating several times a day, including nutrient-rich supplements like energy bars that are easier to digest before or during a workout.(5) Most sports scientists advise to spread protein throughout the day, too.6: Am I Enjoying It?So you’re eating properly and working out on-schedule… but you’re still stuck in a training rut. Have you stopped to ask yourself: “Am I actually enjoying this?”Turning an enjoyable activity into a task takes all the fun out of it. Like, turning your relaxing daily run into a never-ending chore to go faster or longer.We may also be lacking personal trust. We may be worried about the “slippery slope” if we miss a workout or over-eat. Sometimes, self-confidence and self-mastery are confused with deprivation and control.When a plateau does occur, it can lead to self-doubt. A sports plateau has a negative and significant effect on exercise satisfaction and exercise commitment.(6)Anxiety around performance– success or failure– can be the reason behind performance plateaus. Acceptance and forgiveness can help an athlete move past a plateau. Keeping exercise fun and entertaining ensures that you’ll keep coming back for more.Three Simple Tips to Overcoming a Performance PlateauYou may find that, once you’ve taken time to listen to your mind and body, your plateau naturally fades away. But if you’re still struggling to move on, try these three simple tips.Shake it up with apps. If you’re a runner, mix it by downloading the adidas Training app. If you’re focused on strength or mobility training, download the adidas Running app. These apps will provide training tips for all fitness levels (beginner to advanced). The apps can help you to:Set new goals and edit old ones. Goals can be short- or long-term.Connect with adidas Runners groups in your area. Meet new workout buddies and learn new running routes.Challenge and inspire you with virtual races and challenges.Hire a personal trainer or take group fitness classes. Personal trainers and fitness instructors will kindly critique your form and exercise function. They will give you new workouts and ensure that you stay accountable to your reps and frequency. A fitness professional’s job is to motivate and encourage you.Work with a nutritionist or dietician. Trying to make your own nutrition plan can be frustrating, intimidating, and downright irritating. So, hire a trained professional. They can help you with gentle nutrition that serves your training needs. Many healthcare plans include nutritionists and dieticians. ConclusionTrying to push past a plateau is like trying to break down a locked door. Instead, listen and feel what the plateau is saying about your lifestyle. A plateau in performance tells you something much larger than the goals you’re NOT achieving. It shows that something in your training plan or lifestyle requires adjustment. The issue could be unrelated to your fitness, like sleep or food or time to relax. Use a workout plateau to learn about what your body and mind really need. Feel free to scale back your exercise, to forget about the goal for a while. Try new ways of living. You might find that when you return with a fresh plan and fresh mindset, you’ll go further than you ever imagined!*** More

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    Walking, Jogging, Running: Expert Advice and Progression Plans

    For most people, the hardest part of any new hobby, habit, or lifestyle change is just getting started. Progressing from walking to running is no exception. Even expert running coaches like Sascha Wingenfeld understand the trepidation of starting a new running regimen. He urges would-be runners to “keep in mind that the first step is always the hardest!” He advises folks to think of running as a ‘new start.’ New runners should try being non-judgmental and curious about the habituation process. “A few guidelines can help you avoid beginner’s mistakes and thus achieve your running goals,” says Sascha. Read on to see Sascha’s advice. Plus, see our workout plans for motivation, endurance and speed, or download a blank template and create your own!Here are the five best tips for running to walk, plus our training plans:Run, Walk, Run: Interval TrainingIf it’s not possible to run the whole distance right from the beginning, then run and walk. Start off by breaking a run up into short intervals of running and walking. Stick to the training plan’s miles, time, and intensity, but feel free to intercept particularly hard workouts with walk breaks.“This way you reduce the overall intensity and minimize the orthopedic stress of a running session,” explains Sascha. As fitness levels increase, lengthen the running parts and shorten the walking breaks. This basic form of interval training is especially beneficial for beginning runners.Examples of run, walk, jog sets:Workout: alternate between 3 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 20- 25 minWorkout: alternate between 4 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 30 minWorkout: alternate between 5 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 30 minWorkout: alternate between 5 min jogging + 1 min walking for a total of 30-40 minWorkout: alternate between 3-5-8-5-3 min jogging + 3 min walking for a total of 40 minWorkout: alternate between 5-8 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 40-45 minWorkout: alternate between 8 min jogging + 3 min walking for a total of 45 minWorkout: alternate between 10 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 45 minWalking to Running: Take It EasyMany beginning runners tend to start off too fast because of the initial excitement. This often results in many first attempts ending after a few hundred meters. Plus, this can lead to overtraining and fatigue, which usually puts a premature end to any running ambitions. The reason for this is quite simple: People tend to lose interest pretty quickly when things aren’t fun. Therefore, Sascha recommends starting off very easy: “Your body needs time and rest to get used to the new stresses and strains of running. Always choose a pace where you can carry on a conversation without gasping for breath. It may seem too easy and relaxed to you at first, but with time, the intensity will add up.” Increasing your training slowly and giving your body time to adapt to the new demands will lead to long-term success, improved fitness, and better running technique.Leave Room for ImprovementHow to improve running pace and intervals? Make sure to start off with very short distances. Still have energy afterwards? No problem. Just increase the distance a little next session. Don’t overdo it: the best training plans start slow. At first, the body needs time to adapt to the new training stimuli. The heart, muscles, metabolism and circulation have to get used to the new workload. Give the body the time it needs and plan training so that rest and work alternate. Variety Is The Spice of FitnessThere is more to training than running. Especially when starting out, it is a good idea to increase fitness and avoid injury through running cross training. Mixing up exercise reinforces cardiovascular and muscular endurance. And, different styles of exercise balance out the muscular and orthopedic stresses of running. Try these bodyweight exercises or download the adidas Training app for guided workouts.Follow A Training PlanThe exact training plan for a runner really depends on their goals. Here, we’ve laid out a few different walk-to-run programs for brand-new runners and those who’ve returned to running. Give the plans a try, then use other advice on the adidas Runtastic blog to elevate your goals and running form. You can also create your own plan by downloading our training plan template. PS: Some of these plans include yoga. Here’s a blog listing some great yoga poses for runners.How to use the following plansIdentify your fitness goalsFind the plan that best fits your goalsSave, print, or download the image so that you can use it with ease!Or, download your own blank training plan. Set your own goals, create a weekly workout schedule, and stick to it!Share your workout schedule with us! Take a picture and tag @adidasruntastic on Instagram. Then, be sure to track and share your progress on the adidas Running app.Just Keep RunningBuild EnduranceSpeed Up!Or, create your own run walk training plan!Training Plan TemplateSascha’s Bottom LineThe first step out the door is always the hardest. Perfection is not the goal; enjoyment and fitness are! Remember that running is genetically viable for all humans. It might not be pretty at first, but grace will come! Just keep running. *** More