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Runners, Try These Strength Training Exercises

If you’re a diehard runner then chances are that you run and don’t do much else. And while running is great for improving cardiovascular fitness and burning calories, adding some strength training to your regime alongside your daily runs is a great way to enhance and support what you already do.

As well as reducing the risk of injury, improving coordination and muscle activation, strength training has the added benefit of improving your overall running performance by making you more resilient to fatigue and making you a more efficient athlete. It can also help you increase your running times. When it comes to what exercises to tackle, look at those which provide good workouts for your legs of course, but also your core, which are needed to increase stabilisation in the area and provide better alignment of the pelvis, hips and lower back. Aim to include around 20 minutes of strength training exercises in your routine between 3-5 times a week and you should start to see your runs improve.

Mountain climbers

As well as helping to warm you up sufficiently, which is in itself a huge plus, mountain climbers are very effective at increasing core stability.

  1. Start by getting your body into a plank position, making sure your weight is evenly spread between your hands and your toes. Your hands should be shoulder width apart, your core engaged and your back flat.
  2. Pull your right knee to your chest, then quickly, switch your legs, bringing the left forward to your chest as you drive your right back.
  3. Continue for 15 reps, alternating legs as quickly and as smoothly as you can whilst keeping your form.

Reverse lunges

Working your core, hamstrings and glutes, reverse lunges are important for improving your overall stability and mobility which is essential for runners.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and engage your core.
  2. Step backwards with your right foot, ensuring you land on the ball of your foot with your heel off the ground.
  3. Keeping your hips tucked and not tilted and without pushing your butt out, bend both knees and sink into a lunge.
  4. Hold then drive through your left foot to bring yourself back up to standing back in your starting position.
  5. Repeat with the other leg, ensuring you complete 15 reps on each side.

Squats

Building powerful glutes is important for runners and squats are a great way to do so. If you want to push yourself, add weights to your squats.

  1. Stand up straight with your feet about hip width apart.
  2. Prepare for the movement by pulling your abdominal muscles in, then lower yourself down as if you’re sitting in an invisible chair. Drive your hips back but be careful not to stick your butt out too much as you go. Keep your thighs parallel to the floor and go as deep as is comfortable for your knees.
  3. Press into your feet as you straighten your legs, bringing yourself back up to standing.
  4. Repeat for 15 reps.

Glute Bridges

A great exercise to help strengthen your core and your glutes. For added effectiveness, add a resistance band.

  1. Lie on your back with feet flat against the floor, keeping your knees bent.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off of the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Pause then lower yourself back down to where you started.
  3. Repeat for 15 reps.

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