Running Strong


If you live in Manhattan, Dr. Jordan Metzl is one of those doctors everyone seems to know. If you, or your kids, have had a sports injury, chances are they’ve seen Dr. Metzl or been advised to at least. That’s how I know him myself. A nationally recognized physician, who practices at the acclaimed Hospital for Special Surgery, Dr. Metzl is selected annually by New York Magazine as one of New York City’s top sports medicine doctors. He is equally well known as a competive runner and tri-athlete, with 32 marathons and 12 Ironmans under his belt. For those who don’t know what an Ironman is, it’s a mega triathlon that consists of a 2.2 mile open water swim, a 112 mile bike ride and THEN a 26.2 marathon.

Dr. Metzl now adds fitness instructor to his roles as sports doctor and athlete, and it is here that he acts as a liason between the two. His workout program “Ironstrength”, which he teaches in various locations around the city twice a month, is now available on DVD, and new book Running Strong, are preventive guides to the sports injuries he sees both as a doctor and athlete himself. Ironstrength started as a class of 20 people and now has an invite list of about 7000. It’s different everytime and in a variety of locations. The class is kind of like a flash mob that descends upon a particular location and disappears when the workout is done.

As an athlete, there is nothing worse than being sidelined by an injury, which Dr. Metzl knows first hand. A torn ACL in college took him off the playing field, and it was the knowledge he gained rehabing that injury with “functional strength training” that he shares with his patients, class participants and readers. Both the Ironstrength workouts and Running Strong are guides to functional strength training designed to keep our bodies healthy and injury free. These are full body exercises that mimic movements performed in everyday life — not lying on your back and pushing heavy weights. Plyometrics and functional strength exercises like jump squats, twisting lunges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, planks and burpees are go to favorites in the Ironstrength workouts. They are total body moves for total body strength.


Running Strong is geared towards all levels of runners, from the those just getting out on the road, to competitive athletes looking to increase their speed and mileage. Accompanying videos of the various exercises prescribed are included, along with “virtual visits” to Dr. Metzls office where he explains the anatomy of an injury, how to rehab it and prevent it from recurring. These videos can be accessed via a link in the e-book and with a smart phone app in the printed edition.

These exercises and the Ironstrength workout are not easy. Says Dr. Metzl, “I want you to work hard and set the bar high for each exercise. But I also want you to approach it from your leval of fitness. If you need to do fewer reps fine. Adjust the workout to your leval of fitness and build as you get stronger.” Each exercise can be modified as well for those wanting a more or less strenuous workout.

As much Dr. Metzl likes seeing patients, his goal is to keep us out of his office by building strength in those muscles needed to support the rigorous activities like running that we rely on our bodies to perform. His next objective is teaching other healthcare professionals and doctors how to prescribe exercise for their patients as well.