Strength Work For Runners


STRENGTH WORK FOR RUNNERS

We all know that running is the most obvious way of training for a particular running event, but from personal experience and from the opinions of others there are even greater ways of contributing towards the overall success, progress and benefit of your performance.

The gym and strength work for runners is an excellent addition to your training as it not only allows to break the standard routine of your running but also allows you to target specific muscles that are needed to progress your running and deliver the performance improvements you desire. Find below 5 recommended exercises to try out in the gym.

It is advisable to get some advice and coaching from a personal trainer, the gym staff or an experienced friend in order to get these right. The technique is critical to maximise the benefits of the your hard work. And making sure you are doing strength work for runners correctly will reduce the risk of hurting yourself whilst learning these exercises.


1. Squats

Muscles targeted – quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves.


To increase the strength and power of your quads and help reduce the build up of lactic acid in muscles, when training lightweight and more repetitions. (Muscular Endurance). This exercise also works on the glutes / hamstrings which are also responsible for a lot of the power you will require. You could aim to complete 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions, with a 30-60 seconds rest in between sets.

2. Leg Raises

Muscles targeted – lower quads.

Typically this exercise is performed when isolated on a machine, which is good for variation of resistant and free weights. It allows us to work the muscle surrounding the knee / patella, which aids in supporting that joint and preparing the knee for impact. The benefits are about stabilising the knee. You could aim to complete 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions, with a 30-60 sec rest in between.

3. Walking Lunges

Muscles targeted – quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves.


To increase the strength and power of your quads and help reduce the build up of lactic acid in muscles, when training lightweight and more repetitions. (Muscular Endurance). This exercise also works on the glutes / hamstrings which are also responsible for a lot of the power you will require. You could aim to complete 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions, with a 30-60 seconds rest in between sets.

4. The Plank

Muscles targeted – strengthens muscles around the abdomen & lower back.

A difficult, yet very effective abdominal exercise which can be performed regardless of your fitness level as the only thing you need to adjust is the time spent contracting. Like all exercises this requires a good technique to be effective and so you can feel the full benefits. You will need to start by holding your body up in a raised position, with your forearms at one end, palms on the floor and your feet at the other. Your back should be straight, with your head aligned with your back and you should tense your abdominal muscles throughout. If the exercise is new to you, then 3-4 sets of 30-45 sec intervals is a good place to start. Rest for the same amount of time that you spent in the plank position and then repeat until all sets are complete.

5. Dorsal Raises a.k.a Back Extensions

Muscles targeted  – lower back.


Depending on your familiarity with the exercise you can perform this laying down on the floor on your front, or laying over a Swiss ball. If laying on floor: – Lay flat on front, with your arms above your head (Think Superman position) and raise both arms and legs in the air as far as you can, do not rush and hold it there for as long as you can but with a target time of at least 30 – 60 secs and then repeat 3-4 times. This is a great exercise to strengthen up that lower back and the posterior side of your body, not to mention helping to bring your posture back into a more neutral position as a lot of people become quite protracted (Forward leaning position) when running for long periods of time, which puts more pressure on the lower back.

If using Swiss ball: – Raise your self on to the ball and lay over it from waste onwards, be close to a wall so you can place your feet against it to help keep you in place. Lower yourself over the ball and raise up, hold for a couple of seconds then lower to starting position. You can put your hands out of the way, which makes the movement easier and complete by placing them either side of your head. Aim to perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions, with roughly a 60 sec rest in between. The benefits should be increasing core stability and helps to correct protracting posture.


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