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Full Body Strength Training Exercises for Runners


What strength exercises should runners do?


As a runner, we need to focus on creating stronger hips, glutes and core exercise stabilizers for injury free running. This is an easy way to incorporate a full body workout that will enhance our running form and strength. Performing these basics runners’ strength exercises will strengthen our whole body and core muscles.


Does lifting weights help with running?


Running requires lots of balance and stability. Constantly lifting weight from one side of the body to the other requires so many muscles to power up at once. That’s why it does burns so many calories. For runners who refuse to do any cross training, strength exercises, often end up injured.

Running might not engage and activate those muscles.

Muscles need to be activated, strengthened and engaged, otherwise they’re just along for the run. We really need to activate and engage some muscles that will support our run and running form to avoid injuries, especially activating our glutes and core, which are turned off from sitting for many hours.


When is it the best time to strength train for distance runners?


Performing some good pre-run dynamic warm up to activate our glutes and legs, or even our core is crucial, each move activates a different muscle group, which will help support a good running form. And to do some full body workouts 3-4 times/week will make our body muscles much more stabilized and strong. We can focus on some good basic exercises for runners.


Runners Full Body Workout


We should perform each exercise for 45-60 secs. with 15 secs. rest between. And we need to also focus on a good form which is key to perform the exercise properly.

Rest 1-2 minutes and repeat the entire circuit 2-3 times.

Beginners can do the basic exercises with no weight. If you’re more comfortable with weights you can add 3-5kg to the lunge, squat, and marching bridge. It’s best to add this into our weekly training plan 1-2 times/week.


Good Basic Runners’ Exercises


1. Plank Knee Tuck


Which muscles it strengthens:

  • Hip flexors

  • Rectus abdominis (core)

Why it’s important:

Good running form is not just about pushing off the ground. That’s only half of it. The other half is strong hip flexors that can pull the knee up and forward. Not only does this help take stress off our lower leg, it helps to get a good mid foot strike. Having a strong and engaged core is crucial for this movement.


How to perform:

  • From a plank position, engage your core and pull one knee up to your chest as far as you can.

  • Focus on good stabilized plank form.


2. Reverse Lunge


Which muscles it strengthens:

  • Isolates the glutes and replicates the “push off” motion from running.

  • Will also work the quads.


Why it’s important:

If you want to get faster a more efficient stride and effective push off are key. But if you have weak glutes all the power to push off is going to come from below the knee. Do you frequently have tight calves, or tightness in the Achilles or bottom of the foot? You may need this move! The glute is a much larger muscle, so making it stronger will not only give you more power in your stride but take some stress off your lower legs.


How to perform:

  • Stand with feet hips distance apart.

  • Step back with your right foot into a lunge position, using your left glute and quad for most of the power.

  • Both knees should be at 90 degrees and back knee does not touch the ground.

  • Using your left glute/quad push off the ground to bring right leg forward. The front leg is doing the work in this move, not the back.


3. Triceps Lower Down / Push Up


Which muscles it strengthens:

  • Back muscles (lats)

  • Triceps


Why it’s important:

Your lats are responsible for pulling your arm backwards, like when you’re running. Strong back muscles are also important for good posture while running.


How to perform:

  • From a plank position, shift forward on your toes.

  • Bend the elbows, keeping them tucked tightly to the sides and lowering your body down. Elbows should be pointing backwards not to the sides.

  • If your elbows are bending to the sides try rotating your hand placement slightly so that pointed fingers are at 1 and 11 (on a clock) instead of straight ahead at 12. This will help to rotate the elbow joint.

  • Beginners lower down all the way to the ground, and use knees to help get back up to start position.

  • More advanced people lower almost to the ground and then using the triceps and back push back up to start position.


4. Squats to Side Leg Lift


Which muscles it strengthens:

  • Quads

  • Glute max

  • Glute med

  • Abductors


Why it’s important:

Glute med and smaller abductor muscles are important stabilizers that can keep your feet and legs from rotating inwards as you run. If your feet ever touch against each other while you’re running, especially when you’re tired, weak or unengaged abductors are the cause.


How to perform:

  • Stand with feet hips width apart and lower down into a squat.

  • Think of pushing the booty backwards instead of lowering your body forward down. This helps to engage the glutes.

  • Push back up into a standing position and at the top of the motion lift your left leg out to the side, squeezing the abductors as you lift.

  • Lower back down and go right into the next squat. Alternate, lifting your right leg on the next upward motion.


5. Marching bridge


Which muscles it strengthens:

  • Glute max

  • Hamstrings


Why it’s important:

Similar to the above two exercises that help isolate and activate glutes, this is another move that helps target those muscles in a slightly different way.


How to perform:


  • Lying face up with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.

  • Lift hips until torso forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Glutes will stay engaged the entire time.

  • Lift right foot off the ground and bring knee to chest without hips dipping or twisting.

  • Lower back down to the ground and repeat with left foot.


6. Lateral Lunge Toe Tap Which muscles it strengthens:

  • Glute max

  • Hamstrings

  • Quads

  • Adductors

  • Abductors

Why it’s important: Similar to the above three exercises that help isolate and activate glutes, quads, adductors, this is another move that helps target those muscles in a slightly different way with a different range of motion. How to perform:

  1. Plant both feet on the floor with arms open and straight. This is your starting position. Keeping your right foot on the floor, release your left foot and take a big step to your left. As you plant your foot on the floor, bend your left knee, ensuring that your right leg remains straight and touchdown with your right and your left arm extended.

  2. Extend your left knee and transfer your weight onto your right foot. Just as your weight returns to centre, lift your left foot up and across your body while using your right hand to reach across and touch your left ankle.

  3. Alternate sides.

Full Body Workout Video:


Perform Some Efficient Basic Exercises, Feel Stronger, Better Running Form, And Nice Great Run!