8 Essential Strength Training Exercises For Runners

Strength exercises are important to create good running form, avoid injury, and become a more balanced and efficient runner.

1. The Plank - Improves Core Strength

 

It’s really important to have a strong core in running!!

 

The main benefit of core strength for runners is increased stabilisation in the torso. Your core muscles (the chest, back, abs, and obliques) keep your torso upright when you run, and reduce “wobbling” when moving your arms & legs.

 

When running, core strength allows the pelvis, hips, and lower back to work together more smoothly so you run more efficiently.

 

One of the best exercises to work your core muscles is the ‘Plank’. This is an exercise you can do anywhere.  Play the 'You Tube' link for a demonstration of the Plank exercise. Start by holding the position for 10 seconds and build up slowly as your core becomes stronger.

 

2. Lunges

Main Muscles Worked: Glutes, Hamstrings & Quadriceps

 

Stand with legs parallel, feet hip-distance apart.

 

Step your right leg forward and move onto the ball of your left foot. Lower your left knee toward the floor until you reach a 90-degree angle in both of your legs. Make sure your front knee does not extend over the foot.

 

Lower from your center without leaning forward or backward. Rise upward to the starting position as you straighten your legs.

 

Try to do 10 Reps on each leg and repeat.

3. Squats

Main Muscles Worked: Hips, Glutes, Hamstrings & Quadriceps

 

Stand with legs parallel, feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.

 

Sit back as if you're sitting in a chair, keep your chin parallel with the floor and go as low as you can go.  Knees must not extend over the feet.

 

Bring your arms in front of you for balance. Be careful not to lean forward as you lower.

 

Push through your heels as you return to standing

 

Try to do 10 Reps, 2 Sets

4. Calf Raises

Main Muscles Worked: Calfs

 

Stand with legs parallel, feet hip-distance apart. Slowly rise onto the balls of both feet, hold for the count of 2 and then lower down to the floor.

 

To add more of a challenge you can hold a dumbell in each hand.

 

Try to do 10 Reps, 2 Sets

5. Bicep Curls

Main Muscles Worked: Biceps

 

Sit in a chair and hold a weight in one hand.

 

Keeping your back straight, lean forward from the waist and rest your elbow on the same leg, just above your knee.

 

Flex your right elbow and slowly lift the weight toward your shoulder. Maintain a fist-distance to your body at the top of the movement and then lower your arm down. Complete the reps on one side, then switch.

 

Try to do 10 Reps, 2 Sets

6. Seated Row

Main Muscles Worked: Shoulder and Back Muscles

 

Sit in a chair, keeping your back straight, lean forward from the waist.

 

Push your arms out straight careful not to lock your elbow.

 

Slowly flex both elbows and raise them behind you, toward your back. Hold for a moment and feel the squeeze in your back. Push your arms back out in front of you and repeat.

 

Lower your arms, keeping the weights in a straight line back to the start.

 

For an additional challenge hold a weight in each hand making sure you keep the weights in a straight line - slow and controlled.

 

Try to do 10 Reps, 2 Sets

7. Tricep Dips

Main Muscles Worked: Chest, Triceps & Shoulders

 

Sit on the edge of a chair, place your hands either side of you.

 

Gently lower yourself of the chair keeping your legs at a 90 degree angle.  Go as low as you can slowly and controlled, straighten your arms keeping elblows soft and repeat. 

 

As you straighen your arms try not too place too much pressure into your feet as you want your arms to be doing the work!

 

Try to do 10 Reps, 2 Sets

8. Push Ups

Main Muscles Worked: Chest, Arms, Shoulders, Triceps Back & Neck

 

Level 1

Knees on the floor, arms are straight and slightly wider than shoulder distance.  Keep your back flat, not arched and lead with your chest not your head. 

 

Lower slowly and push back up to starting position.

 

Try to do 5-8 reps, 2 sets

 

Level 2

Come up on your toes, arms are straight slightly wider than shoulder width apart. 

 

Keep your back flat and lead with your chest not your head.

 

Lower slowly and push back up to starting position.

 

Try to do 5-8 Reps, 2 Sets

 

 

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