Runners need to strength train, period. I keep saying it over and over again. And I know that it’s more easily said than done. Keeping a regular running and strength training program is a lot to ask for, especially the case if you’re busy like the rest of us.
Take it from one who knows. Between my job, my runs, my daily errands, and — you know — “life,” I’m more often than not tempted to skimp on gym time, just like you are (maybe?).
Still, even though it’s a challenge I’m sticking to my “weight training” guns because I think it’s that important. But I will let you in on my little secret for making it more manageable, even with a busy schedule. It’s bodyweight training.
Gyms are for People Who Have Time. For the Rest of Us, Bodyweight Training is King
Bodyweight training has a lot to offer. It’s convenient and burns calories, improves mobility, and builds strength and endurance. It can help you get into the best shape of your life without leaving the comfort of your home.
What’s more? Bodyweight training stabilizes the joints, strengthens connective tissues, and improves balance. What’s not to like!
Adding bodyweight training will help you improve your running endurance and prevents pain and injury: it sets the stage for a stellar performance.
To get you started, here’s a no-equipment bodyweight strength routine that I came up with this specifically for runners to complement their outdoor efforts.
1. Bodyweight Squat
Assume an athletic position with feet about shoulder width apart, while extending the arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground.
Next, while sticking your butt out, and leaning forward at the waist, squat down until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, and/or both thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure the back is straight, shoulders and chest upright throughout the movement.
Last up, return to starting position by driving through heels.
Perform 25 reps to complete one set. Repeat for three times.
Begin by laying on your stomach, then prop up on your elbows with feet slightly apart. The toes should be about hip distance apart with shoulders directly above the elbows.
Next, hold the plank position while keeping the entire body straight and core engaged the entire time.
Hold the pose for at least 90 seconds to complete one set. Repeat for three or more sets.
3. Walking Lunges
Assume an athletic position with your hands behind your head.
Next, while engaging the core and keeping your torso straight, step forward with your right leg until your front thigh is parallel to the floor, then push your right heel into the ground, and step forward to a standing position.
Repeat on the other side
Perform at least 12 reps on each side to complete one set. Aim for three sets.
4. Lying Superman
Lay down with the body flat on the floor, arms extended in front of your face.
Next, while engaging the core, raise both of your legs, chest, and arms off the ground, then hold it for a count of three while squeezing the lower back in the process.
Last up, lower back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Perform 16 reps to complete one set. Repeat for three times.
5. Dive Bomber Push-ups
Assume a downward dog position with the hands about shoulder width apart, and hips high in the air. Be sure that body looks like an inverted “V.”
Next, lower your chest to the ground by bending your elbows as you push forward to an upward dog position.
Hold for the count of three, then reverse the movement, until you are back to the starting position.
Do at least 10 reps to complete one set. Aim for three sets.
6. Russian Twists
Begin by laying on your back with the upper legs perpendicular to the floor and knees bent 90-degrees.
Next, while keeping the back straight and core engaged, twist your torso as far as you can to the right side, then twist back to the starting position, and repeat on the left side.
For more challenge, raise both of your legs off the floor and/or use weights for more resistance.
Do at least 16 reps on both sides to complete one set. Aim for three sets with good form.
7. Single Leg Lateral Jumps
Begin by standing on the side of a hurdle or a cone, then balance on one leg with the knee slightly bent.
Next, while keeping your back flat, jump to hop sideways over the cone. As soon as your foot touches the floor, rebound by jumping back to the starting position.
Be sure to continue hopping back and forth while engaging your core muscles and pushing explosively from your legs.
Aim for at least 12 to 16 reps on both legs. Do three sets.
8. Fire Hydrants
Assume an all fours position.
Next, while engaging your core and keeping the lower back as flat as possible, raise your knee directly to the outside as high as you can, then lower down into the starting position.
Perform 16 reps on each side to complete one set. Aim for three sets.
Begin in a standing position with feet shoulder width apart
Next, lower down into a squatting position, placing both hands on the floor just outside of the feet. Then, kick both of your feet, so you end up in a push-up position.
Lower your chest to the floor, then press back, kick your feet back to the squatting position, then explosively jump up into the air while clapping the arms overhead. That’s one rep.
Aim for at least 25 burpees with good form to complete one set. Do three sets.