A blog by runners. For runners.

7 best strength training moves for runners

best strength training  moves for runners

Recently we shared why runners need to strength train.

If you’re ready to make lifting a part of your routine but don’t know where to begin, we’ve got you covered. These basic strength training moves target runners’ weak spots. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have a gym membership. All you need to do these exercises is a set of free weights, a stability ball, and some motivation.

Repeat each move 10 to 12 times per side (except for planks) and do 2 to 3 sets:

  1. Planks. Planks will give you a strong midsection and shoulders. To do a basic plank, lay down on your stomach with your legs extended and toes flexed. Place your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Push up onto your elbows and toes, keep your abs tight, and maintain a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the plank for as long as you can. Repeat one to two more times. There are many plank variations including side planks, single leg planks, and planks with a single arm row.
  2. Squats. Squats strengthen many of the muscles runners rely on. To do a squat, stand with your feet hip distance apart, keeping your toes pointed straight ahead. Slowly sit back like you are about to sit into a chair (be careful to not let your knees go over your toes) and hold once your knees make a 90 degree angle – this is when your glutes and hamstrings will start to burn. Slowly come up. As you get stronger, add weights by holding free weights up on your shoulders.
  3. Walking lunges. Lunges strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, and quads while opening up tight hip flexors. Stand with your feet hip width apart and hold a dumbbell at your side in each hand. Take an exaggerated step forward and lunge by bending both of your knees. Be mindful to engage your hamstrings on your leading leg. Slowly stand up, bringing your back leg forward to meet your front leg. Variations of walking lunges include lateral, curtsy, and backwards lunges.
  4. Alternating dumbbell row. Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand, and hinge forward at your waist until your torso is almost parallel to the ground. Let your arms hang straight in front of you. Bend your right elbow and lift your upper arm back so that your hand is near the side of your torso. Slowly return your arm to the start position.
  5. Stability ball jackknife. This move will strengthen your entire core and shoulders. Get into push-up position, but rest your shins on top of a stability ball. Engage your abs and pull the stability ball up towards your face by raising your hips and rolling the ball forward with your feet. Slowly roll the ball back out by lowering your hips.
  6. Shoulder press. Strong shoulders can add power to your arm swing. Stand with a free weight in each hand, and raise your hands up to ear level with palms facing away from your body. Extend your arms overhead until they are almost straight. Slowly return your arms to the start position.
  7. Toe raises. Kiss the days of shin splints good-bye. Sit up straight on a stability ball with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet resting flat on the ground. Raise the toes on your left foot while keeping your heel pressed into the floor and hold for a few seconds.

Written by Jen Matz.

Related: Working out without a gym membership | Fitting in exercise when you have young kids