Runners Strength Exercises Guide
This dynamic move enhances the flexibility of your ankle and calf while it also increases the strength of the deeper calf muscle, the soleus. Bent-knee calf raises can also help fight off lower leg fatigue in the later stages of a long-run or endurance race.
Set-Up: Place a step bench against a wall. Stand tall on top of the step facing the wall with only the balls of your feet on the step so that your heels hang off the edge. Place both hands against the wall for support. Pull your abdomen inward.
Move: Lower your left heel as far down as is comfortable as you bend your right knee slightly and lift up your right heel. Alternate heel positions at a quick yet controlled speed and continuously move through reps until you complete an equal number of reps with both legs.
Runner strength training for balance: Strong shins prevent shin splints and provide counter-balance for strong calves to keep these opposing muscle groups in balance.
Set-Up: Tie an exercise band or tube into a circle and attach one end to a sturdy object. Sit up tall on the floor facing the point of attachment with your left knee bent, foot flat on the ground, and right leg out in front. Wrap the free end of the band around the top of your right foot just behind your toes, and place your palms on the ground for support.
Move: Flex your right foot to move your toes toward you as far as you comfortably can. Hold the top of the movement for a moment and return to the start. Complete 20 to 30 reps and repeat with the left foot. Continue to alternate left and right to complete 3 sets.
Runners strength training for lower back: Back extensions strengthen your lower back to help absorb shocks from landing and, by balancing your lower back to abdominal strength, runners are able to maintain good posture even when they're fatigued. Back extensions also help to open your hips so you can increase the length of your stride.
Set-Up: Lie face down with your hands in front of shoulders, palms facing the ground. With your toes bend and anchored into the ground and heels up, squeeze your legs together. Pull your abdomen in.
Move: Without pushing off with your hands, curl your back to lift your head and chest as far off the ground as you comfortably can. Your hands will come up together with your chest, but keep your toes anchored, your abdomen pulled inward and your legs squeezed. Hold a moment at the highest position and slowly lower to the starting position.
This move increases core stability while your arms are in motion. It improves balanced strength between your abdomen and lower back muscles, which helps to ward off lower back fatigue and can help improve speed and lenght of your end-of-run kick.
Set-Up: Sit on the floor, feet flat on the ground and knees bent. Keep your back long and straight, lean back into a 45-degree angle. Using your abdominal strength to maintain your angle. Next lift both of your feet about 2 inches off the ground, then extend one arm over your head and your other arm down along your side.
Move: Keeping a firm and still position with your body, switch arm positions so that your lower arm comes up over your head and your opposite arm comes down along your side. Continue bringing your arms over your head until you complete 20 to 30 repitions. Do 3 sets.
Strength training for improved forward movement: A strong and powerful arm swing will help balance upper and lower body usage while running. Biceps curls propel you forward more economically.
Set-Up: Hold a very light dumbbell in each hand and stand with good posture, your feet about hip-width apart, knees unlocked. With your palms facing in, bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle and close to your sides. Keeping your elbows bent, swing your left elbow back until your left hand is just in front of your waist and lift your right hand up until it is level with your forehead.
Move: Slowly swing your arms until your left hand is up and your right hand is back. Move continuously until you complete 20 to 30 swings. Do 3 sets.
Strength training for stabilization: This training targets the rhomboid muscles which are located between your shoulder blades and the deltoids to stabilize your upper back.
Set-Up: Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, step your legs a stride's length apart, right leg in front, and both knees bend until your left knee touches the ground and your right thigh is parallel to it. You could put something soft like a towel under your left knee. Lean forward from your hips and rest your right arm on your right thigh for support. Straighten your left arm down near the inside of your right leg, palm facing in.
Move: Lift your left arm up and out to the side until it's at shoulder height and your palm faces the ground. Slowly lower to the starting position. Complete 20 repetitions and then repeat with your right arm. Continue to alternate left and right to complete 3 sets.