A blog by runners. For runners.

Forget the gym! Try these body weight exercises for runners

Body weight workouts for runners

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: runners need to strength train.

Regularly resistance training can make you faster, lower your risk for injuries, and help you tone up and trim down.

But strength training requires a membership to a gym – or at least owning a few sets of dumbbells – right?


There are a host of exercises that can strengthen the body in the places runners need it the most that don’t require any fitness equipment.

Check out our favorite body weight exercises for runners:

  • Plank. This ultimate core-strengthener also gives your upper body a workout. Hold the plank for as long as you can and challenge yourself to work up to holding the position for five minutes. You can also do a plank by propping yourself up with your hands and keeping your arms straight.
  • Plank up downs. Inspired by Crossfit, this variation of the plank is not for the faint of heart. Once you’ve mastered this exercise, try to do it quicker to blast even more calories.
  • Side plank. A side plank targets your oblique muscles, at the sides of your abdomen or “love handles”. If you extend your free arm straight up, perpendicular to your body, you’ll also get the added bonus of a good stretch.
  • Push-ups. The basic push-up is still the gold standard body weight exercise for strengthening the chest muscles. When doing push-ups, be careful not to arch your back. If you cannot keep your back straight, do push-ups on your knees instead of your feet.
  • Superman. The superman pose has roots in yoga (it’s also known as viparita shalabhasana). This single exercise strengthens your chest, shoulders, back, glutes, and legs and enhances flexibility.
  • Wall sit. Wall sits may bring you back to the days of high school P.E. class. To get through the burn, just picture your thighs getting stronger – which will make you run faster!
  • Single-leg squats. Single-leg squats will strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, and pelvis. And added bonus: this exercise will also improve your balance, which will help you run better.
  • Clock lunges. This exercise is a sequence of a forward lunge, side lunge, and a back lunge. It’s guaranteed to give your hamstrings a killer workout.

Do these body weight exercises after your next run. Or, if you want an at-home workout that combines strength and cardio, alternate these moves with plyometric drills, such as jumping jacks, jumpees, and skip ups.