For Runners: 8 Awesome Strength Exercises & Workouts!

Strength training and running may seem as different as chalk and cheese. They are, in fact, compliments to one another. If you want to maximize your potential as a runner, be it sprinting or marathoning, getting stronger will make you better at it. In this article, we detail an eight exercise strength workout to improve your running times and your endurance. Read, For Runners: 8 Awesome Strength Exercises & Workouts!

About these Exercises & Workouts for Runners

Runners don’t need to hit the gym in order to build strength for running. In fact, these running exercises don’t involve any equipment at all. That means that you can incorporate your strength training into your overall running workout, even choosing to perform your workout in the field prior to your run.

Unlike the strength training that you may be familiar with, strength training for runners does not require heavy weight and low reps. If you are a sprinter, you will be more likely to need heavier weights than a marathoner, who will need more endurance. That comes from higher reps and lighter weights.

A Word on Nutrition

For runners, workouts should be complemented by a nutritious diet that emphasises high glycaemic carbs for energy, quality proteins for strength and muscle and healthy fats and oil for your joints. Some of the best foods for runners are:

Exercises & Workouts

1. Squat Pulses

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forward, with arms out in front of your body. Hinge at the hips to squat to parallel. From this position, start performing short squat pulses, coming up to a quarter squat position on each pulse. Perform 10 pulses and then return to the start position. That is one round.

2. Lunges & High Knees

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Position your hands in front of you at chest level. Now extend your left leg back to perform a lunge, with the knee almost touching the floor. Drive out of the lunge to bring the knee up in front of your body. That is one rep. Repeat all of your designated reps on one side and then repeat on the other side.

3. Donkey Kick

Position yourself on the floor on all fours. Keeping your spine in a neutral position drive your right knee slightly forward and then kick it back and up as high as you can. Complete all of your reps on one side before switching to the other.

4. Close-Grip Push Ups

Position yourself face down on an exercise mat with your hands about six inches apart. Rest on your knees with your legs together. The knees should be only slightly bent so that the thighs are angled about 20 degrees to the floor. Cross your feet. Start with your arms fully extended and then lower down to bring your torso to the floor. In the bottom position, your chest should be about an inch from the floor. Push through the chest to return to the start position.

5. Superman

Lie face down on an exercise mat with your body in an arched position so that your arms and feet are extended off the ground. Now arch up to full extension to bring your arms and feet up as high as possible. Lower and repeat.

6. Sumo Heel Raise Pulse

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forward, with arms out in front of your body. Hinge at the hips to drop down into a parallel squat. In this position, raise up onto your toes to bring your heels off the floor. Lower your heels back down and then repeat in a series of heel raise pulses. Perform ten pulses and then return to the start position. That is one round.

7. V Ups

Lie on an exercise mat on your back with legs extended and arms by your side. Now hinge at your hips to bring your straightened legs up until they are perpendicular with your torso. Straighten your arms up toward your legs. Now begin pulsing up toward your toes by contracting your abdominals. Bring your head up on each pulse.

8. Wall Sit

Stand with your back against a wall with your feet about 12 inches in front of it. Now drop down into a seated position with your thighs at a position that is parallel to the floor. Place your hands on the wall alongside you. Hold this position for a comfortable, pre-designated period of (15, 30 or 60) seconds

Putting it all Together

Complete your reps in a smooth rhythmic manner. Your rest between sets should be no more than 45-60 seconds.

  • Squat Pulses: 3 x 15 reps
  • Lunges & High Knees: 3 x 12 reps
  • Donkey Kick: 2 x 15 reps (each leg)
  • Close-Grip Push Ups: 2 x 10 reps
  • Superman: 2 x 12 reps
  • Sumo Heel Raise Pulse: 3 x 12 reps
  • V-Ups: 2 x 12 reps
  • Wall Sit: 2 x 45-60 seconds

Are you looking to start running or get back into it? Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter Instagram!

Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer Dawson is an experienced freelance writer who specializes in food and nutrition. Working in fitness marketing previously gave her a good feel for the industry and since going freelance she has been able to explore her preferred topic areas such as diet types, nutrition and food. Outside of work, Jen enjoys traveling, swimming and spending time with her young family.

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