What sort of strength training runners should do to stay strong?

As a personal trainer in Windsor I get many people asking me for strength training for runners. They come to me saying they have been running for years and haven’t made much progress on their time in the last couple of months. Yes, actually doing the movement is going to make you faster in the beginning until you reach a wall and you need to do something new to get over it. This is where strength training comes into play. There are so many different strength training techniques that runners can use to make running easier for them. It’s not just leg work either, it’s working on your whole body from upper body through your core into your lower body. Runners also need a strong upper body to keep their posture aligned. Keep reading and you shall see a couple of techniques you can add into your routine to help runners decrease their time in a race.

Single leg exercises for runners

You are probably thinking of a lunge and you’d be right. However, there are so many more movements that can help you as a runner. You want to be able to stimulate your body in a different way to push past what you’re used to. If you just go out running you might improve a little. However, if you add a strength training program with the following exercises to your routine you will progress more. You will see a massive increase in your stability and strength whilst on a run. You’ll feel your strides will feel easier, making running more enjoyable.

Single leg exercise

  • Lunges
  • Single leg Romanian deadlift
  • Step ups
  • Sit downs
  • Pistol squats
  • Single leg glutei bridge
  • Side lunge
  • Single leg hops
  • Single leg box jumps

The list can go on until I finish the page. However, you want to be able to perform these correctly so get a coach or personal trainer to show you them.

core exercise - bird dog

Core stability movements and Isometrics for runners

As a runner you want to be able to keep your chest up and back strong so you don’t lose structure through your stride. If you lose structure you won’t be able to run at your best. Your kinetic chain which is a chain of joints that are fixed into place when a movements energy is going through your body. For example, when you’re running your kinetic chain will want to be strong from your foot through your core into your upper body. Hence the reason for some core and upper body movements in your strength training program.

Posterior chain strength for runners

The posterior chain is something that gets really tight on a runner’s body. Especially the hamstring, which can lead to a tight lower back and tight glutes. Whilst running the quads and the hip flexors are the muscle that are used the most. Which means the hamstrings can get really tight. This means the quads and the hip flexors get really developed and the hamstrings not so much. Unless you develop them in other ways through strength training. So, adding in lower body pulling movements will help you develop your posterior chain.

Coaches tips

Your training all depends on what type of runner you are. If you are long distance you want to be strong but not heavy and if you are a sprinter you want more fast twitch muscles that are explosive for a short distance. This all comes down to relative strength to produce force for the period of time that you are running/sprinting. So, you have to develop your training program around your sport. There is no use you gaining lots of muscle weight if you have to carry it for 10k runs. A coach can help you develop your body to be able to have a competitive edge over other athletes.