10 Quick Strength Training Exercises for Runners
While running is a great form of cardio, it shouldn’t be the only form of exercise one does. It’s important to complement a running regimen with strength training. As a runner, you need a strong lower body and a solid core to reduce your risk of injuries during your run and improve your performance. While running improves your cardiovascular health and endurance, it falls short when it comes to building strength.
Adding a strength training workout to your training brings tremendous benefits to your run and will help prevent injury by improving:
- range of motion
Here are ten quick and simple exercises that could increase your strength levels and improve your running performance.
These exercises can all be completed in the time it takes to brush your teeth!
1. Alternating Lateral Lunges
From a standing position, take a big step to your right and descent into a lunge. Make sure to keep the chest lifted, push the hips back, keep the toe pointed forward and do not allow the knee to go past the toe. Push off the heel to return to standing and then repeat on the opposite side.
The lateral lunge is an incredible exercise because it allows you to work in a different plane of motion than you typically work in most exercises.
From a prone position, lift into a cobra position, with your palms facing out and thumbs rotated toward the ceiling. Contract the glutes and brace the core, and keep the chest lifted. The cobra opens the chest, increases lung capacity and stimulates the kidneys and the adrenals.
This high-intensity exercise will work your core as you hold your body in a plank-like position.
3. Single Leg Glute Bridge
In a supine position with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, lift one leg into the air. Push through the planted heel and press the hips into the air, extending at the hips not at the back. Hold for 3 seconds before changing legs. Squeeze those glutes!
Glute activation exercise: master this one for a stronger, healthier body.
4. Push Up
You don’t need to join the Army to enjoy the many benefits of doing a proper push up. In a high plank position, brace the core and glutes and descent into your push up slowly, allowing the elbows to flare out to the sides. Once they hit 90 degrees, push back into high plank.
5. Reverse Lunge with a Twist
From a standing position, take a large step back with your right leg into a lunge, allowing both knees to bend to 90 degrees. As you lunge, reach both hands toward your left (front) leg. Explosively push back to standing and switch sides. This low-intensity exercise strengthens your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.
6. Rotating Plank
In a forearm plank position, rotate into a side plank, bringing the top elbow back, contracting the upper back. Slowly rotate back to plank and then rotate to the opposite side plank.
This sculpting plank variation targets your waistline by calling on your obliques.
7. Hip Raises
Lie on your back with your legs bent and feed planted firmly on the floor. Slowly lift your glutes and then your lower and mid back off the ground and hold at the top for a couple of seconds. Picture each vertebrae in your spine coming off the floor, one at a time. Slowly come back down to the starting position. When you feel ready, lift one foot off the ground so that only one leg is carrying your weight.
It might be tempting to overlook a quick strength exercise that seems more fitting for a yoga studio than a weight room. However, in the case of the hip raise, you’d be making a big mistake.
8. Step Up
Using the stairs in your home or an aerobics step, step up with your right foot and bring your left knee up to hip height. Then step down with your left foot and step up again with your right. Complete 10-15 reps on the right side and switch to the left. The higher the step, the better workout for your glutes. You can also hold dumbbells to make this more challenging.
Put your conventional leg exercises aside and try the step up for an intense strength training workout.
9. Step Down
Using the stairs in your home or a low aerobics step, stand on top of the step and then step down with your right foot. Bring it back up to meet the left. Continue on the right side until you’ve completed 15 reps and then move to the left foot. You can also hold dumbbells for an extra challenge.
Step down for stronger, healthier knees.
10. Lower leg lift
Lie on your right side with your head resting in your right palm. Let your right leg extend out straight, with your left left bent and your left foot resting in front of your right thigh. Lift your right leg and do 15 pulses. Rest and repeat on the same leg. Then switch to the left side.
Lower leg lift – the uber exercise to flatten your belly and carve out a sharp v-cut.