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Five Key Strength Exercises for Runners

5 strength exercises for runners

Some runners forget how important strength training is. Supplementing running with strengthening exercises will not only aid in injury prevention but will make you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner. Even for light runners like me, making sure my entire body is strong helps me go a bit farther and recover more quickly. Here are 5 great strength exercises for runners. It is ideal to include strength training sessions 2-3 time each week.

Bodyweight Squats
Squats hit a lot of running-specific muscles, and don’t require any equipment. They are an essential lower body strengthening exercise.

Here is an example from the folks at Howcast.


Planks are an essential exercise to strengthen the entire core. The major muscles of the core reside in the abs and the mid and lower back. Peripherally, the core also includes the hips, shoulders and the neck. The plank works to strengthen all of these areas.

Here is a great example from one of my favorite trainers, Bob Harper

Single Leg Deadlifts
Most runners only train their Quadriceps.This exercise works your hamstrings one at a time.
Strong and balanced leg muscles can increase performance and decrease chance of injury.

I like this example from Expert Village. This example uses a hand weight, but if you are new to a single leg deadlift, you can try it without weights as well.

When running, upper body strength is just as important as leg strength. If you are new to pushups, do them on your knees or elevated on a chair. If you are strong enough, do a traditional pushup on your toes.

This great video from Pop Sugar provides an excellent pushup tutorial.

 Single Leg Bridge

The single leg bridge will work your glutes and core big time! If a single leg bridge is too advanced for you, stick with a traditional bridge with both feet on the ground. 

Here’s a good tutorial from the folks at

What are some of your favorite strength training exercises? Share them in a comment.

Comeback Momma Siggy

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Still Blonde after all these YEARS

Wednesday 6th of November 2013

I love the videos you put in here. I can never figure things out from pictures.


Wednesday 6th of November 2013

I find videos to be much more helpful than static photos as well.


Wednesday 6th of November 2013

I am not a runner, but If I could only do these few times a week - that would be super cool


Wednesday 6th of November 2013

I really need to start a running plan. My doctor suggested that I combine it with strength training. I'm pinning this post so I can remember your tips!


Wednesday 6th of November 2013

Glad to help inspire you.


Tuesday 5th of November 2013

Great exercises! I always have my runner clients do lots of rowing variation as well. Many runner lean forward from the hip and let their shoulders collapse forward. Adding 'rope face pulls', bent-over reverse flys and seated rows to their program always helps with posture and a more ergonomic, upright stance.


Wednesday 6th of November 2013

Great extra tips. I had rowing exercises on my list, but decided these were my top 5.

Melissa Vera

Tuesday 5th of November 2013

Thanks for sharing this awesome workout with us. I am going to have to try some of those out.

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