10 Strength moves all runners should do
Just because you're a runner, doesn't mean that's all you should be doing. In fact, making time for strength training can help improve your structural fitness, keeping your tendons, muscles, ligaments and bones strong and healthy. That means less risk of injury when you pound the pavements! Just 15 minutes of strength moves twice a week can make a huge difference to your running.
Hip strength is key to preventing running injuries and the moves we have included below only take 20 mins or less. Feel free to increase or decrease the number of reps to suit your fitness level and aim to complete two full sets. Ideally, you should do your strength training right after your run, as your muscles will already be warmed up. Whether you're training for a marathon or just running for fun with a fitness buddy, add this workout to your routine to boost strength and help prevent injury.
For each lunge, begin with 2 reps per leg and work your way up to 5 reps as you get stronger!
#1. Classic Forward Lunge
The classic lunge is a great move to strengthen your glutes, quads and hamstrings. It can also boost flexibility, increasing the range of motion of the hip flexors. Sitting at your desk all day can lead to tight hip flexors, so the forward lunge can help loosen you up and boost running performance.
Step forward with your right leg, keeping your knee over your ankle. Now lower your body slowly until your left knee touches the ground. Take a step back and repeat with the other leg.
#2. Side Lunge
A side or lateral lunge activates the muscles responsible for stabilising your hips.
Step out to the right hand side, with both feet pointing straight ahead. Now lower yourself until your right thigh is almost parallel to the ground. Make sure you keep your left leg straight as you lower your body. Step back to the centre and repeat on the other side.
#3. Twisting Lunge
Good balance and awareness of your body position are both things which are vital for the twisting lunge, which engages those core muscles!
Start by performing a forward lunge, then twist your torso to the side you are lunging forward with. Repeat on the other side.
#4. Reverse Lunge
This is the most challenging lunge, requiring excellent balance - it really gets your glutes involved!
Step back with your right leg, lowering your body until your right thigh is almost parallel to the ground and your left knee touches the ground. Ensure you keep your toes pointing straight ahead at all times. Step back and repeat on the other side.
#5. Diagonal Lunge
Running makes rotational demands ofyour body, so performing a digaonal lunge ensures your body is used to moving in different ways, dramatically cutting your injury risk.
Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Take a step forward with your right lef but step out on a diagonal. Now, bend both knees until your right knee forms a 90 degree angle. Repeat on the other side.
#6. Pistol Squat
Single-leg exercises like the pistol squat are great for runners.
Stand on your right leg with your arms straight out in front of your chest. Now squat down until your right thigh is almost parallel with the ground. Your movements should be slow and controlled as you return to a standing position. Repeat with the other leg.
Strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and quads with step-ups.
Standing in front of a bench or step, step-up with your right foot until your leg is straight. Keep your posture tall and step down with your left foot. Switch to the other leg and repeat.
#8. Single-leg Deadlift
For power when running, you need strength in your hamstrings and glutes, but these muscles can often be neglected. If you live a fairly sedentary life when you're not running - like working in an office all day - it's even more important to fous on strengthening these muscles.
Standing up straight, bend forward from the hips - stand on your left leg and extend your right leg behind you. Activate your glutes and return to standing.
Get into plank position and keep your hands shoulder-width apart. Now lower your body until your chest touches the ground and push back up.
When running, maintaining a neutral pelvis can help prevent injury. The plank works your obliques and abdominals, to help keep your pelvis neutral during that morning run.
Place your forearms on the ground and keep your elbows aligned below your shoulders. Your arms should be parallel to your body around shoulder-width apart. Hold for a few seconds.