6 Strength Training Exercises To Improve Your Running Performance
Conditioning

6 Strength Training Exercises To Improve Your Running Performance

clock-circular-outlinePosted 28 Jul 2021

Shifting iron isn't all about the aesthetics - elite athletes and amateurs alike benefit from the application of strength training within their running programs, whether their end goal is a 40-yard dash or an ultra marathon.

"But, what if I'm content with my running pace?" We get it, it's not all about adding speed, nor are we here to turn you into the next Mr. (or Ms.) Olympia. Loading our muscles through a full range of motion will help build strength, muscular endurance and mobility while significantly reducing the chance of injury - and if there's one thing worse than hitting your max heart rate, it's getting injured...

Luckily, a systematic review into the effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries found that strength training reduced sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries could be almost halved.[1]

A second systematic review identified the correlation between previous injuries as an increased risk factor in relation to future injury potential [2], and therefore extra consideration should be taken to increase strength around previous injury sites, to reduce the chance of further injury when running.

So, now you know that strength training not only improves performance but also contributes to a prolonged running career through a decreased injury risk.

How often should runners perform resistance training?

It sounds obvious, but, to progress with your running, you need to run, often. And we're not saying you need to give that up, far from it - Getting in the miles, intervals and recovery sessions all play a fundamental role in training - focusing on technique, pace, breathing and more.

But, what we are saying is allocating some sessions for strength training will benefit you in the long run... a good rule of thumb is a 3:1 run-to-gym ratio.

With strong data showing the positive response of strength training in running performance, injury prevention and running economy - it's time to take the weights room a little more seriously.

It's important to have a safe, conservative strategy when implementing strength training around running to ensure a gradual increase in volume, allowing the body to adapt and continue progressing both in the gym and on the road.

Aim to perform 2-3 sessions p/week consisting of 2-4 strength training exercises at 40%-70% of your 1RM, plus plyometric accessory work for an 8-12 week period - this approach proved to be a driving factor in improving the running economy of athletes. [3]

Key takeaways in strength training for runners

  • Injury prevention

  • Joint and core stability

  • Improved running economy

  • Increase power

  • Muscular endurance

  • Stable running technique

6 Strength Exercises For Runners

1. Box Squat

Why? Build overall leg strength, power and muscular endurance directly transferable into your running.

Rep Ranges: 3-5 sets @ 5 x 70% 1RM (or) 10 x 40% 1RM

2. Weighted Reverse Lunge

Why? A great unilateral exercise that targets the key muscle groups utilised when running, solidifying resilience in the glutes, quads, hip flexors and core.

Rep Ranges: 3-5 sets @ 10 x 40% 1RM (each side)

3. Banded Lateral Walks

Why? Building strength and muscular endurance in the gluteus minimus, and gluteus medius can reduce trunk lean and knee joint stress when running. [4]

Rep Ranges: 5-7 Sets @ 30s ON / 30s OFF

4. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Why? Continue your running economy development through the strengthening of the glutes, hamstrings and core on a unilateral basis.

Rep Ranges: 3-5 Sets x 12 (each side)

5. Low Plank

Why? Challenge your core to maintain correct posture and fight off fatigue, keeping your trunk steady when you hit the road.

Rep Ranges: 3-5 Sets x 45-60s

6. Face Pulls

Why? Build muscular endurance in your rear delts, aiding running technique and improving posture.

Rep Ranges: 3-5 Sets x 15-20 Reps

How will you include strength training around your running program? Let us know in the comments below.

GymsharkBy Gymshark