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> 10 strength exercises for runners – run longer and better

10 strength exercises for runners – run longer and better

Publish date 15.11.2022

You can read it in 7 minut

10 strength exercises for runners – run longer and better

To be able to run long many miles you must have strength. By running you develop more and more leg muscles. However, this is not enough. You should make sure that your whole body is evenly strengthened. Therefore, you should also add exercises to your running workouts to strengthen your whole body. 

You want to improve your performance and become a better and better runner. Or maybe you want to compete in competitions? If so, in this article I will show you some strength exercises for runners. You will see which muscle parts you should focus on and how such exercises affect your body. Ok, well it’s time for running strength exercises

Strengthening exercises for runners – why do them? 

As I mentioned earlier, running alone is not enough to strengthen muscles and improve performance. You still need to add strengthening exercises. Here are some reasons why: 

  • Improve your running technique – so you will run more freely, improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury. 
  • Improve your endurance – you will be able to run longer and faster. Moreover, the additional load will not be a problem for you. 
  • Strengthen your body – so you will experience less fatigue while running. 
  • Strengthen your deep muscles – they are responsible for stabilization. Your run will be safer.
  • Stronger abdominal muscles – so you won’t experience back pain, which many runners struggle with and they often complain about it. 
  • Greater range of motion – you will be able to freely perform various movements. This will have a positive impact on the quality of your workouts. 
  • Prevent injuries – your muscles will be stronger, and thus reduce the risk of injury, which can occur unexpectedly. If you want to protect yourself from injury, add strengthening exercises for runners to your training. 

When not to do strengthening exercises for runners?

There are cases when you should not do strengthening exercises: 

  • pregnancy, 
  • joint problems, 
  • recent injury,
  • high blood pressure. 

No strengthening exercises – consequences

I have to tell you right away that without these exercises, it will be difficult for you to get a better result during training. Maybe it won’t be a big deal to you if you run recreationally, for yourself. However, if you are preparing to compete in a competition e.g. marathon, it may be a problem. That’s why you should add strengthening exercises for runners to your training. Without them, it will be very difficult for you to improve your time. 

You will also notice the muscular imbalance. When running, you primarily work your legs, so this is where your muscles will expand and strengthen the most. Unfortunately, other parts of the body lag. This should not be the case, it affects your running and your running technique, which will also be incorrect. Avoid this and familiarize yourself with some interesting and simple exercises.  

However, first, let me tell you which body parts you should focus on! 

What body parts to pay attention to during strengthening training 

Leg muscles are constantly working while running, so you should focus on other muscle parts. On which ones? 

  • arm muscles, 
  • abdominal muscles, 
  • back muscles, 
  • hip muscles,
  • foot muscles.

Some of these body parts are often neglected by runners. This is not good. For your strengthening training, choose exercises where each body part can “be in the spotlight” for a few minutes. 

Strength exercises for runners – how to train? 

Many runners want to increase muscle endurance without gaining weight. This can be accomplished. To succeed, perform about 15-20 repetitions of a given exercise. Moreover, focus your greatest attention on isometric exercises

Don’t know what isometric exercises are? They are exercises that involve tensing and relaxing specific muscle parts. Simple, right? 🙂 

10 strengthening exercises for runners 

1. Chin-up

Strengthens: latissimus dorsi muscle, trapezius muscle, abdominal rectus, abdominal external oblique muscle, biceps, shoulder girdle. 

Chin-ups are a very good exercise to strengthen shoulders, back, and arms. For some, chin-ups are a real horror show. You may even get flashbacks from school, where you had to hold onto a bar or pull up for a grade.

However, let me tell you that it is worth learning this exercise. You’re using your body weight here, so it won’t result in a big increase in muscle mass. 

How to perform this exercise? You’re probably thinking that it’s very simple. That’s true, but you need to know some important elements that will help you perform this exercise more effectively. 

If you can pull yourself up:

  • Stand under the bar. 
  • Then grab the bar with your hands with an underhand grip, which should be at the width of your shoulders (underhand grip: grab the bar with your hands under the bar so you can see your thumbs). 
  • Then move to an overhang. If the bar is low, turn your legs up. 
  • Then start pulling yourself up – bend your elbows more and more. 
  • You can say that the chin-up is successful if your chin is above the bar.
  • Then start slowly and gently lower yourself again to go to the overhang. 
  • Repeat the exercise. 

If you can’t pull yourself up:

  • Assume the same position as the previous pull-up. 
  • The only change is that you do not perform an overhang. Jump up to the bar. 
  • Pull yourself up, chin above the bar. 
  • Slowly begin to lower yourself. 

2. The candlestick 

Strengthens: Iliopsoas, rectus abdominis muscle. 

How to perform this exercise? 

  • Lie down on your back. 
  • Your arms should be straight along your torso. 
  • Then lift your legs and then your hips so that your body is in alignment. 
  • To help yourself hold this position, place your hands around your hips. 
  • Hold this position for about 2-5 seconds and then slowly lower your legs. 
  • Repeat the exercise. 

3. Wall squat 

Strengthens: gluteal muscles, quadriceps of the thigh. 

It should also be mentioned that this exercise improves knee stability. Therefore, it is worth adding it to your strengthening training. 

How to perform this exercise? 

  • Lean against the wall with your back – your whole back should be in contact with the wall.
  • Spread your legs at hip width. 
  • Place your arms along your torso. 
  • Start slowly sliding down until your knees are bent at a right angle. Stay in this position about 30 seconds.

As you have noticed in this exercise, you need to slide down along the wall. Therefore, the wall must be smooth. This will make it easy for you to slide down and nothing will stick to your back. 

4. Hip lift 

Strengthens: gluteus maximus muscle, ischiofemorale muscles. 

How to perform this exercise? 

  • Lie on your back, then bend your legs at the knees. 
  • Place your arms along your torso – straight. 
  • Then lift your hips – your knees should be bent at a right angle. 
  • During this exercise, your thighs, hips, and torso should form a single line. 
  • Lower your hips slowly – your buttocks should not touch the floor. 
  • Repeat the exercise. 

5. Bicycle crunches

Strengthens: abdominal muscles, quadriceps of the thigh. 

How to perform this exercise?

  • Lie down on the floor. 
  • Place your hands behind your ears at the back of your head. 
  • Lift and bend your legs at the knees – preferably at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Raise your head slightly and straighten your left leg, twisting your torso towards your right leg, which you should draw towards you. 
  • After that, return to the initial position and repeat this exercise on the other side. 

6. Plank

Strengthens: forearms, deep abdominal muscles, spinal muscles, glutes, and leg muscles. 

How to perform this exercise: 

  • Lie down on your stomach.
  • Lean on your forearms – so that they are shoulder-width apart. 
  • Raise your hips upwards – your back, legs, and hips should be in one line. 
  • You rest all your weight on your toes and forearms. 
  • What about your head? Leave it in its natural position – look down. 
  • Hold for about 20 seconds at first, then try to stay in this position for 60 seconds. 

7. Superman

Strengthens: erector spinae.

How to perform this exercise? 

  • Lie down on your stomach. 
  • Stretch your arms out in front of you, your head between your hands.
  • Legs joined together. 
  • Making an inhalation – lift your legs, arms, and head as high as you can. 
  • Stay in this position for a while, then return to the initial position. 

Look at the photo above. Doesn’t it look like Superman flying across the sky? The only thing missing is a red cape 😉 

8. Leg lifts 

Strengthens: hip flexor and hip extensor, quadriceps of the thigh. 

How to perform this exercise?

  • Lie on your back.
  • Raise one leg high. 
  • Slowly lower and repeat this exercise for the other leg. 

REMEMBER: Press the lumbar region against the floor. Thanks to that the exercise will be effective.

9. Flutter kicks 

Strengthens: spine, abdominal muscles, straight thigh muscle. 

How to perform this exercise?

  • Lie down on your back. 
  • Then raise your straight legs.
  • Start alternating lifting one leg and the other. 
  • You can lift alternating legs horizontally and vertically.

10. Chair/Bench dip

Strengthens: tricep muscles on the back of the upper arms.

You will need a chair or bench for this exercise. 

How to perform this exercise? 

  • Stand with your back in front of the chair or bench.
  • Lean against the object with your hands. 
  • Then bend your legs to 90 degrees. 
  • Slowly start lowering your body straight down. 
  • Then slowly raise yourself back up. 
  • Repeat the exercise. 

These are all the exercises I have prepared for you. For sure, by incorporating them into your training you will see results that certainly would not appear, without strengthening exercises for runners. However, remember to change the exercises you do after a while. This is all because the body gets used to the stimulus and may not produce any new effects after a while. 

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