If you are a runner, you know you should be strength training.
Now be honest, do you actually strength train consistently?
I know how easy it is to forget about strength training. Believe me, I get it. We are runners, we want to run ALL the miles.
It’s very true that you need to run to make you a stronger and faster runner. That’s a fact. The more your run, the better you become at it. But when you run all the miles, you need all the strength to keep your body running injury free. You may have legs of steel from doing hill repeats or 800s on the track, but your WHOLE body needs strength training to combat the repetitive stress you do with each run.
You don’t need fancy gym equipment to strength train. It most certainly makes it more interesting, but it’s not necessary.
If you aren’t strength training regularly right now or have no idea where to start, these 6 essential strength training exercises for runners are a good place to start. They are simple, basic, bodyweight moves that can be done anywhere. No equipment or gym membership needed.
The squat is a basic move that everyone, runner or not, can benefit from. It strengthens all the major muscles in the legs from glutes, quads, hips and hamstrings. Once you have the basic move mastered, progress to single leg squats to mimic the running motion.
A strong core is the foundation of a strong runner. Planks are a basic move that hits the core. There are many variations of plank – forearm plank, side plank, shoulder taps, plank ups and downs, etc.
Lunges strengthen the quads, hamstrings and glutes. There are tons of variations (front, traveling lunges, reverse, lateral). Mix it up to move the body in the different planes.
You may think a runner doesn’t need to worry about upper body strength. Not true! Upper body strength will help power you through the last miles of a marathon when fatigue hits. And you’ll need that arm strength to pump your arms up a big hill.
Single leg deadlifts
Running requires powerful glutes. The single leg deadlift isolates the glute in addition to the hamstrings. Doing the exercise on one leg, helps build balance and coordination, two things runners need more of.
The ultimate glute strengthener is the bridge. Strong glutes keep your pelvis level and steady. It propels your leg up and forward. It’s your powerhouse. A lot of runners (myself included) are quad dominant. A basic glute bridge fires up the glutes. I like to do this exercise before a run to activate the glutes and let them know I need them on my run. Progress this exercise to single leg to make it more difficult.
If you need some workout ideas, here are 6 different workouts that include the essential strength training exercises every runner should be doing.
Do you strength train?
What’s your favorite strength training exercise?
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