strength training for runners

Most runners love running, but avoid strength and conditioning type of exercises. To avoid injury you need to have a basic level of strength, and this becomes increasingly important as you age. Alongside running (obviously) it’s great for runners to have a good mix of activities as part of their training.

Why?

Well, not only does strength and conditioning help prevent injury by mixing up the demands placed upon your body from repetitive activity, it also gives the opportunity to build strength, flexibility and other aspects of fitness that will help your running. Exercises like Pilates can be great for helping optimise your movement control but equally important is bringing in some specific strength and conditioning work.

Last week was Denbigh Harriers first winter conditioning session at the Leisure Centre. It included 12 different exercises from skipping to ball throwing, and a little bit or running to keep the legs moving. But we don’t all enjoy group exercise, or cannot get to a gym. Here we’d like to share with you our top picks for S&C exercises that are great for runners. Many of these can be done with or without weight and progressed as and when appropriate. Strength training should be completed at least once a week alongside your running.

Exercises

Dumb Bell Romanian Deadlift

Dumbbell Romanian deadlift for runners

1. Start upright feet hip-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells, kettle bells, or similar.
2. Push your hips back to incline your torso while flexing slightly your knees.
3. Stop when you feel enough tension in your hamstrings and go back to the starting
position.
4. Keep your back flat and chest out. The weights should remain close to your legs. Elbows straight at all times.

Deadlift

Deadlift strength for runners

1. Starting position: Place your shins approximately 1 inch (3 cm) behind the bar and your feet hip to shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed slightly outward.
2. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, grabbing the bar with an overhand or mixed grip. Keep your back flat with your chest up and out. Keep your head in line with your spine, your heels down, and shoulders over the bar.
3. Extend your hips and knees to lift the bar off the floor.
4. Keep your torso-to-floor angle constant until the bar meets your knees, and shoulders over bar.
5. Do not let your hips rise before your shoulders.
6. As the bar rises just above your knees, push your hips forward to move your knees under the bar.
7. Continue to extend your hips and knees until your body reaches a fully erect torso position.

Single Leg Sit Back

Single leg sit back

1. Begin by standing upright on one leg in front of a chair or stool.
2. Push your hips backward like you’re going to sit down and bend your knee into a single leg squat position to lightly touch the chair with your bottom.
3. Slowly return to the starting position. Keep your knee aligned with your second toe.
4. If you find this hard then start sitting, stand up using one leg, place second foot to stand and then sit down with both feet on the ground.

Single Leg Glute Bridge

Single leg glute bridge

1. Start lying, with legs bent, feet flat on the floor.
2. Lift one leg off the floor and go up into a shoulder bridge, peeling one vertebrae at a time.
3. Keeping the leg out straight and the thigh in line with the other thigh, lower yourself onto the ground and lift yourself back up, peeling one vertebrae at a time.
4. Repeat this with both legs.

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