Regular strength training is essential for runners of any kind
07 Jun, 2019 • by Alex Hong • Running • Tips
When race preparation is planned to include phases of general strengthening, such as running-specific strengthening, running fitness can be maximized.
As a runner, I really know how easy it is to get caught up running and forget about other workouts my body needs. And I know I'm not alone: Many runners tend to spend so much time running that they neglect things like stretching and strength training. Once I started strength training regularly a year or so ago, it started to feel easier to work into my routine. But still—especially leading up to a race, it's really tempting to forgo other workouts to fit in lots of training runs.
The best strength exercises for runners have two characteristics: They prevent injuries by focusing on the specific needs of runners (hip and glute strength) and they are compound multi-joint movements like squats
If your goal is to be the best runner you can be, you will need to more than just run. Adding specific strength training exercises will help you become a faster, more efficient, injury-free runner. The best part is you can do this by completing the 30-minute workout below, with these essential strength exercise for runners, just twice a week!
Runners need to keep their ankles, knees and hips healthy by strengthening each joint. Split Squats are a great way to get the legs working independently. Set yourself up in an extended lunge position. Let your back knee drop down toward the ground while keeping your weight on the heel of your front foot. Maintain good posture as you press through that heel to come back to starting position.
These help build strength in your legs and contribute to overall power when running. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, core engaged, and a loaded barbell or a heavy body bar on your back just below your neck. Push hips back to lower down into a squat, keeping chest up. Drive heels into ground to rise back up to standing. Do 3 or 4 sets of 10 reps.
Squats strengthen your quads, glutes, hamstrings and core, all essential for great running form and protection from injury. Stand with legs hip-distance apart. Bend your knees and sit into the squat until you feel your glutes engage, slightly lower than 90 degrees, keeping your knees behind your toes. Return to standing. Keep your core engaged through the set.
Start on all fours. Lower onto your forearms with shoulders directly over elbows. Step feet back into a plank position. Draw your shoulders down and back—not hunched. Engage abdominal muscles tight to keep hips in line with shoulders so your body forms a long, straight line. Squeeze legs and glutes for support. Hold this position for 45 to 60 seconds. Gradually add time as your core gets stronger. Repeat for 3 to 5 reps.
Begin by stepping your right leg behind your left, so that the legs are crossed at the thighs and there are several feet of distance between each foot. Laterally hop and transfer your weight to the other leg, crossing your left leg behind the right. Repeat 20 times.
Lunges with Med Ball
We’ve all done them, but lunges are the perfect way to tie in the work we did earlier to now engage more powerful muscle groups into this workout. Especially if lunges aren’t part of your regular routine, keep an eye on how your knees come over your toes. You want to align them over the center of your ankle to minimize shin angle.
The push-up is a great exercise because it strengthens all the muscles in your upper body and core, which help a runner maintain good posture. Begin in a high plank position, bend your elbows and lower your body until it almost touches the floor. Press back up to your starting position. Keep your core engaged and your body in alignment (including your head and neck) throughout the movement.
Start out in a low squat position with your hands on the floor. Next, jump the feet back to a push-up position, complete one push-up, then immediately return the feet to the squat position. Leap up as high as possible before squatting and moving back into the push-up portion of the movement. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
If you suffer from shin splits it may be because you have weak anterior tibialis muscles. These are the long thin muscles that run along the shin. By strengthening this muscle you can dramatically decrease your risk of injury. Begin the exercise by leaning against a wall. Your feet should be placed around 12 inches away from the wall and only slightly apart. The next stage is to lift the front of your feet off the ground so that you are literally rocking on your heels. You should feel a tightening in your shins. Lower your feet and repeat 10 times.
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