5 Crucial Strength Exercises Every Runner Should Do

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To be able to run faster and have enough energy to run longer, you also need to do some strength training besides running. Apart from helping you build strength and increase speed, strength training will prevent injuries and make your running sessions more efficient. What a runner should work on is body balance, so targeting the muscles which will improve that balance is crucial. A regular workout at the gym, such as body builders do, won’t be good for a runner.

Here are the exercises that are good and beneficial for your muscles and will help your running become more effective:

1. Planks

This is an exercise that will help you work on your entire body (most of all on the core, lower back and shoulders), and although it looks simple, it is not. It is an exercise during which you are supposed to stay in a difficult position for some period of time. This is done with your abs tightly contracted, your body weight supported by your elbows and toes and with legs slightly separated to maintain balance. It is important to keep your back straight. Start off by doing this for 1 minute, with 3 to 5 repetitions. As your strength builds up, increase the amount of time spent in this position.

2. Back Extensions


For this exercise you will need a stability ball. Lie down on it and spread your legs to achieve balance. Bend your elbows so that your hands slightly touch the ground. When the balance is established, the exercise can begin. While lifting your torso to the point where your body is in a straight line, firmly squeeze your bottom, take your hands off the floor and put them over your head. Stay in this position for 2 seconds and then return to the first position. Repeat this 10-12 times. If you don’t have a stability ball, you can do a modified version of this exercise with your torso pressed to the ground and your thighs and arms raised up.

3. Squatting with Kettlebell Overhead

Take the kettlebell with both hands and put it in front of your chest, while holding your feet in alignment with your hips. Then put your hips a little backwards and do a squat to the point where your thighs are parallel with the floor. Than lift the kettlebell over your head while you are rising from the squat position to the stand-up-straight, start position. Again, do this exercise with 10-12 repetitions during a session.

4. Stability Ball Hip Extension

Lie down with your back pressed to the floor and put your calves onto the ball. Then spread your arms beside your body (like spread wings) to achieve the best possible balance. Lift your hips until your entire body, from the shoulders to the knees, is aligned. Use your legs and bend the knees to roll the ball towards your hips without disrupting the achieved body balance. Finally, you will pull the ball towards you with your heels. Repeat this move 6 to 8 times in one session. This exercise is excellent for strengthening your core and glutes, as well as hamstrings.

5. Overhead Lunge

Take weights into each hand (preferably dumbbells) and raise them above you without bending your shoulders. Then make a step forward with one leg and go down until your knee is bent by 90 degrees. Then, if you have enough room you can simply continue forward and do the same with the other leg, or if you are in a confined space return to the start position and repeat the exercise with the other leg. Repeat this 6 to 8 times for each leg. This exercise is good for building strong muscles in the area of quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, core and shoulders. This is one of the favorite exercises among all athletes, and it is particularly good for runners because with strong legs runners become more able to run longer and faster.