Strength training isn’t just for weightlifters or avid gym goers. Runners can benefit from weight training by actively preventing injuries, which will also make runners faster, more robust and more efficient.
However, runners need different strength training programs than the average gym aficionado. Instead of pushing large weights away from the body with exercise routines like leg extensions, bicep curls and bench presses, runners can benefit from targeting key muscle groups that keep them balanced and improve endurance during their running routines.
If runners are seeking strength training exercises that fit into their routine, these exercises take a half hour to complete and can be done twice throughout the training week.
Working core muscles can help with a strong foundation. A plank targets muscle groups, including the abs, shoulders and back.
The exercise is a classic core workout for runners because it focuses on almost every muscle in the core, helping to keep the body suspended. Try a standard plank on the forearms, or work up to plank variations like plank walk-ups.
Targeting the hips, lower back and glutes, the Glute Bridge is a crucial exercise for keeping the glutes and lower back muscles strong. Once the two-legged version of the glue is perfected, try out the one-legged version to help stretch the hips and build endurance in the back muscles.
Abs and obliques are two areas that will help improve overall balance and support the spine when regularly exercising with Russian twists. Sit on the floor with your legs off the ground, and twist the torso from side to side. A medicine ball or small weight will offer more resistance to improving these areas.
Leg workouts are obviously also a huge part of running, but utilizing workouts that help make the legs leaner and stronger will increase power and endurance.
Moves like squats and lunges are helpful leg workouts for runners because they target most of the lower body’s major (and minor) muscles during one exercise. You can also increase the intensity by doing repetitions faster or increase the difficulty with one-leg variations to focus on improving balance.
Whether the exercise is squats, deadlifts or wall sits, great leg workouts will help improve speed, endurance and power during runs:
Squats are an essential and effective workout focusing on every muscle in the legs. Start by standing with the feet hip-width apart, and then drop the hips back like sitting in a chair. Keep the knees from moving past the toes.
Similar to many of these workouts, the difficulty of squats can be increased by quicker repetitions, adding more weight or using only one leg.
Looking to target the back, core, and hamstrings?
Single-leg deadlifts also activate most of the muscles in the legs and core, making this exercise an efficient part of a full-body workout routine. First, stand with the feet hip-width apart. Next, lift one leg behind the body as the upper part hinges forward at the hip. Keep the hip, leg, head, and shoulders straight when lowering the upper body until it’s parallel with the floor. Return to standing and repeat with the other leg.
Working the glutes, hamstrings, and core should be a primary focus of a runner’s workout routine.
That’s why it’s important to incorporate lunges that challenge balance while also working the big muscles in the legs, like the glutes and hamstrings. Repeating these reverse lunges works the same muscles as regular lunges but reduces the impact on the joints.
As always with leg exercises, begin by standing with the feet shoulder-width apart. Step the foot back and drop the hips back until the thigh of your planted leg is parallel to the floor. Push forward with the back leg and return to standing. Repeat on the other leg.
These exercises are crucial for strengthening muscles and joints and can also improve racing times and prevent the risk of injury when working those body parts. If runners want to perform to their full potential, they must use these exercises as a comprehensive plan for their running goals.