We all know that if you want to become a better runner you need to RUN! But without a doubt, proper strength training will enhance your running technique and performance.

Take a look at these top 6 strength exercises for runners and start improving!

1. Walking Lunges: Walking lunges activate the large muscle groups of the lower body, specifically the gluteal muscles. Targeting these muscles will enhance running power and help strengthen the muscles associated with running hills.

Advanced Tip: Try holding an appropriate weighted barbell above your head while lunging as this will enhance core activation.

2. Squats: Once again…squats are great for lower body muscle activation. The heavy breathing involved with using these large muscle groups will help develop strong intercostal muscles, which are the muscles in between your ribs that aid in breathing!

Advanced Tip: With good form…activate the glutes by breaking a 90 degree angle by squatting low enough so your hips sink slightly lower than your knees. Do not allow your knees to extend past your toes.

3. Lat Pull Downs: This is a great exercise to increase strength in your large back muscles.This will promote better running posture and performance.

Advanced Tip:Pull down in front of your body, down to your chest. Never pull down behind the neck as this is bad for your cervical vertebrae.

4. Low Back Hyper-extensions: As with the pull downs…this is a great exercise to develop strength in your lower back muscles that help maintain an upright posture.

Advanced Tip: Don’t do too many reps in one workout. Over-training these muscles is easy to do and will cause unwanted pain in the days to follow. Keep reps in the range of 20-30 reps per workout.

5. Plank: This is a great exercise for developing the muscles associated with stabilizing the pelvis while running.

Advanced Tip: Keep your hips square to the floor and your forearms shoulder width apart throughout the exercise.

6. Prone Hamstring Curls: This exercise maintains a proper ratio of strength between your quads and hamstrings. This will help prevent knee and back injuries.

Advanced Tip: Try pointing your toes throughout the movement to enhance calf muscle activation.

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