Boost Your Running with Strong Quads: Top Exercises for Quadriceps Strength

Are you ready to boost your running performance and protect yourself from overuse injuries? Well, look no further because you’ve stumbled upon the ultimate guide to supercharging those quadriceps!

Here’s the truth.

If you want to take your running game to new heights, there’s one secret weapon you need to harness: strength training.

Now, let’s talk about those marvelous quadriceps. These muscles play a crucial role in your running adventure. They’re the unsung heroes responsible for providing support as you gracefully land on each leg and generate that powerful forward propulsion.

But hold onto your running shoes because I’m about to share with you the crème de la crème of quad exercises. These fantastic seven exercises have been handpicked to skyrocket your running prowess and give you that extra edge on the track or trail.

Are you pumped? I know I am! Let’s jump right in!

What Are The Quadriceps Muscles?

Picture this: deep within your frontal thighs, just above the knees, lies a powerhouse of muscles ready to ignite your performance on the track, trail, or wherever your running adventures take you. We’re talking about the quadriceps, my friend!

The quads are no ordinary group of muscles—they hold immense power and strength. In fact, studies have shown that the quadriceps are among the strongest muscle groups in our entire human temple. Impressive, right?

But here’s the kicker: the quads aren’t just a single muscle; they’re a team of four extraordinary muscles working in perfect harmony. It’s like having your very own quad squad!

Let’s meet the members, shall we?

First up, we have the Vastus Medialis, affectionately known as the “teardrop” muscle. It’s nestled within the inner sanctum of your leg, near the knee. This little warrior adds stability and strength to your knee joint, ensuring a smooth and controlled movement.

Next, we have the Vastus Lateralis, the guardian of the upper leg’s outer realm. This bad boy provides explosive power and stability, ready to tackle any running challenge that comes your way.

Say hello to the Rectus Femoris, the grand maestro of hip flexion. Positioned right in the middle of your thigh, it’s responsible for bringing your thigh closer to your body. Think of it as the conductor orchestrating the perfect stride.

Last but not least, we have the Vastus Intermedius, the unsung hero sandwiched between the Vastus Lateralis and Vastus Medialis. Together, they form an unstoppable front-line defense, ensuring your quadriceps perform at their peak.

Now, here’s the juicy part: these quad muscles are not just about bending and straightening your knee. Oh no, my friend, they’re the key to unlocking your physical potential in a myriad of activities.

Benefits of Quad Strengthening Exercises For Runners

Here are some of the advantages of strengtheniing your quadriceps.

First and foremost, brace yourself for a surge in speed. Picture yourself dashing through the finish line with lightning speed, effortlessly conquering steep hills like a superhero, and unleashing an explosive push-off power that propels you forward in all your running endeavors.

That’s the power of strong quads in action!

But that’s not all. Brace yourself for a body that’s practically bulletproof against injuries. You see, research has uncovered a fascinating connection between weak and tight quads and a whole host of running-related injuries.

Take runner’s knee, for instance. A study conducted by brilliant minds revealed that weak quads are often to blame for this nagging condition. They simply can’t support and stabilize the knee during the running motion, leaving it vulnerable and prone to trouble. But fear not! Strengthening those quadriceps is like putting on a suit of armor for your knees. By fortifying this muscle group, you’ll not only reduce your risk of injuries but also enhance the raw power of your legs.

Speaking of injuries, let’s talk about shock absorption. Did you know that your mighty quadriceps act as natural shock absorbers? It’s true! Researchers at the esteemed University of Delaware have found that strong quads have a remarkable ability to cushion your knees against common overuse injuries. Imagine them as the bouncy springs beneath your steps, softening the impact and ensuring your knees stay happy and healthy on your running journey.

But wait, there’s more! Say goodbye to the dreaded “dead-leg” syndrome. You know that feeling when your legs feel heavy, sluggish, and utterly uncooperative? Weak quads might be the sneaky culprit behind this demoralizing condition. Your quadriceps play a pivotal role in maintaining endurance, keeping your legs firing on all cylinders. Strengthening these powerhouses will banish those dead-leg blues and usher in a new era of unstoppable stamina.

Quadriceps Training For Runners Guidelines

Start Slowly

First things first, take it easy and don’t rush into things. Just like any exercise regimen, quad training requires a patient approach.

Begin by easing yourself into the routine, gently testing the waters of your quad strength. As you gradually get stronger, it’s time to crank up the challenge. You can achieve this by adding more weight to your exercises, increasing the number of sets you perform, or even better—doing both! Embrace the thrill of progress and push your limits.

Warm Up Right

Before delving into your quad workout, it’s crucial to prepare your body for action. A dynamic warm-up routine is your secret weapon.

Start with a leisurely 5-minute jog or even some energizing running in place to get those muscles primed. Then, dive into 5 minutes of dynamic moves that awaken your entire lower body—think inchworms, squats, walking lunges, and high knees. Consider it a prelude to the quad-training symphony that awaits you.

Find The Right Combo

Finding the right combination of exercises is key to unlocking the full potential of your quads.

Below, you’ll discover a treasure trove of quad exercises that can be incorporated into your lower body strength routine. Aim to perform this routine one to two times per week to reap the maximum benefits. When it comes to repetitions, shoot for about 8 to 12 per exercise. This sweet spot will help you build strength and endurance without overexerting yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to aim for two to three sets in total—consistency is key, my friend.

Proper Form

Now, let’s talk about the crown jewel of effective quad training—proper form. It reigns supreme over everything else. While it may be tempting to chase higher rep numbers, never compromise on your form.

Each rep should be executed with precision and control, paying close attention to your body’s alignment and movement patterns. Remember, quality over quantity. As you gradually increase the intensity of your training, you might find yourself performing fewer reps. But fear not for in this journey, you shall gain strength that transcends mere numbers.

Don’t Forget Your Hamstrings

Ah, my friend, let’s not forget about the unsung heroes of your lower body—those mighty hamstrings! You see, a balanced approach is the secret sauce to unleashing your full potential. Focusing solely on your quads while neglecting your hamstrings is like trying to sail a ship with one oar—it’s just not going to get you very far.

Allow me to paint a picture for you. Imagine your quads as the powerful engine that propels you forward in your running journey. They’re already firing on all cylinders thanks to the repetitive motion of running. But here’s the catch: if your hamstrings don’t receive the attention they deserve, it’s like having an engine without the supporting structure. Imbalances can creep in, causing trouble down the road.

Research has shown that runners often have stronger quads than hamstrings, leaving the latter playing catch-up. That’s why it’s essential to give your hamstrings some love and strengthen them alongside your quads. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.

Now, let’s talk about some fantastic exercises that target those hamstrings of yours.

The Best 5 Quad Exercises For Runners

You can perform this quad routine as a workout in itself, or you can choose to add a few of these exercises into your already established routine—it’s your choice.

These exercises are the best because they hit the quads from so many different angles, targeting the front, sides and upper of these crucial running muscles.

Quad Exercise For Runners –1. Squats

Depending on your current fitness level and training goals, you can perform the squat using nothing but your body weight or you can also use dumbbells or a barbell for more challenge.

Squats and its other variations put a lot of emphasis on the quads as well as improving lower body strength, endurance, and mobility.

Squats are some of the best runners oriented exercises that there is.

Proper Form

Stand feet width apart, back flat, and core engaged.

Next, while keeping your head up and knees tracking over your toes, slowly squat down by bending the knees and sitting your butt back as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair.

Keep squatting down until your knees are bent at a 90 degrees angle and/or when your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Once you reach the bottom half of the squat, pause for a moment, then press up through the heels and engage your quads on the way up.

That’s one rep.

2. Single Leg Squats

This is a more advanced version of a squat, and it requires an enormous amount of strength, mobility, and flexibility so you’d better be careful with this one.

Pistols are super challenging exercise, so please feel free to opt for the assisted pistol variation by grabbing a TRX strap or holding on to a chair, a pole, or a wall, for balance.

Additional resource – The Myrtl routine

Proper Form

Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart, then shift your weight to your right leg.

Then, balance on your right leg and fully extend the left leg out in front of you.

Make sure to squat down as deep as you can on the planted leg.

Next, while keeping your back flat and core engaged, bend your right hip and knee at the same time to perform the exercise.

Aim for at least a 50 degrees bend in the right knee, while keeping your hips even and knee tracking over the toes.

Last up, return to standing position by extending your right leg to complete one rep.

Aim for 10 to 12 reps on each leg to complete one set.

Perform five sets.

3. Leg Extensions Quad Exercise

Perform the easier version without the need for a machine by sitting down on a higher table or chair and clasping a weight between your feet for more resistance.

It’s your choice.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting on the padded seat of the machine (just like shown in the video tutorial) with the pads over the top of the ankles.

Next, hook your feet under the padded bar and while bracing your core and keeping your back head straight.

While holding the handles for stability, straighten your legs by extending them up, squeeze at the top and hold for a second, then slowly bring the weight back down, but do not allow your knees go past a 90-degree angle.

4. Weighted Walking Lunge

In addition to the squat, walking lunges are some of the best runners oriented quad strength exercises.

Plus they’re dynamic and target most of the lower body muscles, especially your rectus femoris muscle.

Proper Form

Begin by standing up straight with dumbbells grasped to each side or with a loaded barbell rested on the upper back.

Next, while keeping the torso upright and core activated, take a large step forward with your right leg, landing on the heel than the forefoot.

Then, drop into a lunge and lower your body down until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle with the left knee almost touching the floor.

Move forward by driving through the heel of your right foot while bringing your left leg forward until you are back to starting position, then step with your left leg into a lunge, repeating the pattern to complete one rep.

Do 8 to 10 reps to complete one set.

Perform five sets.

5. Leg Press

This is another classical quad exercise, and you’ll also need access to the appropriate machine.

This exercise mainly targets the quadricep provided that you’re keeping good form the entire time.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting on the leg press machine with your head and back against the padded support.

To assume the right position, make sure to place your feet on the footplate roughly hip-width distance apart while keeping the heels flat the entire time.

Next, grab the seat handles, carefully unlatch the sled from the safeties, then extend your knees to press the weight up until your legs are nearly straight, stopping just short of locking out.

Pause for a moment, then lower the platform by bending your knees.

Make sure to push through your heels, keeping your knees in line with the toes the entire time, allowing for no bowing inward nor outward.

Just be careful here with the leg press as it is notoriously known for causing trouble.

quadriceps exercises

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Quad Exercises For Runners – The Conclusion

There you have it!

The above quad exercises are the best when it comes to increasing strength in your lower body, especially in the rectus femoris muscle.

Do this awesome quad workout on a regular basis if you’re serious about making real progress. Also, keep in mind to stay within your fitness level the entire time.

Here are more  strength exercises for runners.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank you for reading my post

Keep Running Strong

David D.

13 Squat Variations for Runners: From Basic to Weighted, Transform Your Running Game

Strength Exercises For Runners

Let’s talk squats, shall we? Imagine if I could serenade every runner with a strength training love song, it’d be crooning “Squat, squat, squat…” on a never-ending loop! Because if there’s one golden nugget of exercise that I’d shout from the rooftops for every runner to embrace, yup, you guessed it – it’s the squat.

Here’s the lowdown for my fellow pavement pounders: whether you’re just stepping into your running shoes or have countless miles under your belt, squats (with their trusty sidekick, planks) deserve a standing ovation in your training routine.

Do Squats Help with Running?

So what makes the squat such a fantastic exercise?

Here are some of the reasons:

Increased strength

To truly thrive in running, strength isn’t just a bonus; it’s a necessity. It’s your shield against injuries and your ticket to top-notch performance.

Enter squats.

They’re like the Swiss Army knife of exercises – efficient, versatile, and oh-so-effective. From your quadriceps to your glutes, squats ensure that every running muscle gets a piece of the action.

Check “The Effects of Resistance Training on Endurance Distance Running Performance Among Highly Trained Runners: A Systematic Review” by Rønnestad et al., which explores the impact of resistance training on endurance athletes.

Boosted Core strength

Think of your core as the control center. When you squat, it’s working overtime to keep everything in check, making sure you’re moving right and staying injury-free. Want to level up? Add some front squats, overhead squats, and those sassy twisting squats to the mix. Your core will thank you (maybe not immediately, but definitely in the long run!).

Don’t take my word for it. Check out a research like “Core Muscle Activation During Swiss Ball and Traditional Abdominal Exercises” by Escamilla et al. This study delves into the activation of core muscles during various exercises, including squats.

Prevents Injury

Ever heard of pesky nuisances like the iliotibial band syndrome or runner’s knee? Well, by turbo-charging muscles like your hip abductors and quads, squats are like your personal bodyguards, shielding you from these running woes.  Studies such as “Prevention of Running Injuries” by Fields et al. are a perfect example.  This research examines strategies for injury prevention in runners.

Improve Bone Mass

Squats, as well as other weight-bearing exercises, help fortify your bone mass. So, as you gracefully dance through the years, squats are ensuring your bones remain as sturdy as a fortress, keeping issues like osteoporosis at bay.

Improved Flexibility

Imagine squats as your personal yoga instructor, guiding your body to stretch, bend, and twist, exploring its full potential.

Every time you squat, you’re granting your ankles, knees, hips, and glutes a ticket to the flexibility fiesta! Embracing this complete range of motion? It’s not just a boon for turning you into a human rubber band, but it’s pivotal for elite performance and sidestepping injuries.

The 11 Best Squats For Runners

Squats can be performed in so many ways.

So here are 13 squat variations for your squatting pleasure.

Squat For Runners – 1. Basic Squat

This is the standard squat.

Master this basic move before you move onto the more challenging variations.

Here are a few pointers to help you master the basic form:

Before you dive headfirst into the ocean of squat variations, let’s get you acquainted with the OG: The Basic Squat. It’s the foundation, the bedrock, the ‘original’ in your squat playlist. And nailing this down? It’s your golden ticket to all the cool, fancy versions out there.

Want a visual? Check out this handy tutorial: YouTube Tutorial on Basic Squat

Step-by-Step to Squat Perfection:

Set the Stage:

Stand tall, feet hip-width apart. Point those toes out just a tad.

Let your arms chill by your sides.

Channel a proud peacock: shoulders back, core engaged, and stand as if you’re trying to impress someone cute across the room.

The Descent:

Now, the fun part! Lower down, bending those knees. Aim to get those thighs chatting with the floor, becoming parallel buddies. But hey, if you two don’t hit it off right away, just get as low as feels right.

Quick checkpoint: keep those knees playing nice with your toes. And those toes? They’re glued to the floor, no lifting!

Push through those heels, straighten up, and give your glutes a good squeeze as you ascend.

Pro-tip: Imagine you’re in a love triangle with your knees and toes. Keep the knees tracking over your toes the entire time. It keeps the drama in check!

And voila! You’ve just done the basic squat. Keep practicing, and soon, you’ll be the talk of the squat town!

Squat For Runners – 2. Weighted Squat

Once you get the hang of the basic squat, then you can up the ante by adding weights.

In this variation, make sure to have a set of dumbbells of a challenging weight.

Proper Form

Ready to turn up the intensity a notch?

Let’s introduce a little extra “oomph” to your squats with some added weight! Once you’ve danced with the basic squat and feel like you’ve got the rhythm, it’s time to jazz things up.

Why Weighted Squats?

When you add weights to your squat routine, you’re essentially challenging your muscles to work a bit harder. And guess what? They love a good challenge! It’s like turning your squat from a casual stroll in the park to a delightful uphill hike.

Need a step-by-step visual? Dive into this tutorial: YouTube Tutorial on Weighted Squat.

Let’s Break Down the Weighted Squat:

Starting Strong:

Grab a pair of dumbbells that give you that “just right” challenging feel. Not too light, not too heavy.

Stand athletic. Feet? Shoulder-width apart. Dumbbells? Held by your side, palms giving each other a secret handshake.

This is home base. Your starting position.

The Mighty Descent:

Engage that core, it’s your secret weapon!

Squat on down. Imagine there’s an imaginary chair you’re trying to sit on. Bend at those hips and knees.

Hold that squat for a moment.

Climbing Back:

Time to rise back to stardom. Slowly and powerfully push up, coming back to your starting pose.

Remember, it’s a performance, not a race. Grace over pace!

Your Challenge: Go for 10 to 12 reps.

Additional resource – The Myrtl routine

Squat For Runners – 3. Wall Squat

This variation is relatively easy and can help you build mobility and endurance in your lower body.

Do this variation more often if you are often plagued with runners’ knee or knee pain because wall squats are safe and target the quads more than the standard version; according to a study, weak quads are linked to knee pain in runners.

Proper Form

Ever felt like taking a bit of a lean against a wall while working on those legs? Well, the wall squat is your buddy!

It’s the cool cousin of the standard squat, giving you a mix of ease and challenge at the same time. Plus, for those of us who’ve felt the pesky sting of runner’s knee or the occasional knee twinge, this might just be the balm you need.

 Why Wall Squat?

The wall squat, while seemingly chill, is great for enhancing your lower body’s endurance and mobility. It’s especially nifty because it zones in on those quads. And a little birdie (actually, some smart research) says that beefing up those quads can be the key to waving goodbye to knee pain for runners. So, let’s give those quads some love!

Breaking Down the Wall Squat:

Start with the Wall:

Your back? Cozy against a wall. Your feet? Placed confidently about two feet out in front of you. Remember, stand tall and proud; this is your power pose!

Slide & Glide:

Now, imagine you’re about to sit in a chair that’s not there. Push those hips back against the wall and slide down. The goal? Get those knees to a comfy 90-degree angle.

Hold the Magic:

Here’s where the fun (and burn) starts. Hold that pose! Aim for one to two minutes. Feels long? Just think of all the strength you’re building!

Level Up:

Finding it too breezy? Let’s play a game. Lift your right foot for a few seconds, then the left. It’s like you’re dancing but also toning those calves.

When done, slowly glide back up, standing tall and feeling the victory in those legs.

So the next time you see a wall, you know it’s not just for leaning against casually. It’s your workout buddy! Happy wall squatting!

This will also engage more of your calves.

Squat For Runners – 4. Tiptoe Squat

Dreamed of dancing on your tiptoes but never signed up for ballet? Well, the tiptoe squat has got you covered. Not only is it a fun variation, but it’s also fantastic for getting those calves and quads in shape. And here’s the best part: If you’ve ever thought, “I wish my quads were more toned without enlarging my glutes,” then this is your golden ticket!

Why the Tiptoe Squat?

It’s all about targeting those specific muscles. This squat dives deep into the calves and quadriceps, ensuring you get that sculpted look.

Need a visual? Here’s how it’s done: YouTube Tutorial on Tiptoe Squat

Mastering the Tiptoe Squat:

Stand confidently, feet a hip’s distance apart. Now, channel your inner ballet dancer and elevate onto the balls of your feet. Voilà! Your power stance is ready.

With grace, lower into a squat. Remember, slow and steady wins the race here. Once you’ve gone as low as feels good, take a moment to appreciate the burn, then rise to your starting position, keeping those heels lifted.

Feeling wobbly? It’s natural. Engage that core for balance. This isn’t just about keeping you steady; it also acts as a shield for your lower back.

Tip: If you’re new to this and need some added stability, don’t hesitate to use a chair or wall for support.

Squat For Runners – 5. Figure-four Squat

This variation targets the glutes and legs (just like the standard squat) but with the added bonus of stretching out those often-ignored glutes.

In other words, It’s a squat and a stretch at the same time.

Figure-four squats are also ideal for boosting balance and endurance in the quadriceps and glutes.

Proper Form

The Technique

Start with a mini-squat: keep your back straight your core on alert. Now, lift that right leg, bend the knee, and gracefully cross it over the left, resting the right ankle just above the left knee. There you are—in your poised starting position.

The Dive & Rise:

Dive into a squat. Feel the glutes stretching? That’s the magic! Push those hips back, and bend that left leg. Once you feel the depth, ascend back to your starting grace. Voilà—one rep down!

Steady as You Go:

If you’re thinking, “This feels wobbly,” you’re not alone! So, if balance is a challenge, grab a chair or align with a wall. And always remember—core engagement isn’t just about abs; it’s your balance guardian.

Tip: Aim for eight reps on each side for a full set. And don’t rush; the beauty lies in the stretch and control.

Let the Figure-four squat be your go-to for those days when you desire both muscle engagement and a sweet stretch. Let’s get squatting—and stretching!

Squat For Runners – 6. Sumo Squat

Sumo squats engage about every muscle in the lower body, including the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

Not only that, this variation also increases muscular endurance and mobility.

The bodyweight sumo squat is challenging enough, but if you are looking for more, feel free to use a barbell or dumbbell for more training effect.

Proper Form

Mastering The Sumo Stance:

Start with Swagger:

Plant your feet wide apart, wider than your usual squat. Channel your inner sumo wrestler – toes confidently pointing outwards just a tad. That’s your power stance.

The Drop & Pop:

Now, dive! Ensure those heels are glued to the floor. As you descend, think “proud chest” to keep that back straight. Lower until those thighs greet your knees. Relish the depth, then ascend back to that mighty sumo stance. Looking for an extra burn? Throw in a pulse at the bottom.

Rep It Out:

Go for 10 to 12 reps to seal one set. As you groove into this move, you’ll feel the power of the sumo taking over!

Incorporate the Sumo Squat into your routine and feel the comprehensive engagement it offers. From strength to flexibility, it’s all wrapped in this one squat style.

Squat For Runners – 7. Squat Jumps

Add a plyometric effect to your squat by incorporating this variation into your training arsenal.

The squat jump hits the core hard, targets just about every other muscle in the lower body, and will push your endurance and cardio conditioning to the breaking point.

Proper Form

Why Squat Jumps?

Elevate Your Heart Rate: This move doesn’t just sculpt your legs; it gives your heart a workout too. Say hello to better cardio conditioning!

Core Galore: Feel that? That’s your core working overtime to stabilize during those jumps.

Total Lower Body Fiesta: It’s a party down there! Quads, hamstrings, calves – everybody’s invited.

Curious? Dive into it: Squat Jump Video Tutorial

Nail That Form:

Ready Position: Begin with that athletic stance we all know and love. Feel grounded and strong.

Dip & Drive: Now, descend into a half-squat, then – boom! – power up with all your might. Aim for the clouds!

Graceful Landing: Remember, you’re a ninja cat – land softly, absorbing the impact through bent knees. And voila, you’re set for the next explosive jump!

Repeat: Flow through 12 to 15 of these, and you’ve nailed a set.

Additional reading – How to Prevent Overuse Injury

Squat For Runners – 8. Single-leg Squat

This isn’t just another squat variation—it’s THE variation that will redefine strength and balance for you. A challenging move? Absolutely. Rewarding? You betcha!

Why Single-leg Squat?

Solo Spotlight: By using one leg, you really hone in on and target those muscles.

No Weights? No Worries! Perfect for home workouts or when you’re on-the-go. Your body weight is the only resistance you’ll need.

Balance Bonanza: Engage that core! This move requires (and builds!) fantastic balance and stability.

Mastering the Move:

Start in an athletic stance, but let’s mix it up. Ground yourself on your right foot, with the left one stretched out ahead.

Lower yourself, imagining you’re sitting back in a chair. How low can you go while keeping that form pristine?

Pushing through your heel, rise to the starting position. Feel the power of that solo leg!

Stay Tall and Proud: Keep that back straight—no hunching! Posture makes perfect.

Repeat: Target 8 to 10 reps on each leg, and you’ve aced a set.

Squat For Runners – 9. Frog Jumps

This plyometric variation is vital if you are looking to build faster running muscles and power.

I read somewhere that frog jumps are Usain Bolt’s favorite exercise.

Proper Form

Get into your athletic stance, squat down, and let your arms touch the floor. Remember: chest up, gaze forward.

Explode upwards, drive those knees high, and don’t forget to snap those feet together. Feel the power!

As you rise, swing your arms overhead. They’re not just for show—they’ll give you that extra push!

Cushion your landing in a deep squat. Use those legs to absorb the impact.

Repeat: Looking for a full set? Aim for 8 to 10 power-packed jumps.

Squat For Runners – 10. Squat Box Jumps

This is another plyometric squat variation that can help you build explosive power and turbo-charge your running speed.

Just be careful here, there is an element of danger in it, so be safe the entire time. This is, after all, an advanced squat.

Tread carefully.

Proper Form

Jump with Precision:

Stand in front of a sturdy platform. Feet hip-width apart, arms ready for momentum.

Drop into a squat, then explode up, aiming to land softly on the box. Engage your core; this is key!

Land gently in a half-squat on the box. Balance is crucial!

Jump off, but be controlled. Land soft, ready for the next rep.

Challenge Yourself: Feeling unstoppable? Up the box height for a tougher challenge. But remember, always be safe!

Rack up those reps! Shoot for 8 to 10 to finish a set.

Squat For Runners -11. Overhead Squat

This is one of the most sought-after moves in the CrossFit world, and it’s famous for one reason: it delivers.

The overhead squat is vital for improving athletic movement, whether you are a recreational runner or an elite athlete.

Nonetheless, they require high degrees of balance, strength, and flexibility.

So be careful and only do the overhead squat once you have mastered the above variations (and the front squat as well).

Proper Form

Setup: Assume a confident stance, feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a barbell overhead with a grip wider than shoulder width. Your arms should be fully extended.

Steady: Engage your core, ensuring stability. Remember: this squat tests balance, too!

Descend: Push your hips back and squat down, ensuring your arms remain straight and the bar stays aligned overhead. Your hips should sink below your knees.

Rise & Shine: Push through your heels, extending your hips and knees to return to the starting position.

Flexibility & Form: It’s essential to have a limber lower body and strong core activation for this squat. Don’t rush; aim for precise movement.

10-12 reps make a set.

Squats for Runners – The Conclusion

Here you have it!

I hope you liked my 13 squat variations list. Just make sure to start doing them as soon as you can.

In the meantime thank you for reading my post.

Feel free to leave your comments and questions below.


David D

Leg Power: A Runner’s Guide to Effective Leg Workouts

runner doing Legs Strength Exercises

Looking to take your running game to the next level? Well, you’ve stumbled upon a goldmine of lower body exercises that will give your legs the strength they need to conquer any challenge.

But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s address the elephant on the track—why should you even bother with strength training?

Listen up, because I’m about to drop some truth bombs. Strength training is not just an option for runners; it’s an absolute necessity.

If you want to keep those pesky injuries at bay and unlock your full running potential, hitting the gym is non-negotiable. We’re talking about serious gains here, people. If

you dream of shaving seconds off your race times and reaching your peak performance, I’m going to say it again for the folks in the back: you need to strength train.

Strength training will not only bulletproof your lower body against common running injuries like runner’s knee and stress fractures but also supercharge your running efficiency.

No more excuses, no more coconuts. It’s time to get down to business with a short, yet mighty leg strength workout designed specifically for runners like you.

In just 30 minutes, you’ll be putting those muscles to work and laying the foundation for your strongest, most resilient legs yet.

Get ready to tackle these eight runner-friendly exercises that will transform your lower body into a force to be reckoned with. From explosive plyometrics to targeted strength moves, we’ve got you covered. So, lace up those shoes, grab your water bottle, and let’s dive into this leg-sculpting adventure that will leave you feeling invincible on the track.

Let’s go!

Leg Exercise for Runners 1 – Lunges

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, quads, calves.

Begin by standing with your feet shoulder’s width apart while resting a bar on the back of your shoulders, or holding dumbbells at the side.

That’s your starting position.

Next, take a giant step forward with your right foot, keeping your left foot planted on the ground.

Bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle, while simultaneously lowering your left leg toward the floor.

To complete one rep, push back up to the starting position and switch sides.

Do 10 to 12 reps on each side to complete one set.

Aim for five sets.

Leg Exercise for Runners 2 – Calf Raises

Targeted Muscles: The calves.

Begin by standing with your heels hanging off the edge of a step or a sturdy box, holding two dumbbells by the side.

Make sure to stand as tall as you can with the back straight the entire time.

Next, drive the balls of your feet into the step, then raise your heels as high as you can, pause for a count of three, then slowly lower the heels down to the starting position.

Aim for five sets of 12 to 16 reps to complete one set.

Feel free to up the ante by increasing weight and number of reps if the exercise is not challenging enough.

Additional resource – Maintaining muscle during marathon training

Leg Exercise for Runners 3 – Squats

Targeted Muscles: Quads, glutes, calves and core.

Assume an athletic position with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward, and back straight.

Next, place a barbell across the back of your shoulders and traps, then squat down, bending the knees, until your thighs are parallel to the ground, pause for a moment, then push back up through your heels to return to starting position.

That’s one rep.

Make sure to keep your knees tracking over your toes through the squat motion.

Do 10 to 12 reps to complete one set.

Aim for five sets.

Additional reading – How to Prevent Overuse Injury

Leg Exercise for Runners 4 – Sumo Squats

Targeted Muscles: Inner thighs, and quads.

Assume a wider stand with the feet pointing further out than they would with the classic squat.

Make sure to load a barbell of a challenging weight and place it across the back of your shoulders and traps.

That’s the starting position.

Perform the sumo squat by sitting back until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then slowly come up to starting position.

Make sure to keep your back straight and knees tracking over the toes the entire movement.

You should feel your inner thighs on fire during this exercise; otherwise, you are not doing it right or are not using enough weight.

Do five sets in the 10 to 12 rep range.

Leg Exercise for Runners – 5 – Leg Presses

Targeted Muscles: Quads, glutes, calves, hamstrings.

Climb into a leg press machine, and place your feet hip-width apart on the platform.

Make sure that your heels are flat with the toes facing a bit outward.

To perform the move, slowly lower the platform until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, then press the platform back up until your legs are nearly straight.

Please don’t allow for a full locking in the knees.

Do five sets of 12 reps each.

Leg Exercise for Runners 6 – Single-leg Deadlifts

Targeted Muscles: Hamstrings, glutes.

Stands tall with feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of light dumbbells in each hand.

That’s the starting position.

Next, bend at the hips and raise your right leg behind while engaging your core muscles, then hinge forward and gradually lower your torso down as far as possible, pause for a second, then return to starting position.

Shoot for 8 deadlifts on each side to complete one set.

Aim for 5 sets.

Leg Exercise for Runners 7 – Lunges With Rotations

Targeted Muscles: Quads, glutes, calves and core.

Stand with feet wide and parallel, grab two light dumbbells with arms straight out sideways, then step forward into a lunge.

Next, lower your body into the lunge and rotate your torso 90 degrees to the right, then another 90 degrees to the left.

Next, take another step forward and repeat the motion.

Aim for 10-12 reps on each side to complete one set.

Do 5 sets.

Leg Exercise for Runners 8 – The Cable Knee Drive

Targeted Muscles: Hip flexors and glutes.

Begin this exercise by securing a strap around your right ankle then attaching it to the low cable pulley.

Next, while standing 1 to 2 feet away from the stack on one leg, drive your right knee explosively up in front your chest.

Do 10 to 12 reps on each side to complete one set.

Aim for five sets.

Additional resource – Clamshells for runners

The Best Leg Workout for Runners  – Conclusion

Here you have it! This is an amazing leg workout for runners you can do a few times a week reap huge gains.

This is a really powerful leg workout for runners. But you need to put it into action ASAP. The speed of implementation is what matters most.

In the meantime thank you for reading my blog.

David D.