12 Running Specific Strength Training Exercises
Why Strength Exercises Are Beneficial For Runners
Millions of people run each year for exercise, competitive races, and an overall sense of mental and physical wellbeing. While running is an excellent form of aerobic activity, it does have its limitations. Many runners hit plateaus and can’t seem to reach their speed, endurance, or distance goals. That’s why strength exercises are so beneficial for runners.
Strength exercises can improve a runner’s speed, posture, and endurance. With regular strength training, runners can build muscle, reduce the risk of injury, and boost their overall performance. Additionally, incorporating regular strength training into a workout routine will help improve flexibility. This can reduce fatigue during a run and make running more enjoyable overall.
Strength exercises will help runners build their muscles, which in turn will help boost their speed. Stronger legs muscles, such as the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, help runners to push off the ground more forcefully and quickly. By training these muscles, runners can create more power, which will make running feel easier overall.
In addition to speed, strength exercises can help to improve a runner’s posture. Many runners suffer from poor posture and can even develop aches and pains that end up affecting their overall performance. Strength training exercises such as squats, push-ups, and single-leg exercises can all help to improve posture and make running much more comfortable.
Finally, strength exercises can help a runner’s endurance, allowing them to run longer distances without feeling fatigued. Endurance is essential for any long-distance runner, and strength exercises can give them the extra strength and stamina they need to reach their goals. Strength exercises such as explosive jumps and weighted carries will help runners build the endurance they need to reach their desired distance goals.
Overall, strength exercises can be incredibly beneficial for any runner. With regular strength training, runners can increase their muscle strength, improve their posture, and build their endurance. All of these factors can contribute to a more comfortable and enjoyable running experience. So if you want to become a better runner, make sure to incorporate regular strength training into your workout routine.
12 Running Specific Strength Training Exercises
Strength training is essential for runners of all abilities who want to stay healthy and improve performance. The right type of strength exercises will improve running economy, help you prevent injuries, and enable you to push past plateaus. Here are 12 running-specific strength exercises to add to your regimen.
The hip hinge is one of the most important strength exercises for runners. It strengthens muscles in the hips and lower back, which are essential for stabilising your stride. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend at the waist to lower your torso until it’s parallel to the floor. Hold for a count of two and then slowly return to the starting position.
The clamshell strengthens your hip abductors, which are critical for stabilising your body and pushing off on both sides as you run. To perform this exercise, lie on one side and bend both of your knees in a pillow-like position. Keeping your feet together, raise your top knee up and away from your bottom knee. Hold for two to five seconds and then slowly lower your top knee.
Squats are the best exercise for strengthening the glutes and legs, which are important for powering forward through your stride. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder- width apart and bend your knees and hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your torso upright and your spine neutral as you lower. Hold for two to five seconds and then slowly raise back up.
Strong calf muscles are essential for propulsion, so it’s important to incorporate calf raises into your strength training routine. To perform this exercise, stand on a step or platform and rise up onto your toes, pause for a moment, and then lower yourself down. For an extra challenge, try single-leg calf raises.
Planks strengthen the core muscles, helping you maintain proper posture and form when running. To perform this exercise, lie on your stomach and bring your elbows up under your shoulders. Hold your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your abdominal and lower back muscles. Hold for 30-60 seconds, or longer if you can.
Banded pulldowns are a great exercise for strengthening the upper back, which is important for improving your posture and keeping your arms swinging even when fatigued. To perform this exercise, tie a resistance band to an overhead object and hold the handles in both hands. With your palms facing each other, pull the band down as far as you can and hold for two to five seconds.
Lateral walks are a great way to work the muscles on the sides of your hips and thighs, which help stabilise your stride and allow for a proper push-off. To perform this exercise, loop a resistance band around both ankles and then side- step for 10-15 steps in each direction.
Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squats
Rear-foot-elevated split squats are great for strengthening quads, hamstrings, and glutes as well as improving balance and stability. To perform this exercise, stand in a split stance with one foot on a step behind you. Lower yourself down until your back knee almost touches the ground and then straighten both legs to return to the starting position.
Single-leg deadlifts are a great exercise for improving balance and strengthening the glutes and hamstrings, which play a major role in running gait. To perform this exercise, stand on one leg with the opposite leg slightly bent out in front of you. Hinge at the hip and reach down to the ground, keeping your back flat and your knee slightly bent.
Jump squats are an explosive exercise that strengthen your calf muscles and glutes, both of which are important for powering forward through your stride. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder- width apart and squat down until your hips are parallel to the ground. Jump up and return to the starting position.
Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine ball slams are a great explosive exercise that works your back, core, and shoulder muscles, all of which are essential for running. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a medicine ball overhead. Slam the ball onto the floor and catch it on the way back up.
The Y-raise is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles in the upper back and shoulders, which help you maintain proper running form. To perform this exercise, lie on your stomach with your arms out to the sides in a Y-shape. Raise both of your arms up at the same time until they are parallel to the floor. Hold for two to five seconds and then slowly lower your arms.
How Often Should A Runner Do Strength Exercises
The answer to this question hinges on several factors, such as your experience, intensity of your runs, and the types of exercises you are doing. Generally speaking, runners should aim to do some type of strength-training exercises two to three times per week.
For beginner runners, or those just getting started, it is important to be mindful of form, technique, and scheduling. It is best to start with just one or two strength- training sessions per week, focusing on exercises that target the entire body. This gives the body time to get used to the exercises, while allowing the muscles to recover so they can progress.
For experienced and competitive runners, strength training sessions should be tailored to match their running schedule. Regular strength sessions should generally take place on days off of running or on easy-run days. However, it is important to have a well-rounded schedule that includes exercises targeting the core, glutes, and hamstrings. This will help improve overall running performance and help reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries.
Finally, it is important to listen to your body and give yourself ample time to rest and recover between workouts. Some exercises—such as plyometrics and high-intensity folding—should also be done sparingly to avoid overtraining.
In conclusion, most runners should aim to do two to three strength-training sessions per week. This should include a balance of bodyweight exercises, resistance training, and core exercises. Of course, it is important to listen to your body and tailor your exercise routine to match your individual needs.