Run Strong, Run Smart: 25 Essential Core Exercises for Every Runner

Are you ready to take your running to the next level? Then you’re in luck because today, I’ve got over 25 killer core exercises that will help you do just that.

But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s clear up a common misconception – running more isn’t the only way to improve your running game.

While it’s true that practice makes perfect, cross-training is an essential part of any well-rounded training program. It can improve your overall athleticism, prevent injury, and even enhance your running performance.

One of the most effective forms of cross-training for runners is strength training, specifically core training. The muscles in your core are some of the most critical muscles in your body, yet they’re often neglected in running training programs.

That’s why I’ve put together a list of the best core exercises for runners to help you strengthen those muscles and take your running game to the next level.

But before we jump into the exercises, let’s talk about why core strength is so important for runners. Not only does it improve your posture, balance, and stability, but it also helps you maintain good form and prevent injuries. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that core strength training improved running economy, which means you can run faster and longer with less effort.

So, are you ready to strengthen your core and improve your running game? Let’s get started with these killer exercises.

What Exactly Is The Core?

Let’s get to the core of the matter, shall we? Your core is much more than just a six-pack. In fact, it’s a complex network of muscles that extend beyond what meets the eye. Your core is a powerhouse of muscles connecting your pelvis, spine, and trunk to the rest of your body. Think of it as the foundation of a house – it supports and stabilizes everything on top of it.

When we talk about the core, we’re not just talking about the visible muscles that everyone obsesses over. Sure, your rectus abdominis, or “abs,” play a role, but they’re just a small piece of the puzzle. Your core also includes the transverse abdominis, which are the innermost muscles that wrap around your spine and sides, the erector spinae in your lower back, obliques on the sides of your abdomen, as well as other muscles like the glutes, scapula, flexors, and pelvic floor.

You might be wondering why does any of this matters? Well, having a strong core is essential for runners. A study published in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy found that runners who had weak hip and core muscles were more prone to injuries like shin splints and plantar fasciitis. On the other hand, a strong core can help improve your running efficiency, reduce your risk of injury, and even boost your speed and endurance.

So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, incorporating core exercises into your training program can benefit you in more ways than one. Now, let’s dive into some of the best core exercises for runners that will help you build a strong foundation for your running game.

The Benefits of Core Exercises for Runners

Core training is like laying a solid foundation for a house. Just like how a strong foundation supports the entire structure, a strong core supports your entire body during running. So, what are the benefits of core training for runners? Buckle up because we’ve got a lot to cover.

Deep Abs Help You Run Faster

Let’s start with the obvious: faster running. When you have powerful rectus and transverse muscles – your lower and deep abs – you’ll be able to generate more speed and power as you push off the ground. It’s like having a turbocharger for your running engine.

Reduce injury risk

Research has reported that a strong body is more resilient to injury. And as far as I can tell, the muscles of the core are some of the most important muscles in your body that not only ensure performance but also keep your body structure together.

Maintain Stability

Neglecting proper core work can lead to inefficient movement, creating an imbalance in your gait that can cause trouble down the road. This can lead to issues like understriding or overstriding, which can not only affect your performance but also increase your risk of injury.

Cor Muscles Protect Your Lower Back

Speaking of injury, research shows that a strong core can reduce lower back pain and lower the risk of injury to this vulnerable area. Plus, a strong body, in general, is more resilient to injury, and the muscles of the core are some of the most important muscles in your body that not only ensure performance but also keep your body structure together.

Hello Six-Pack Abs.

Strengthening your core muscles will not only help you power through the late stages of a tough run or race, keeping form and drive throughout the run/race, but it can also give you the six-pack abs you’ve always dreamed of.

Note: The information listed is by no means an exhaustive list of the benefits that core training offers, but it should give you a clear idea of what you stand to gain by adding a few simple core exercises each week.

The 25 Best Core Exercises For Runners

There are plenty of exciting exercises that can help you achieve a stronger and more toned core. Recent studies have shown that compound exercises, which engage multiple muscle groups at once, are more effective at activating your core muscles than isolated exercises like crunches or sit-ups. So why not work smarter, not harder?

Now, let’s get down to business. This beginner-friendly routine includes a mix of abs-focused moves like the classic plank and compound exercises that hit your entire core. And the best part? You can do it anywhere, whether at the office, home, or gym.


I love planks.

This tough isometric exercise hits every angle of the core.

It also works on spinal stability, vital for efficient and pain-free running.

Proper Form

Lie on your stomach and prop yourself onto your toes and elbows with your feet slightly apart.

Your toes should be about hip distance apart, with your elbows resting on the ground in a straight line under your shoulders.

Now lift and straighten your body to form a straight line from your head to your heel. Keep your core muscles engaged throughout the exercise.

Gaze at the floor while keeping your head relaxed and stress-free.

Hold the plank position for 45 seconds.

For more of a challenge:

Hold the position for a full minute or more as you get stronger.

Additional Reading  – Does running give you abs?

Side Planks

This plank variation strengthens the obliques while building endurance throughout the core.

Just make sure you engage your obliques the entire time.

No cheating allowed!

Proper Form

Lie on your side, supporting your upper body on your lower forearm while holding your top arm at your side or up in the air.

Your feet should stack on top of each other.

While lifting your body, keep a straight diagonal line from your head to your feet.

Hold the position for 30 seconds to one full minute, then switch sides.

Balance Plank

An advanced plank variation that builds strength and endurance throughout the body.

Proper Form

Assume a plank position.

While keeping a straight line from your head to toe, hold the position, making sure your lower back, glutes, and abs are all engaged.

While holding the position, extend your left arm in front of you, return to position and then extend your right arm.

Then return to position and lift your right Leg off of the ground behind you, return to position and repeat with the left Leg.

Hold each new position for 3 to 5 seconds, and repeat the cycle for 45 seconds.

For even more of a challenge: Hold each position longer, or do crunches in a plank position by bringing your left elbow down to meet your right knee while lifting the knee, then switch sides.

Russian Twists

Russian twists are some of the best exercises for firing up side muscles.

Proper Form

Have a 5- to 15-pound medicine ball or weight next to you.

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt

Keeping your back straight, lean back slightly without rounding your spine to a 45-degree angle, and raise your feet off the floor.

Pick up the weight and hold it at chest level, then twist to the right, reaching with the ball as far behind you as possible.

Pause, then rotate to the other side.

Keep alternating sides.

For more of a challenge: Use a heavier medicine ball or dumbbell, or do more reps.


The Superman exercise targets your lower back muscles, vital for maintaining stability in the hip region.

Proper Form

Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended and raise your head off the floor slightly to look like Superman in flight.

While holding this pose, raise your left arm with your right leg roughly 3 to 5 inches off the floor, holding for a 5-second count.

Slowly lower your arm and Leg, and switch sides. Repeat for 45 seconds.

For more of a challenge: Hold the Superman pose longer and do more reps.

Single-Leg Glute Bridge

This excellent core exercise mainly targets the glutes, but other core muscles work hard as well.

Proper Form

Lie on your back with your legs bent at almost 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the floor.

While engaging your core, lift your hips off the ground, so there’s a straight line from your knees to your shoulder.

Extend your right Leg with your toes pointing toward the ceiling.

Hold for a moment, then lower your Leg to the floor and repeat on the other side.

Continue for 45 seconds.

Make sure to use good form throughout the exercise.

No sagging or dipping of the butt is allowed.

For more of a challenge: Flex your legs and reach them as high as you can while solely relying on your glutes to support you the entire time.

Windshield Wipers

Also known as metronomes, this is a powerful core exercise for your obliques.

It’s also key for building rotational core strength, another vital component of good performance.

Proper Form

Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and raised over your hips and your ankles parallel to the floor.

While engaging your core muscles and keeping your hips in contact with the floor, rotate your legs to the right, hold for a moment, then bring them back up and repeat the movement on the other side.

Aim for at least eight reps on each side.

Avoid swinging too fast and using the momentum of the movement.

For more of a challenge: Flex your toes and keep your Leg straight while doing the exercise, or hold the pose longer on each side.

Scorpion Planks:

This tough move will not only give your core a tough workout but also build strength and mobility in your upper body.

Scorpion planks also help you stretch out your hip flexors and obliques, which are often neglected.

Proper Form

Assume a push-up position with your hands on the floor and the balls of your feet resting on a low chair or a bench.

Keep your back and legs aligned in a straight form.

Lift your left Leg off the bench and cross your knee under your body toward your right shoulder as far as you can, then return it to the bench and do the same with your right knee and left shoulder.

Repeat for 45 seconds

For more of a challenge, add a push-up to the top of every scorpion move you make.

The Boat

A fantastic exercise to strengthen your erector spinae, rectus abdominis, and the hip flexors.

Proper form

Begin by sitting up straight on the floor with your knees bet, feet flat on the floor, and back straight.

Next, hold your arms out in front of you as you slowly lift your feet off the floor while keeping them together until they form a 45-degree angle to your torso.

Active your entire core, balance on your tailbone, and keep your back flat the whole time.

Extend your legs so they’re straight and your body forms a V shape.

Hold the pose for a count of 10, slowly lower your legs, then repeat.

Reach your arms straight in front of you while keeping them parallel to the ground.

For more support, feel free to place your hands on the ground or underneath your hips.

Dead Bug

The dead bug (which looks exactly like it sounds) is an awesome exercise for connecting your mind to your core.

It’s an all-encompassing core move that works your deep inner core, mainly the diaphragm, transverse abdominis, multifidus, and pelvic floor; what’s not to like.

Proper form

Begin by laying on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling, directly over your shoulders, and legs in a tabletop position (both knees bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips).

Lower your left arm and right Leg at the same time until they’re hovering just above the ground, then slowly return to starting position.

Keep both knees hovering a few inches from the floor.

Engage your core and squeeze your body throughout the exercise, lower back pressed into the floor.

Slowly extend your left leg straight while dropping your right arm overhead at the same time.

Kneeling Extension

Another great move that keeps your core muscles strong, as well as helps prevent lower back pain.

Proper Form

Begin by kneeling on all fours, with your hands beneath your shoulders and knees directly under your hips.

Activate your core muscles and slowly raise your left arm and extend it straight forward.

Slowly lift your right Leg and extend it straight back, and point your toes down.

Hold the pose for a count of ten and slowly lower to starting position, and switch sides.

Repeat five times on each side.

Bicycle Crunches

Regular crunches are too boring.

Spice them up with bicycle crunches.

It’s beginner-friendly, and can be done anywhere, but it’s also challenging.

This is one of the best core exercises you can do—and one of my favorites—targeting not only the usual abs but also the obliques and deep abs.

Proper Form

Lie flat on the ground, with your lower back pressed flat into the ground, knees bent, and head and shoulders raised slightly above it.

Next, place your hands lightly behind your head, then bring your knees toward your chest and raise your shoulder blade off the floor, but be sure not to pull on the back of your neck.

Bring one knee up towards your armpit while straightening the other Leg, keeping both elevated higher than your hips.

Rotate your torso as much as possible so you can touch your elbow to the opposite knee as it comes up.

As you perform the movement, twist through your core as the opposite arm comes towards the elevated knee.

Focus on moving through your core as you turn your torso.

Don’t feel like you have to touch the elbow to knee, but it’s a worthy goal to have.

Additional resource – Guide to running lingo

Scissors kick

Begin by laying on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor, and hands underneath the lower back for support.

Next, lift your left leg one inch off the ground while extending the right Leg to the ceiling, then kick the legs, toes pointed. Keep alternating back and forth so that it looks like a scissor motion.

Engage your abs throughout the exercise.

Aim for eight reps on each side to complete one set.

Glute kickback

Start by kneeling on the floor, on all fours, hips lined over the knee, hands directly under the shoulders, and back parallel to the floor.

Next, lift your right leg until your hamstrings are in line with your back, pause, and then slowly lower your Leg back to starting position, then switch sides to complete one rep.

Continue alternating between legs.

The Bridge

Lay flat on the ground with hands on the side and knees bent. Next, raise your hips off the ground by pushing with the heels.

Next, squeeze your glutes for a moment as hard as possible to keep the hips up.

Then take three to five seconds to slowly lower back to the ground to complete one rep.

Mountain climbers

Assume a push-up position, so your hands are directly under your chest at shoulder-width apart with straight arms.

Next, while holding the upper body steady, raise your right foot off the ground, bring the knee as close to the chest as possible, then repeat with the left Leg.

Continue alternating right knee, then left knee to the chest, as fast as possible while keeping good form.

Aim for 16 to 20 reps to complete one set.

Swiss-ball Roll-out

Begin by kneeling on a mat or the floor, elbows bent under the shoulders and resting tightly on a stability ball and core engaged.

To perform the Swiss ball roll-outs, roll the ball forward on the elbows as far as possible, then slowly roll back to starting position while keeping the back straight the entire time.

That’s one repetition.

Do three sets of 15 reps each.

Cross-climber with Feet on a Swiss Ball

Assume a standard push-up position, arms straight, shins resting firmly on a Swiss ball.

Be sure that your body is forming a straight line from the head to the ankles.

Next, while bracing the core and keeping the back straight, raise the right Leg off the ball and bring the right toward the left elbow, hold it for a moment, then move the right Leg to start position, and repeat on the other side, left knee to right elbow this time.

That’s one rep.

Do 12 reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Medicine Ball V-up

Hold a med ball, and lie on your back with legs straight and arms directly above the head.

That’s the starting position.

Next, while keeping the elbows straight the entire time, lift your torso and legs as you bring the ball toward your feet, pause for a count of three, then slowly lower back to starting position.

That’s one rep.

Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps each.

Spider-man Plank Crunch

Begin in a classic plank position with your forearms on the mat and body straight from head to ankles.

Next, raise your right Leg, and bring your right knee in towards the right elbow, hold it for a moment, then move your Leg back to plank position and switch sides.

Make sure to engage your core and keep your body steady and straight throughout the movement.

Keep alternating sides for a total of 16 reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Double Mountain Climber

Get into a push-up position with hands a bit wider than the shoulders.

Next, jump both of your feet up towards the hands, with the knees coming just outside of the elbows, pause for a second, then push back to starting position in one continuous and explosive motion.

Do at least 25 reps on each side to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Jump Squats

Assume an athletic position and stand as tall as you can with the feet spread shoulder-width apart.

Next, while keeping your back straight and head up, squat down until the knees are bent at roughly 90 degrees; then, as soon as you reach the bottom part of the squat, jump up explosive in the air by mainly pressing with the balls of your feet, using the thighs like springs.

Move into the next rep as soon as you land on the floor.

Do 12 to 16 reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Plank with Alternating arm and Leg Raise

Assume a standard push-up position with both arms straight, fingers pointed forward, and core activated.

Next, raise your right arm and left Leg, then extend and straighten them both until they are parallel to the floor, hold it for a count of three, then repeat to starting positing and switches sides.

Do eight reps on each side to complete one set.

Shoot for three sets.

Core Exercises For Runners – The Conclusion

As runners, we are constantly pushing ourselves to go the extra mile, striving for those moments of euphoria as we conquer new distances and personal records. But beneath the surface of our powerful strides lies a crucial foundation that determines our success: a strong core. Throughout this article, we have explored the vital role that core exercises play in enhancing our running performance and preventing injuries.

From the fiery intensity of planks to the graceful fluidity of mountain climbers, these exercises have proven to be the unsung heroes of the running world. They strengthen the muscles deep within our torsos, creating a solid support system that propels us forward with each step. The science is clear—runners who incorporate regular core workouts into their training routines experience improved stability, increased endurance, and reduced risk of common injuries.

But let’s not forget the benefits that extend beyond the physical realm. Engaging in core exercises unlocks mental fortitude as our bodies become a harmonious symphony of strength and resilience. It is through these workouts that we tap into our hidden potential, discovering the power within ourselves to overcome challenges on the road and in life.

Imagine your core as the anchor to your running vessel—a steadfast force that keeps you grounded amidst the ever-changing terrain. As you engage in exercises like Russian twists, bicycle crunches, and leg raises, envision your core as a sturdy oak tree, its roots growing deep into the earth, providing stability and unwavering support.

Research has shown that runners who diligently incorporate core exercises into their training routines experience a myriad of benefits. Not only are they less likely to be sidelined by injuries, but they also possess the agility and strength needed to conquer demanding terrains and reach new heights. By honing our cores, we unlock the potential to become running legends, blazing trails with every stride.

So, dear runners, let us embrace the power of the core. Let us make these exercises a cornerstone of our training programs and witness the transformative effects they have on our running journeys. The path ahead may be challenging, but with a strong core as our ally, we have the foundation to conquer any race, any goal, and any dream.

Run Strong, Run Far: The Ultimate Strength Training Program for Runners

woman running in trail

Are you ready to take your running game to the next level? Then you come to the right place.

Here at Runners Blueprint, I firmly believe in the power of a well-rounded training program that includes strength training.

As runners, we tend to focus solely on pounding the pavement and logging miles, but that’s only part of the equation. Incorporating weightlifting into your routine can help prevent injuries, improve your running economy, and ultimately help you reach your goals faster.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. “Weightlifting? That’s not for me. I’ve never lifted a weight in my life!” But don’t worry, my friend.

In today’s post, I’m going to break down the basics of weight lifting for runners. I’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to design a strength training program that will work for you, whether you’re a seasoned weightlifter or a complete beginner.

So, are you ready to experience the same benefits? Let’s get started on designing the ultimate strength training program for runners!

What Is Strength Training?

Strength training is like a secret weapon for runners. While many runners focus solely on pounding the pavement, a well-designed strength training program can provide a wide range of benefits, from injury prevention to improved running performance.

But what exactly is strength training? In simple terms, it’s any form of exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance, whether that be weights, machines, or even just your own body weight. And while the idea of lifting heavy weights might seem intimidating, there are plenty of options for creating resistance that requires little to no equipment at all.

In fact, research shows that bodyweight exercises like push-ups and squats can be just as effective for building strength and improving endurance as traditional weight-lifting exercises. And the benefits don’t stop there. Strength training has also been shown to help prevent injuries, improve bone density, and boost metabolism (more on this later).

And what’s the best part? You don’t need fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership to get started. With just a few basic exercises and some simple guidelines, you can start reaping the benefits of strength training in no time.

The Importance of a Strength Training For Runners

So why should runners bother with strength training in the first place? Let’s check a few reasons:

Improved Performance

A 2020 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that a 12-week combined endurance and strength training program improved running performance and muscle strength in female recreational runners. The researchers found that the combined training group had a significant improvement in 10 km run time, running economy, and muscle strength compared to the endurance-only group.

Improved Running Economy

A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance found that a 6-week strength training program improved running economy in collegiate distance runners. The researchers found that the strength-trained group had a 2.9% increase in running economy compared to the control group that did not perform strength training.

Fix Muscle Imbalances

Regular resistance training can help correct muscle imbalances and mobility issues—the root cause of many an overuse injury.

Said otherwise, strength training can help safeguard your body against trouble.

Improved VO2 Max

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a 12-week strength training program improved maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) in recreational runners. The researchers found that the strength-trained group had a 5.7% increase in VO2 max compared to the control group that did not perform strength training.

You Won’t Bulk up

If you’re shying away from strength training because you’re afraid of bulking up, then stop it.

The fact is, with the right resistance training program, you’ll be able to boost your muscle strength and density with no drastic increases in muscle mass and weight.

Arms Strength And Running

Arms strength is key to a runner’s efficiency. With every foot strike, you’re pumping your arms. The stronger the arms, the more power you generate.

It Makes You Stronger In general.

Adding strength to your upper body makes you more athletic in general.  Once you start spending more time strengthening your upper body, you’ll be surprised at how easy others exercises will get. I’m talking about real technique, not overcompensation which we all know it’s cheating.

Almost every workout you do, from Yoga to HIIT classes, contains upper-body exercises, such as push-ups, planks, and press-ups—all of which call for a decent level of upper-body strength.

Prevent Injury

Injuries are an inevitable part of being a runner. The cumulative stress of regularly logging the miles will, sooner or later, take a toll on your body.

Soreness, aches, cramps, strains, and inflammation can all plague the neck, arms, shoulders, and back. Again, strengthening your upper body is one step toward helping you keep and improve technique.

Increased Resting Metabolism

When you build muscle mass, you increase your resting metabolism, and that helps your body shed more calories.

Muscle is active tissue. Every pound of muscle burns about six calories per day at rest. In fact, a pound of muscle burns roughly three times as many calories as a pound of fat—that’s quite a lot. That’s why strength training is often recommended for people trying to lose weight.

Additional resource – Keeping muscle during marathon training

 It Takes Little Time

As a runner, you do not need to become a full-time Olympic weightlifter to start reaping the benefits of resistance training.

Logging in two to three sessions a week (even if it’s just a simple body-weight workout)  is enough for making the most out of your strength training since your main aim is improving running performance, speed, and endurance—not necessarily in that exact order.

Beginner Strength Running Plan For Beginners

If you are just starting out, take your training slowly and make sure to alternate between weight-lifting and running days.

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, alternating between strength training and cardio on different days can result in better performance improvements than doing both on the same day.

Otherwise, you’re risking overtraining, which can lead to injury and slow down your progress.

As a beginner, start with two strength workouts a week for three to four weeks, then add a third workout in month two.

Research shows that beginners can achieve strength gains with just two workouts per week.

Shoot for at least 20 to 30 minutes per session, then gradually add time and intensity until you’re lifting hard for 50 to 60 minutes a session.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that a longer duration of resistance exercise led to greater muscle hypertrophy, or growth, in untrained individuals.

Don’t Rush

Focus on bodyweight training to improve all-around strength and stability, and should wait for at least a couple of months before incorporating heavy weights.

According to a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, bodyweight training can improve muscular endurance, strength, and power in untrained individuals.

The beginner routines shared below consist of low to medium-intensity exercises, with the primary purpose of building a base of core strength and endurance on which to base more challenging exercises.

The beginner training schedule is suitable for runners with less than 8 to 12 weeks of strength or core training experience while following a routine that involves strength training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (as shown in the training sample below).

Additional resource – Clamshells for runners

The Concept of Training Split

To schedule your workouts the right way, you need first to determine what weight training split and weekly schedule to opt for.

If you are already familiar with strength training, then you know about splits and how they are used.

If not, then below is a simple explanation and description.

The most common and widely tested is the 3-day full body split.

This simple method is recommended for a beginner with any goal.

The Exact Weekly Breakdown

The Exact Weekly Breakdown

In case you have no idea what that means, here is an example of a training week:

  • Monday: Strength Workout A
  • Tuesday: Run
  • Wednesday: Strength Workout B
  • Thursday: Run
  • Friday: Strength Workout C
  • Saturday: Run
  • Sunday: Rest

Sure, this might sound simplistic, but if you’re serious about achieving consistency during the first few weeks and months, you need to keep your training simple.

Otherwise, if it’s too complicated or intense, chances are you’re not going to stick with it for the long haul.

The Bodyweight Routine – The Beginner

Research has shown that bodyweight training can be just as effective as weightlifting in improving strength and power as long as you progressively increase the difficulty of the exercises.

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and lunges can improve muscle strength and endurance in both novice and advanced athletes.

When it comes to bodyweight training, the possibilities are almost endless. You can start with basic exercises such as glute bridges, planks, and bodyweight squats and progress to more challenging movements such as pistol squats and one-arm push-ups. You can also use tools like TRX bands, medicine balls, and resistance bands to add variety and challenge to your workouts.

But remember, consistency is key. Stick to a few basic exercises that feel comfortable and natural to you, and gradually increase the reps, sets, and intensity. To get you started, here are three exemplary workouts that target different areas of the body.

Workout A is the upper body routine, which includes exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and dips to strengthen your chest, back, and arms.

Workout B is the lower body routine, which includes exercises such as lunges, squats, and calf raises to build strong and stable legs.

Finally, Workout C is the full-body routine, which combines upper and lower body exercises into a high-intensity circuit.

Remember, the key to success is consistency and progression. As you get stronger and more comfortable with the exercises, increase the reps, sets, or difficulty level to keep challenging your body.

Workout A: The Upper Body Routine

Perform as many reps as possible with good form of the following exercises

  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Planks
  • Dips
  • Set-ups

Repeat three to five times

Workout B: The Lower Body Routine

Perform as many reps as possible with good form of the following exercises

Repeat three to five times

Workout C: The Full Body Routine

Perform as many reps as possible with good form of the following exercises

  • Military push-ups
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Hindu Pushups
  • Burpees
  • Plyo Lunges

Repeat three to five times.

Additional resource – ITBS guide

The Intermediate Running and Strength Training Weekly Schedule

Are you ready to take your running and strength training to the next level? Then let’s dive into the intermediate weekly schedule. Designed for runners with 3 to 12 months of strength training experience, this routine will take your fitness game to new heights.

But don’t worry, and you won’t need to spend hours at the gym to see significant gains. Just aim for three 30 to 45-minute sessions each week, focusing on full-body exercises that hit every major muscle group.

Think of full-body exercises as the bread and butter of strength training. They’re functional, efficient, and perfect for busy runners. Deadlifts, squats, bench presses, and more will help you get more done in less time. And research has shown that these multi-joint exercises lead to greater muscle activation and overall strength gains compared to isolation exercises.

Workout A—The Upper Body Workout

So, what will you be doing in each workout? In the upper body workout, you’ll perform 8 to 12 reps of the following exercises:

  • Shoulder presses
  • Standing dumbbell curls
  • Push-ups
  • Bench presses
  • Pull-ups

Complete three sets.

Workout B—The Lower Body Workout

Perform 8 to 12 reps of the following exercises:

  • Weighted Squats
  • Dumbbell swings
  • Leg presses
  • Weighted Calf Raises
  • Weighted Lunges

Complete three sets.

Workout C: The Full Body Workout

Perform 8 to 12 reps of the following exercises:

  • Deadlifts
  • Triceps Dips
  • Turkish get-ups
  • Plyo box jumps
  • Floor presses

Complete three sets.

The Gym/Equipment Option – Advanced Program

What if you’ve been strength training for a year or more and want to diversify your routine? Then it’s time to hit the gym and take on the advanced program. With free weights, kettlebells, and machines at your disposal, you’ll be able to create a diverse range of strength training exercises to challenge your body.

Whether you choose the 3-day or 4-day workout routine, aim for two to three sets of 8 to 10 reps of each exercise with 60 to 90 seconds of rest in between. You’ll train different muscle groups each day, focusing on the triceps, shoulders, chest, core, legs, back, and biceps.

The 3-Day Workout Routine

Workout I

Train your triceps, shoulders, and chest

Workout II

Train your core and legs

Workout III

Train your biceps and back.

The 4-Day Workout Routine

After at least 6 to 9 months of strength training, and if you want to really push your strength training, here is a four-day strength workout routine to follow.

Workout I

Back and biceps

Workout II

Chest and Triceps

Workout III

Legs and core

Workout IV


Weight Lifting For Runners – The Conclusion

Ultimately, building strength and muscle is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, dedication, and a willingness to adapt and evolve your routine as you go. But with consistency and patience, you’ll soon be calling yourself a true strength training aficionado.

And the best part? You’ll have the results to show for it. So lace up those sneakers, grab those dumbbells, and get ready to transform your body and mind through the power of resistance training.

Thank you for dropping by.

David D.

The 16 Best Bodyweight Exercises For Runners (& How to Start Body Weight Training)

female runner doing Bodyweight Exercises

So, you’ve heard about bodyweight exercises, and you’re itching to give them a try, but where on earth do you begin?

Fear not, because you’re about to embark on an exciting fitness journey, and I’ve got your back every step of the way.

Let’s face it, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a complete newbie to the world of exercise, bodyweight training, also known as calisthenics, is a game-changer.

It’s not some secret fitness society; it’s the path to improving your fitness, shedding those extra pounds, and sculpting the body you’ve always dreamed of.

The beauty of calisthenics lies in its simplicity. All you need is yourself and a bit of space, making it the ultimate workout choice for your home, the gym, or wherever your adventurous spirit takes you.

Now, before you start envisioning yourself attempting gravity-defying stunts, relax! I’m here to tell you that calisthenics is more attainable than you might think. It’s not rocket science; it’s about harnessing the power of your body.

In this comprehensive guide, I’m not only going to demystify the world of bodyweight training but also empower you with the knowledge and skills you need to get started. Get ready to dive into the benefits of calisthenics, the essentials for beginners, fundamental exercises, technique tips, and much more.

Excited? Let’s get going.

What are Bodyweight Training Exercises?

As the name suggests, bodyweight training is all about using your own body as your trusty workout tool.

It’s like turning yourself into a human resistance machine, minus the need for fancy equipment like bars, dumbbells, or exercise machines.

Your body becomes your ultimate gym buddy.

Now, you might wonder, what kind of exercises am I talking about here? The possibilities are endless, ranging from the classic push-ups and pull-ups to more advanced moves like muscle-ups and jackhammers.

Whether you’re just starting your fitness journey or you’re already a seasoned pro, there’s a bodyweight exercise for you.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the benefits that bodyweight training has to offer.

Bodyweight Exercises Benefits For Runners

Imagine getting in the best shape of your life without shelling out those hefty gym fees or feeling confined to the four walls of a fitness center.

Sounds like a dream, right? Well, it’s time to wake up because bodyweight exercises are here to make that dream a reality!

The beauty of bodyweight training lies in its sheer convenience. You can kiss those complicated gym machines and pricey equipment goodbye. All you need is yourself, a solid routine, and a dash of determination.

It’s fitness on your terms, anytime and anywhere.

Now, let’s talk simplicity. Bodyweight exercises are as straightforward as it gets, and they grow with you. Whether you’re a beginner just dipping your toes into the fitness waters or a seasoned pro looking for a challenge, there’s always a bodyweight move that suits your level.

But wait, there’s more! You’re about to dive into a workout routine that will push your limits. It’s all about high-intensity bodyweight exercises that’ll have you sweating bullets, with well-deserved recovery periods in between to catch your breath.

Here’s the deal: give it your all during every interval.

We’re talking 110% effort here, while keeping that good form as your trusty sidekick.

By the time you finish this routine, you should feel like you’ve given it everything you’ve got.

If you’re not completely wiped out, well, you’ve got more in the tank, my friend!

The 16 Best Bodyweight Exercises For Runners

Here’s the golden rule: form is your best friend, especially if you’re new to the game. The technique you adopt now will stick with you as you progress on your bodyweight training journey.

Don’t be discouraged if push-ups and pull-ups feel challenging at first. Remember, everyone starts somewhere, and Rome wasn’t built in a day! Once you’ve got these basics down pat, you’ll find that those fancy moves you’ve been eyeing are much more achievable.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 1. Air squats


Bodyweight squats are wonderful multi-joint exercises that target almost every muscle in your lower body.

They are also key for boosting endurance, especially if you are doing any type of running, biking, and swimming.

Here are some of the common mistakes:

  • Rounding the shoulders and curving the back as you squat.
  • Excessive forward knee bending until they extend past the toes.
  • Knees falling inward or outward.
  • Dumping weight into the toes places strain on the knee joints.
  • Misalignment of the knees and toes.

Proper Form

Begin by standing with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, your toes should be slightly turned out, with the arms resting at your sides.

Next, while bracing your core and pulling your shoulder blades in towards each other, start squatting by bending your knees slowly while putting most of your body weight onto your heels.

Make sure to keep your knees aligned over your ankles and back straight the entire time.

As soon as you reach the bottom of the squat, press back up through the heel and return to the standing position.

Do this exercise slowly and gradually at first, but as you master proper form, be sure to speed it up to boost the cardiovascular activity and burn some mad calories during this exercise.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 2. Push-ups

The push-up is a classic bodyweight exercise targeting the upper body and core. It works the biceps, triceps, and pecks like nothing else—as long as you perform it right.

Not only bad push-up form is a waste of time and energy, but it could also lead to lower back pain and severe shoulder and wrist issues.

Here are some of the common push-up pitfalls:

  • Lifting the butt high in the air.
  • Performing half a push-up—not going low or high enough.
  • Sinking the hips down.
  • Holding the breath.
  • Placing the palms in front of the shoulders.
  • Keeping the chin too close to the chest.
  • Poor head position.
  • Putting the hands too far forward.
  • Not fully straightening the arms on the push-up.

Proper Form

Begin by setting up your weight supported onto your toes and hands.  Place your hands underneath your shoulders, then extend your legs straight out behind you. Keep your head in a neutral position, arms, and hands slightly below your shoulders, fingers pointing forwards.

Tighten your core, squeeze your butt, then lower your body until your chest is an inch or two above the floor, elbows pulling back at about a 45-degree, then rise back up by fully extending your arms. That’s one rep.

Engage your core and buttocks, and keep your elbows tucked into your sides throughout the movement. This helps keep your body in a straight line from head to heels.

Can’t perform a single push-up? Use a bench or an elevated surface to put your hands on. I won’t recommend dropping to your knees as it instills lousy form.

As you get stronger, opt for lower surfaces for your hands until you can do clean pushups with no assistance.

Push-up variations: Military pushups, wide-stance pushups, incline/decline pushups, archer push-ups, one-hand push-ups, Hindu push-ups, etc.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – Plank

The plank is one of the most basic core exercises out there, but it’s not as simple as you might think. It’s actually one of the most common mistakes when it comes to technique.

Planks are versatile exercises that increase core strength and relieve the lower back. But if performed wrong, they can do more harm than good.

Here are some of the common form errors:

  • Not engaging the core muscles
  • Sinking the hips
  • Arching the back
  • Looking up straight ahead
  • Tilting the hips
  • Positioning the hands too far apart
  • Placing the arms behind or in front of the shoulders
  • Lifting up the hips too high
  • Bringing the shoulders beyond the elbows
  • Not engaging the legs and butt

Proper Form

Begin on your knees and hands in the classic tabletop position.

Position your elbows underneath your shoulder, then tuck your toes and, lift your knees off the floor, and look straight toward the floor.

Engage your shoulder muscles and keep your neck aligned in a neutral position, feet together, and toes touching the ground.

Readjust your hand position until your wrists are lined up under your shoulders.

Hold the plank position for as long as possible without losing form.

Plank variations: low plank arm reach, reverse plank side start plank, low side plank, extended plank, low side plank crunch, forearm plank, etc.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 4. Bench Dips

Also known as a triceps dip, this is a classic bodyweight exercise. Dips target the chest and triceps and are best performed off the platform of a chair or a bench.

Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:

  • Not going low enough or going too low
  • Moving too fast
  • Flaring the elbows to the side
  • Not engaging the core
  • Gazing at the ceiling
  • Butt tilting

Proper Form

Start facing away from a chair or bench, then the front of the platform with both hands shoulder-width distance apart, extending your legs out in front of you.

Engage your core and flex at the elbows to slowly lower your body until your arm at the forearm forms a 90-degree angle. Pause at the bottom for a moment, then lift yourself powerfully using your triceps. That’s one rep.

Once you can breeze through 12 to 16 reps, move on to a more advanced move, like a close grip push-up.

Bench Dips Variations: band-assisted dips, dip to leg raise, assisted dip machine, weighted dips, jumping dips with negatives, etc.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 5. Pull-ups

Pull-ups are maybe the best back exercise and are better done with a pull-up bar. It’s also one of the hardest, so take your time and start with easier variations.

Here are some common pull-up mistakes:

  • Not getting the chin above the bar
  • Gripping too wide
  • Staying straight as an arrow
  • Not using the full range of motion
  • Letting the elbow flare
  • Not keeping the back flat
  • Not keeping the shoulders back
  • Not going to “dead hang.”

Proper Form

Grab a horizontal bar with both hands, palm facing away from you and hands at shoulder-width apart.

Next, while flexing your traps and shifting your shoulders up and back, pull your body up toward the bar, then slowly lower down to complete one rep.

Pull-ups variations: chair-assisted pull-ups, close grip pull-ups, wide grip pulls, butterfly pull-ups, kipping pull-ups, etc.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 6. The Bridge

Also known as the hip raise, the bridge is a fantastic pose for increasing strength in the hamstrings, back, and glutes.

When performed incorrectly, the bridge can lead to neck, lower, back, or knee issues.

Here are some of the common blunders:

  • Lengthening the muscles within the quads
  • Having the feet too close to the butt.
  • Lifting the heels off the ground
  • Not keeping the toes in line with the knees
  • Put too much force on the head and neck

Proper Form

Begin by lying down flat on your back. Pull your shoulders back and down.

Place your arms alongside your body, then bend your knees and place your feet on the ground, a hip-width distance apart.

Walk your feet back towards your butt, then, on the inhale, press into your arms and feet to lift your hips towards the ceiling. Squeeze your glutes as you rise to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.

While keeping your knees, hips, and chest aligned, hold the top of the movement for three to ten seconds. Do not let your hips sag or drop.

Slowly lower down and repeat.

Bridge variations: single leg bridge, bridge with a squeeze, weighed bridge, pulsating bridge, etc.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 7. Lunges

Another fantastic lower body exercise for building up the glutes and the quads.

Lunges also help improve coordination and balance, and they’re great for improving proprioception.

But they are also extremely and commonly easy to get wrong. Bad technique doesn’t just look sloppy; it could also cause injury.

Avoid these common pitfalls:

  • Bending the torso forward
  • Leaning forward or back
  • Turning the foot inward
  • Externally rotating the back knee
  • Lowering the rear knee too fast
  • Not maintaining a straight-back
  • Losing balance
  • Taking very short strides forward or backward
  • Extending the knee past the toes on the lunge
  • Shifting the weight from the heel to the toes—or riding the toes.
  • Pushing the hips forward

Proper Form

Assume an athletic position, with the feet hip-width apart, back flat, and core engaged.

Take a slow, controlled step forward with your right leg as far as possible. Your front heel is roughly two feet in front of your rear knee as it bends toward the ground.

While keeping the weight in the heels and spine flat, lower your body until both of your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Avoid leaning back or forward throughout the movement.

Hold for a moment, then take a big step forward with your left leg. Keep alternating the legs to move forward across the floor. Avoid bouncing or using too much momentum.

Lunge variations: jumping lunges, static lunges, isometric lunges, reverse lunges, step-ups, reverse lunges, rear foot elevated lunges, lung with reach, weighted lunges, etc.

Hardest Bodyweight Exercises For Runners

Once you master the basic bodyweight movements, make your workouts more challenging by adding the following exercises.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 8. Spiderman Plank Crunch


This awesome exercise will not only raise your heart rate through the roof, but it will also test your core strength and balance to the breaking point.

Proper Form

To do them right, start in a standard plank position with your body perfectly straight from head to toe, forearms firmly resting on a mat.

Make sure to keep your back straight and core engaged the entire time.

Next, lift your right foot off the floor, then bring your right knee forward towards your right elbow, pause, and slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat on the other side to complete one rep.

Alternate sides for a total of 12 reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 9. Dive Bomber Pushups


These are my favorite types of a push-up. Also known as the Hindu push-ups, this exercise can help you tone up almost every muscle in your body while providing you with a killer cardiovascular workout

Proper Form

This will push your heart rate to the max.

So, make sure to pace yourself here.

Begin in a downward dog position with your butt elevated in the air and feet spread roughly shoulder width.

Make sure your body is forming an inverted “V’ shape with your head down.

Next, lower your chest to the floor by bending your elbows toward the floor until your chest almost touches it, then push forward into a dip motion to an upward dog position.

Pause for a moment, then return back to the standing position to complete one rep.

Do ten reps to complete one set, aiming to perform three total sets.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 10. Side plank crunch


Planks are some of the best bodyweight exercises, so make sure to do a lot of them.

However, the variations I’m sharing with you today will not only test your core mettle, but they will also drive your heart rate through the roof.

Side plank crunches strengthen the obliques and the deep ab muscles, and they are an awesome cardiovascular exercise.

Proper Form

Begin in a standard plank position with legs together, back straight, and core engaged.

Then, lean to your left side while lifting your right arm up toward the ceiling, bend your right elbow, and place your right hand behind your head.

Next, while keeping your right shoulder tracking over your right hand and hip raised the entire time, bend your right knee and bring it in to touch your top elbow, and start performing crunches.

Do eight reps on each side to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 11. Pike Jumps


This is another awesome core exercise that will help you develop core strength and stability while hitting your hips and quads hard and pushing your cardiovascular endurance to the limit.

Proper Form

Begin in a standard plank position with palms on the ground, core engaged, back perfectly straight, and hands directly beneath your shoulders.

Make sure to form a straight line from your head to your heels.

Next, while engaging your core, jump your feet together and forward and assume a pike position with your butt raised in the air, pause for a moment, then jump back to the plank position while making sure to keep the hands firmly placed on the ground.

That’s one rep.

Do 16 reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 12. Jump Squats


Jump squats are some of the best plyometric exercises you can do to develop explosive power, which is key to building your muscles’ ability to generate force more quickly.

This exercise mainly works the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes—vital running muscles.

Proper Form

Stand as straight as possible with the feet spread shoulder-width apart, arms hanging at the sides, and core engaged.

Next, while keeping your chest up and back straight, squat down by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Be sure to keep your back straight, and knee is tracking over your toes.

Then, while pressing mainly with the ball of your feet, jump up explosively in the air as high as you can, using the thighs like springs.

As soon as you land on the floor, go straight away to the next squat and jump again.

Do 20 reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 13. Windshield Wipers


This awesome core exercise is ideal for targeting the rectus abdominis and obliques muscles to activate and strengthen your core stabilizing muscles, which are crucial for keeping your trunk steady and good posture while you are running.

Proper Form

Start out by lying down on your back, then raise your legs to a 90-degree angle.

For more support, feel free to spread your arms straight out to your sides.

Next, to perform this exercise, rotate your legs to your right side, stopping short of touching the floor, pause for a moment, press back up, then turn to the left side, and press back to the starting position to complete one rep.

Make sure your legs are moving from side to side in a “windshield wiper” motion.

As you get stronger, make it more challenging by bringing your arms closer to your sides so they offer less support.

Do ten slow reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 14. Single Leg Elevated Glute Bridge


As you may already know, glutes are the source of power when it comes to running.

The good news is the single-leg elevated glute bridge exercise is one of the best exercises that target these large and powerful muscles.

Strong glutes can help you run faster and longer while preventing common injury.

Plus, it also builds balance and coordination.

Proper Form

Lie down on your back with your feet flat, and knees bent, and ankles hip-distance apart, then raise your right leg off the floor, pulling the knee to your chest.

This is the starting position.

Make sure to extend your right leg as straight as possible toward the ceiling.

Next, to perform this exercise, raise your glutes off the floor by driving through the heels and extending your hip upward.

Be sure to extend your right leg as far as you can, hold it for 30 seconds to one full minute, then slowly lower your leg down and switch sides to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 15. Side Lunges

This is a unique variation of the standard lunge that builds strength in the hamstring, abductors, quadriceps, and glutes. This lateral exercise is also great for coordination.

When side lunges are performed incorrectly, they can result in pain or injury to the lower back, hips, and knees.

Here are some of the common form errors:

  • Not keeping the torso upright and engaged core
  • Extending the knees out too far
  • Stepping too wide while performing the side lunge movement
  • Not keeping the weight distributed evenly
  • Not keeping the toes in line with the lunging knee.

Proper Form

Assume an athletic position with your feet together, knees and hips slightly bent, and head and chest up.

On the inhale, take a slow, lateral step to the right side, then bend into the right knee and sit your hips back as you’re going to sit in a chair.

Stay low while keeping the weight on your heel and bending your knee to a 90-degree angle, with the with the knee staying in line with the toes.

Exhale and press through the right heel to straighten the leg and step back to the starting position.

Switch sides and repeat.

Side Lunge variations: Plyo side lunge, dumbbell lateral lunge, reverse side lunge, curtsey lunge with a kick, single-leg deadlift to reverse lunge.

Bodyweight Exercise For Runners – 16. Burpees


This compound movement will blast your heart and increase your stamina like nothing else.

Burpees target virtually every major muscle group in the body while helping you become functionally fit in the shortest time possible.

It’s no wonder that the burpees are the bread and butter of most CrossFit workouts and military training programs.

Here are a few of the sad burpees errors that bring tears to my eyes:

  • Going too fast while ignoring proper
  • Not properly stabilizing the core.
  • Allowing for the back to sag when doing the push-up.
  • Holding the breath.
  • Sacrificing reps for form.

Proper form

Start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart.

Squat down by bending your knees, then lower your body toward the floor by putting your hands on the floor in front of you.

Thrust your feet back, and lower yourself into the bottom portion pushup position so your legs are fully extended, abdominals tights, and arms straight.

Then, in one swift and smooth motion, jump your feet back into the squat position and leap up as high as possible from the squat position.

That’s one rep.

Repeat as fast as possible.

Burpee variations: push-up burpee, superman burpee, side burpee, start jump burpee, mountain climber tuck jump burpee, dive bomber burpee, etc.

The Bodyweight Strength Routine For Running 

We’ve all heard the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

You need a concrete plan if you want to reach your fitness goals. Not only does it improve your training consistency, but it also allows you to monitor your progress and see where you need more work.

The following plan has been designed to increase endurance and build strength while burning some mad calories in the process.

Perform the exercises in order, two to three times a week, with at least one day of full recovery between each go. Take 30 to 60 seconds to rest after each round. Repeat five times.

Whatever you do, make sure to start in line with your current fitness skill, training goals, schedule, and personal preferences. Give it a few months, and you’ll be a leaner, stronger athlete for it.

To get you started, try the following 3-day program.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: Full-body circuit

  • Ten push-ups
  • 30 squats
  • 20 sit-ups
  • Ten chair dips
  • Five pull-ups

Repeat the entire circuit 5 times.

More Bodyweight Exercises

As you get fitter, feel free to add in more bodyweight exercises of various intensities and reps. Some of these include:

Bodyweight Y Squats
X Pushup
Bodyweight Single-Leg Deadlift
Bodyweight Lateral Squat
Mountain Climbers
Bodyweight Shoulder Taps
Calf raises
Dead Bug
Bird Dog with Rotation
Bodyweight Bird Dog
Double Lunge with Reach
Back Extensions
Hand Curls
Leg raises
Cross-Body Mountain Climbers
Squat Thrusts
Reverse Lunge and Hop
Cross-Body Extension
Elbow to Knee
Wall Slides
Side Plank with Rotation
Dive Bomber Push-Ups
Side Plank with Extension
Jump Squats
Plank to Push Up
Single-Leg Up and Down Dogs
Figure 4 Mountain Climbers
T Push-Ups
Jumping Lunges
Single-Leg Burpee
High Knees
Cross Overs
And so much, so much, more.

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.

Unlocking the Power of Tabata Sprints: A 4-Minute Fitness Revolution

female runner doing Tabata Workout routine

If you’re someone who’s no stranger to breaking a sweat, chances are you’ve encountered the term “Tabata sprints” more times than you can count.

But have you ever found yourself pondering, “Where on earth did Tabata originate, and why is it such a hot topic in the fitness realm?” I

f that thought has crossed your mind, today’s your lucky day. I’ve gone the extra mile, diving deep into the Tabata universe so you don’t have to.

And trust me, the story behind it is nothing short of fascinating.

In today’s article, you’ll not only discover the secrets of Tabata sprints but also learn how to incorporate them seamlessly into your fitness routine without any fancy equipment or gym memberships.

So, buckle up, and let’s embark on this exhilarating Tabata adventure together!

What Is Tabata Workout Training?

Alright, fitness enthusiasts, gather ’round. We’re about to dive into the incredible world of Tabata training, where just four minutes can change the game.

Here’s the lowdown:

Imagine this: 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by a 10-second breather, and you repeat this cycle eight times. That’s the Tabata training method in a nutshell. It’s like a fitness rollercoaster, and it works wonders.

Our story begins with Izumi Tabata, Ph., a former scientist and researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya. Dr. Tabata had a grand experiment in mind.

Dr. Tabata gathered a bunch of young, eager athletes with diverse backgrounds and skills. He split them into two groups: one doing moderate-intensity training (the control group) and the other diving headfirst into high-intensity training.

The Four-Minute Revelation

After rigorous testing, Dr. Tabata dropped a fitness bombshell: Four minutes. Yes, you read that right. Four minutes of this high-intensity, heart-pounding workout was all it took to yield substantial gains and growth.

The Proof Is in the Research

In 1996, Dr. Tabata unveiled his groundbreaking findings in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.” The study titled “Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2max” shook the fitness world.

Let’s dig deeper into the nitty-gritty of this research.

The Initial Study

Let’s rewind the clocks to 1996, a time when Dr. Tabata and his team embarked on an awe-inspiring fitness journey.  The subject of the research were broken down into two groups of eager, mid-twenties amateur athletes.

  • Group I embraced Protocol One, committing to an hour of stationary cycling at 70 percent of their VO2 max five days a week. This was your classic long-haul, moderate-paced workout.
  • Group II, on the other hand, were the Tabata trailblazers, choosing Protocol Two. They opted for an intense regimen: four days a week, eight explosive 20-second bursts of biking at a jaw-dropping 170 percent effort, sandwiched between 10-second recovery intervals.

Crunching the Numbers

  • Group I endured 1,800 minutes of moderate-intensity training over six weeks.
  • Group II? Well, they only sweated it out for about 120 minutes of high-intensity training during the same period. That’s the equivalent of just four minutes and 20 seconds per session.

The Mind-Blowing Results

  • Group I saw a decent 9.5 percent boost in their maximum aerobic capacity (the cardiovascular stuff), but their anaerobic system (the muscular side) didn’t budge much.
  • Group II not only crushed their maximum aerobic capacity with a 14 percent increase but also flexed their anaerobic power, showing an incredible 28 percent improvement.


In a plot twist that left everyone’s jaws on the floor, high-intensity interval training proved to be the ultimate game-changer. The group that worked out for just four minutes and 20 seconds, thanks to the power of high-intensity intervals, emerged as the clear winners at the end of the six weeks.


So, there you have it, folks. The science-backed, time-efficient workout that forever altered the fitness landscape. Ready to give Tabata a whirl?

Benefits of Tabata Sprints Training

So, you’ve heard the buzz about Tabata sprints, and you’re ready to dive in. But what’s in it for you? Let’s break down the incredible benefits that await those who make Tabata a regular part of their fitness journey:

Improved Anaerobic Capacity

Imagine having a secret reserve of energy, the kind that kicks in when you’re pushing your limits. That’s what improved anaerobic capacity brings to the table.

It’s the extra oomph that lets you run faster and longer, enhancing your resistance to fatigue and helping your muscles battle lactic acid buildup, research shows.

Burns Mad Calories

Want to turn your body into a fat-burning furnace? Tabata’s got you covered. In a study, it was found that a typical Tabata workout can torch a mind-boggling 12 to 15 calories per minute.

That means, in just four short minutes, you’re on your way to burning calories like never before. It’s like a fat-burning miracle wrapped up in a 4-minute workout package.

Endless Combinations

 What I like about Tabata workouts is the endless number of training combinations you can do. You can perform any exercise you like. You can do push-ups, squats, Tabata sprints, burpees, or any other exercise that hits large muscle groups.  

Saves Time

In today’s fast-paced world, time is precious. Tabata recognizes this and offers a potent workout that fits into even the busiest schedules.

With just four minutes of high-intensity effort, you can reap the rewards that would take much longer with traditional workouts. Efficiency at its finest.

Metabolic Boost

Tabata isn’t just about the burn during your workout; it’s about the afterburn, too. High-intensity intervals like these can elevate your metabolism, causing your body to continue burning calories long after you’ve hit the showers. It’s like having a calorie-burning engine that keeps running, even at rest.

Here’s a list of further research about the effects of Tabata-style training.

Study 1

Study 2

Study 4

Tabata Logistics – Time it Right!

You have two main options to keep your Tabata workout on track: a trusty stopwatch or a Tabata-specific app. Each has its advantages, so let’s break them down.


A classic stopwatch is a simple yet effective tool. It’s a no-frills way to time your intervals and rest periods accurately. However, there’s a catch – it requires you to glance at it during your high-intensity sprints. When you’re pushing yourself to the max, that can be a challenge.

A Tabata App:

Enter the Tabata app, your digital training partner. These apps are designed with one goal in mind – to make your Tabata sessions seamless and hassle-free. They offer audio cues, visual countdowns, and round tracking, leaving you with zero guesswork.

Plus, they let you focus entirely on your workout without the distraction of checking the time.

If you’re wondering which Tabata app to go for, look no further. Here are a couple of recommendations:

  • Tabata Pro ($3): A premium choice that provides top-notch features and customization options. It’s like having a personal Tabata coach in your pocket.
  • Free Versions: If you prefer to keep it budget-friendly, a quick Google search for “Tabata apps” will yield plenty of free options. These can get the job done without breaking the bank.

Whichever timing method you choose, the key is consistency and precision. Your Tabata success hinges on hitting those 20-second bursts and 10-second rests spot on.

The 30-Minute Tabata Workout For Beginners

Are you ready to push your limits, break a sweat, and transform your fitness level? Look no further than this high-intensity Tabata workout that’s guaranteed to leave you breathless and exhilarated. Strap in and get ready to unleash your inner beast!

The Tabata Challenge – 5 Rounds of Pure Intensity:

Duration: Each round lasts a swift but potent 4 minutes, consisting of 8 rounds of explosive effort.

  1. Maximum Effort (20 seconds):

This is your moment to shine. Push yourself to the absolute limit. Whether it’s intense squats, lightning-fast sprints, or another cardio-busting exercise, go all out. Every second counts.

  1. Quick Recovery (10 seconds):

Take a well-deserved breather, but keep it snappy. It’s your brief respite before the next explosive round.

  1. Repeat x 8:

That’s right, you’ll be repeating this intense cycle eight times in total. It’s a relentless challenge, but the rewards are worth it.

The Tabata Battle Plan:

Here’s a quick rundown of the workout structure, just to keep you on track:

  • Round 1: Exercise 1 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8
  • Round 2: Exercise 2 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8
  • Round 3: Exercise 3 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8
  • Round 4: Exercise 4 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8
  • Round 5: Exercise 5 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8


This Tabata workout is an all-out sprint, not a leisurely jog. Give it everything you’ve got during those 20-second bursts. It’s okay to feel challenged – that’s where the magic happens.

Exercise Selection:

Feel free to mix and match exercises to keep things fresh. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • High knees
  • Burpees
  • Jump squats
  • Push-ups
  • Mountain climbers
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Sprinting in place

The Warm-up

Think of your warm-up as the launchpad for your Tabata journey. It’s your chance to gradually elevate your heart rate, loosen up those muscles, and get your body primed for action.

  • Step 1: Begin with a 5-minute jog at a comfortable pace. This gentle introduction helps get the blood flowing and your muscles in the mood.
  • Step 2: Dynamic stretches are your best friends here. Perform leg swings, arm circles, hip rotations, and torso twists. These movements help increase flexibility, prevent injury, and mentally prepare you for the intensity ahead.
  • Step 3: Finally, perform a few short bursts of the exercise you’ll be doing during your Tabata sprints, but at a moderate pace. For example, if you’ll be doing high knees, start with a slower, controlled version. This helps activate the relevant muscles and refine your technique.

 The Cooldown (After the Sprints):

You’ve conquered those 20-second sprints – well done! Now, it’s time to transition back to a state of calm and allow your body to recover gradually.

  • Step 1: After your final sprint, avoid stopping abruptly. Instead, slow down your pace and jog lightly for a few minutes. This helps your heart rate gradually return to its resting state.
  • Step 2: Follow this with static stretches for the major muscle groups you’ve worked on during your sprints. Focus on your quads, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds to improve flexibility and reduce post-workout muscle tightness.
  • Step 3: Hydrate! Replenish those lost fluids by drinking water. You’ve earned it.

Round One: Tabata Sprints

Sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10, then sprint for another 20 seconds, shooting for eight sprints at an all-out effort.

You can also perform the sprints on a steep hill, but make sure to pick a hill that’s not too technical since you will be running at your maximum speed for at least the first set of reps.

Round Two: Tabata High Knees

Stand feet hip-width apart. Keep your back flat and core engaged the entire time.

Perform high knees by jumping from one foot to the other, lifting your knees as high as you can. Focus on lifting your knees up and down as fast as you can, landing on the balls of your feet as you run in place.

Do this for 20 seconds, rest for 10, and then repast the cycle eight times to complete the round.

Round Three: Tabata Jumping Lunges

Take a lunge position with your right foot forward, knees bent, and left knee nearly touching the floor.

Next, while extending through both legs, explode up and jump as high as you can, swinging your arms to gain momentum. Then switch the position of your legs mid-air, moving your left leg to the front and right leg to the back, and immediately lower yourself into a lunge on the opposite side.

Keep jumping back and forth for 20 seconds, then rest for 10, repeating the cycle eight times.

If you can’t keep doing jump lunges with good form, then perform walking lunges instead. Be aware of your limits.

Round Four: Tabata Squats

Assume an athletic position with feet hip-width apart. For more challenges, hold a set of dumbbells or plates at shoulder height.

Next, to perform the squat, bend your knees and sit back, lowering yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back flat, head facing forward, and your toes tracking over the knees the entire time.

Last up, return to standing by pushing through your heels.

Continue squatting for the full 20-second interval, moving as fast as you can, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat the cycle eight times.

Round Five: Burpees

Stand feet hip-width apart, back straight, and core engaged.

Next, squat down and place your palms on the floor, then jump both of your feet into a full plank position, then quickly hop your feet back into a squat and explosively leap into the air, reaching your arms straight overhead. Add a clap for some sound effects!

In case you’re looking for more challenge, then you can either add a standard push-up from your plank or drop your chest to the floor before jumping back up.


Here is the routine in a nutshell

Round 1 (4 minutes) Sprints

  • Sprint at your highest speed for 20 seconds.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Round 2 (4 minutes) High Knees

  • High knees for 20 seconds, as many reps as possible with good form.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Round 3 (4 minutes) Jumping Lunges

  • Jumping lunges for 20 seconds, as many reps as possible with good form.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Round 4 (4 minutes) Squats

  • Squats for 20 seconds, doing as many reps as possible with good form.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Round 5 (4 minutes) Burpees

  • Do as many burpees as you can for 20 seconds.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.


Tabata Sprints Workout –  The Conclusion

There you have it.

Whatever exercises you pick, your choices should target large of muscles to get the most out of Tabata sprints training.

It’s perfectly okay to feel some soreness or muscle pain during and following your first few Tabata sessions. That’s actually how you know that you’re doing it right.

As you get fit, you’ll body will adjust, and you’ll only experience a mild to moderate soreness after the beginning.

For more, here are some of my favorite cardio workout alternatives to running.

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.

The Secret to Pain-Free Running: Defeating Muscle Imbalances

BCAAs for runners

Have you ever wondered why your legs feel a bit lopsided after all those invigorating runs? You’re in good company.

Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or just dipping your toes into the running world, I’ve got something crucial to share with you.

Running, that exhilarating cardio adventure, does wonders for your fitness and those extra pounds. It’s like your legs are sculpted by the running gods themselves, right? Well, not quite.

There’s a sneaky culprit lurking in the shadows – muscle imbalances. They’re like the silent villains of the running world, and if left unchecked, they can turn your running paradise into a painful pitfall.

But fret not!

Today, I’m here to spill the beans on these muscle imbalances, understand what makes them tick, and, most importantly, discover how to outsmart them.

So, are you excited to dive into the world of balanced, pain-free running? Then let’s go.

Muscle Imbalances Explained

Muscle imbalances are like the yin and yang of your muscles.

Let me explain more. You’ve got muscles that do the heavy lifting, like the ones responsible for pulling off those impressive pull-ups at the gym. But what if these beefed-up muscles don’t have an equally tough opponent to spar with? That’s where the trouble starts.

Take our pull-up enthusiast, for instance. They’re nailing those upper body pulling exercises day in and day out. But bench presses or push-ups? Nah, it’s not their jam. The result? An upper body that’s like a seesaw, with one end doing all the heavy lifting while the other just chills.

Now, here’s the kicker – it’s not just the weightlifters who need to watch out. If you’re into any sport with repetitive moves, like our beloved running, you’re in the game too. Those marathon miles can be both a blessing and a curse, and the sneaky culprits are these muscular imbalances.

Here’s the deal: These imbalances are like tiny time bombs, ticking away as you hit the trails. They’re the reason you might feel those unnecessary aches and pains, and they can seriously cramp your running style.

The Solution

Alright, now that we’ve called out these muscle imbalances, it’s time to spill the beans on how to set things straight.

Here’s the deal – it might sound like Captain Obvious is in the room, but the best way to tackle these imbalances is by picking exercises that go head-to-head with those weaker muscles.

Let’s dive in.

A Fight of Planes – The Scoop behind the imbalances

Speedwork, hill sprints, and those long, glorious runs do wonders for sculpting your body into a lean, mean running machine. But there’s a catch, and it’s a hefty one. All this running comes at a cost – a rather substantial cost, if I may add.

You see when we lace up our running shoes and hit the pavement, our bodies rely heavily on a select group of muscles to propel us forward. These muscles are like the rockstars of the show, hogging the spotlight while the others play second fiddle in the background.

Enter the sagittal plane, the ruler of the running realm. This is where the action happens, where we move forward and backward like well-oiled machines. But hold on, what about the other two planes – the frontal and transverse? Well, they’re relegated to the sidelines during our running escapades.

And since we’re so fixated on that forward-backward motion, our calves and quads become the muscle MVPs, soaking up all the glory as they power us through. But what about the muscles in charge of the other two planes, like our shins and glutes? They’re left in the dust, growing weaker by the day.

Muscular imbalances can lead to a host of problems, from discomfort and pain to more serious issues like knee pain, muscle strains, Achilles tendonitis, piriformis syndrome, and IT band syndrome.

Problems linked to muscle imbalances

As you continue to rely on those dominant muscles, they start to put immense pressure and stress on various parts of your body.

Joints, ligaments, and even the very muscles you’re working so hard to strengthen become the victims of this one-sided affair.

The consequences? Well, they range from stalled fitness growth to discomfort and outright pain.

And let’s not forget about the more severe outcomes, like overuse injuries that can plague even the most dedicated runners.

We’re talking about the dreaded knee pain, bothersome muscle strains, Achilles tendonitis, the notorious piriformis syndrome, and the ever-persistent IT band syndrome.

It’s like a domino effect – one muscle group’s dominance leads to a breakdown in the harmony of your body’s movements, resulting in these unwelcome guests: pain and injury.

Common Muscle Imbalances in Runners

As you can tell now; muscle imbalances aren’t just an abstract concept. They can have a direct and tangible impact on your running and overall health.

Let’s break it down.

First up, let’s talk about those core muscles. I’m not just talking about washboard abs here; I mean the muscles of your abdomen, lower back, and even your glutes.

When these muscles are weaker than they should be, it’s like having a shaky foundation for a building. Your posture takes a hit, running efficiency goes down the drain, and before you know it, you’re stuck in the land of bad form. This domino effect can even affect your breathing, making it less than optimal, and it’s a one-way ticket to overuse injuries.

But wait, there’s more.

Another red flag is weakness in the hips and glutes.

According to a study conducted at East Carolina University, this kind of weakness is the culprit behind dreaded conditions like runner’s knee, the infamous IT band syndrome, and a whole host of knee-related problems. These issues can be a real game-changer when it comes to your running journey.

Now, what happens when certain muscles are overused, especially the hamstrings? Well, it’s like playing with fire. Overused muscles become susceptible to inflammation, nagging pulls, and chronic tightness – a triple threat that’s always bad for business.

But enough with the theory, right? It’s time to roll up our sleeves and dive into some practical training guidelines that will help you address these imbalances head-on.

How to Fix Muscle Imbalance in Legs For Runners

Now it’s time to unravel the power exercises that specifically target the common imbalances that often plague runners. With consistent training, they’ll become your secret weapon for restoring equilibrium in your muscles.

But first, a word on how to integrate these exercises into your routine. Ideally, aim to perform this routine two to three times a week. You can seamlessly incorporate them into your regular strength training regimen or tackle them during your post-run cool-down.

Remember, consistency is key.

And here’s a pro tip: if you suspect that you’re battling some major muscle imbalances, it’s time to go all-in. Dedicate yourself to this routine on your cross-training days diligently until you start noticing those signs of improvement. Your body will thank you, and your running journey will be smoother than ever.

1. Seated Row


Most runners who do not follow a strict strength routine usually have the upper body strength of a 10-year-old.

The good news is that this exercise helps you develop the upper body strength you need to maintain a good running posture—stopping you from hunching over.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting as tall as you can with a slight arch in the lower back with legs extended.


Next, inhale and draw the handlebars towards your ribcage without shrugging your shoulders upward or backward.

Focus on “pinching” your shoulder blades together.

Make sure to perform the movement slowly, keep the elbows tucked at the sides, and lift your chest throughout the eccentric portion of the movement.

Release slowly and repeat.

Aim for two to three sets of 10- to 12-rep.

Additional Guide – A leg workout for runners

2. Single Leg Squat


The Single Leg Squat is one of the best functional exercises that build strength and mobility in the glutes, hips, and core, as well as improving balance and coordination.

It also builds stabilization in the pelvis.

When the pelvis is steady and firm, your entire body, gait, and stride become more balanced, too.

This is especially helpful for runners with foot pronation issues.

Additional Resource – 13 Exercises to improve running

Proper Form

Stand tall with feet hip-width distance apart, then find your center and shift your weight to your right foot.

Next, raise your left foot and balance on your right, then squat down by bending at the knee and sitting your hips back as if you are going to sit on a chair behind you.

If mobility is a big issue, then you can either hold on to a suspended rope or squat down to sit on a bench or a chair behind you.

Avoid bad form at all costs.

Squat down slowly on your supporting leg as much as you can (at least 90 degrees in your knee), then slowly raise yourself up and extend your leg back up to standing.

The key is to focus on balance and good form.

Additional resource – Your guide to Charleys Horse in runners

3. Superman


For building strength and endurance in the entire lower back—a key component of the core, as well as the transversus abdominis—or the deep abs.

Proper Form

Begin by laying face down with your arms and legs extended out so you look like Superman flying through the air.

Next, lift your left arm with the right leg about five inches off the floor.

Hold for a count of five, then slowly lower down and alternate sides.

Do up to 6 to 8 reps on each side to complete one set.

Aim for two to three sets.

4. Single-Leg Deadlift


The Single-Leg Deadlift targets the piriformis and the glutes—which are common runners’ fragile spots that can be overwhelmed by stronger quads and hamstrings.

By doing this exercise, you will be building your gluteal muscles and making them strong enough to they can be used when running—especially if you do any hard hill running.

Proper Form

Begin by holding a light dumbbell or a medicine ball for an extra challenge.

Next, balance on your right foot and slightly bend the knee with your left foot behind you and in the air.

While keeping your back straight and shoulders back, hinge forward from the hips and tap the weight on the floor.

To come back to standing, engage the glute and hamstrings of the leg planted on the floor and slowly press up to standing.

Shoot for 8 to 10 reps on each side.

Aim for three sets.

5. One-Legged Bridge


It’s one of the best core strengthening exercises out there.

This one isolates the underworked muscles in the lower back and can help you build balanced core strength.

It also strengthens and isolates the gluteus muscles—also known as the butt muscles—as well as the hamstrings.

Proper Form

Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees feet on the floor.

Then, raise your hips and back off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to the shoulders.

Next, squeeze your glutes, then slowly raise and extend your right leg while keeping your pelvis raised.

Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.

Release the leg down, and repeat on the other side.

Make sure to contract both lower back and abdominal muscles to hold your pelvis and keep it steady throughout the exercises.

Repeat 4 to 6 times to complete one set.

Do two sets.

6. Walking Lunge with Twist

This lunge variation is an impressive move that strengthens the core and builds lower body strength and balance while improving proprioception.

Proper Form

Begin by holding a medicine ball (or 10- to 25-pound weight plate) in your hands, elbows by the side.

Next, lunge forward until your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is almost touching the floor. Then, while contracting the core, rotate your torso to the same side as the front leg.

Lastly, rotate your body back to the center as you press back to a standing position.

7. Toe Raises

Shin’s muscles are a vital muscle group that’s in charge of controlling foot landing.

And when it’s weak, the calves wind up absorbing the bulk of the shock, which can set the stage for shin splints.

The good news is that the toe raises exercise is a simple exercise that can help you build strength in this critical—and often ignored—area.

Proper Form

While using a chair for balance or sitting on it  with the knees bent and feet flat on the ground, slowly lift your toe off the floor as high as you can, then lower them in a controlled and slow manner

That’s one rep.

Do 16 to 20 reps on each leg to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

8. One-arm, One-leg Plank

The core isn’t just your abs.

It’s more than that.

The core usually includes the surface abs, the deep abs, the obliques, and the glutes.

The bad news is that the core isn’t working hard enough when running—expect when sprinting.

The good news is that a simple move like the plank can help you build total core power and strength.

For more challenges, try the one-arm, one-leg core variation below.

It will help you build strength as well as balance and total body endurance.

Proper Form

Begin laying face down, then prop yourself up onto your forearms.

Make sure your body is in a straight line from head to toe, core engaged, and back straight.

This is a basic plank position.

Next, if you are looking for more challenge, then reach out with your right arm in front of you while lifting the left leg behind you, hold it for a count of 10, then lower slowly down and switch sides.

Aim for 6 reps on each side to complete one set.

Do two sets.

Prevent Running Injuries with These 5 Hip-Strengthening Exercises For Runners

If you’re on the hunt for the ultimate hip-strengthening exercises to boost your running game and keep those pesky injuries at bay, you’ve landed in the right spot!

Today, we’re diving headfirst into the world of hip strength training for runners, and trust me, it’s going to be a game-changer.

Here’s the lowdown on what’s coming your way:

  • We’ll break down the hip muscles so you know exactly what we’re working with.
  • Discover how these hip muscles play a crucial role in your running performance.
  • Uncover the fascinating connection between hip muscles and running injuries (yes, we’ve got some science-backed insights for you).
  • Get ready for the main event – the top 5 exercises that’ll have your hip strength and mobility skyrocketing.
  • Plus, a whole lot more to keep you informed and inspired.

Excited? Well, let’s lace up those running shoes and dive in.

Anatomy of The Hips Muscles

Your hips aren’t just there to look good in yoga pants; they’re true workhorses. Nestled in your upper legs, the hip allows  you to strut your stuff, climb stairs, grab that fallen pen, or gracefully park yourself on the couch.

But here’s the real star of the show: the hip joint! It’s a nifty ball-and-socket setup, and it’s key to everyday movements.

Every time you take a stroll, conquer a staircase, reach for your dropped phone, or elegantly plop onto your favorite chair, your hip joint and its trusty muscle squad swing into action.

And guess what? We’ve got more hip intel coming your way, so stay tuned

The most important muscles of the hips include :

The Hip Flexors

The hips flexors play a vital role in the grand scheme of things. They’re like the supporting cast in your body’s blockbuster film, making sure everything runs smoothly.

And consist of five muscles:

  • Rectus Femoris
  • TFL (Tensor Fasciae Latae)
  • Iliacus
  • Psoas
  • Sartorius

These hip flexors are the MVPs behind knee elevation and keeping your pelvis and legs in perfect harmony during your runs.

Think of them as your body’s own mechanics for knee operations. But here’s the kicker: weak hip flexors could spell trouble, with the dreaded runners’ knee and iliotibial band syndrome lurking in the shadows


The adductors are responsible for pulling your legs inward and orchestrating those nifty cross-body moves.

And consist of the following:

  • Adductor Brevis
  • Adductor Longus
  • Adductor Magnus
  • Pectineus
  • Gracilis

Think of them as your body’s graceful dance troupe, ensuring your legs move seamlessly in any direction you desire.

These performers add finesse to your legwork and contribute to the harmony of your hip movements. Without them, things might get a bit clunky on the dance floor—or, should we say, the running track?


The Glutes are the powerhouse behind your backside and so much more!

Meet the Gluteal squad:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gluteus Medius
  • Gluteus Minimus
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae

These muscles are your body’s true all-stars, responsible for various functions, from extending your hip and moving your leg out to the side to ensuring your leg’s external rotation.

The Importance of hip Muscles While Running

Let’s dive deeper into the critical role of hip muscles while running.

Efficient and Injury-Free Running:

Whether you’re a casual jogger or a marathon enthusiast, strong and functional hips are your secret weapon. They keep you in the game, preventing those dreaded injuries.

Stabilizing Powerhouses:

These muscles aren’t just for show; they’re the guardians of your running stance. They ensure each leg is rock-solid during every step, maintaining stability in the process.

The Perils of Weak Hips:

Now, imagine weak hip flexors crashing this party. Your performance takes a nosedive, your form goes haywire, and injuries gatecrash your running journey.

Studies linking hip weakness to running injuries

There’s some compelling research highlighting the connection between hip weakness and running injuries.

Study 1: Hip Rotation and Iliotibial Band Syndrome

This study, published in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, unveils a crucial link. It suggests that when hip rotation and inward collapse occur excessively during the gait cycle, the risk of Iliotibial Band Syndrome shoots up.

Study 2: Weak Hip Muscles and Lower Extremity Injuries

In another study featured in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, the evidence becomes even more compelling. It draws a strong association between weak hip muscles, including the abductors, adductors, and flexors, and a range of overuse injuries in the lower extremities.

Study 3: Runners’ Knee and Weak Hip Muscles

The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine presents evidence that links overuse injuries like Runners’ Knee to weaker hip muscles. Specifically, the hip abductor, adductor, and flexor muscles were weaker in individuals with these injuries compared to a control group. This underscores how critical strong hips are in preventing injuries like Runners’ Knee.

Study 4: Pelvic Instability and Runner’s Knee

Another study published in Medicine & Science in Exercise & Sports delves into pelvic stability and its role in Runner’s Knee among women. It was discovered that women who developed Runner’s Knee exhibited greater pelvic instability in their gait compared to those who remained injury-free. This insight highlights the significance of hip and pelvic stability for injury prevention.

Study 5: Hip Strength Training for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The study by Frederickson et al. focused on 24 distance runners dealing with Iliotibial Band Syndrome, a common issue among runners. They examined the hip abductor strength in the injured limb compared to the healthy leg and a control group.

Notably, they found a 2 percent strength deficit in the Gluteus medius of the injured limb. However, after undergoing a six-week strength training program, 22 out of 24 injured runners were able to return to training with minimal or no symptoms. It underscores the potential of targeted hip strength training in rehabilitating running injuries.

The Evidence is Overwhelming!

It’s clear that hip strengthening exercises should be a priority for every runner to prevent injuries and enhance performance. Ignoring hip strength can lead to a host of problems that no runner wants to deal with.

The great news is that there’s a wide array of effective hip-strengthening exercises available. These exercises are a proactive approach to injury prevention and overall improved running performance.

By dedicating time to strengthening your hip muscles, you’re investing in your long-term running success.

Remember, once your hip strength is improved, you’re not only less likely to experience pain and injuries, but you’ll also find your running form and efficiency improving.

5 Hip Strengthening Exercises For Runners

Consistency is key when it comes to strengthening your hip muscles. Starting with one set of 8 reps and gradually progressing to three to four sets of 12 to 15 reps is an excellent approach.

It allows your body to adapt and grow stronger over time, reducing the risk of injury and improving your running performance.

Remember, patience and persistence pay off when it comes to fitness and strength training. Keep up the good work, and you’ll undoubtedly notice significant improvements in your hip strength and overall running abilities in just a few weeks

Hip Strengthening Exercise – 1. Single-Leg Bridge

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, Lower back, Calves, Quads, and Hamstrings.

Proper Form

Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms pressed against the floor by your sides.

Then, lift your hips, engage your thighs, and squeeze your glutes.

Next, raise your right leg in the air as straight as possible, keeping the foot flexed, and extend it while raising your lower back and butt.

Lift your hip as high as possible by engaging your abs and pressing down through the left heel.

Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds; lower your hips to lightly touch the ground, then switch legs.

Number of sets: Three to four sets

Number of Repetitions: 8 to 12 reps.

Hip Strengthening Exercise 2. Donkey Kicks

Targeted muscles: All three butt muscles — gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, plus the lower back

Proper Form

Get on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under the hips, wrists aligned under your shoulders.

Next, draw your abdominals in you gradually lift your leg behind you until it’s almost parallel to the floor, with knee bent and foot flexed.

Hold the position and pulsate your flexed foot toward the ceiling by engaging and squeezing your glutes.

Keep the motion small and controlled with the muscle doing most of the work.

Focus on the muscle, and avoid using momentum.

And make sure to keep your back straight and spine in a neutral position.

Last up, return to the starting position to complete one rep.

Number of sets: Two to three sets

Number of Repetitions: 12 to 15 reps

Hip Strengthening Exercise 3. Side-Lying Hip Abduction

Targeted muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus and Tensor Fascia Lata.

Proper Form

Lie down on your side on the floor or the mat.

Make sure your hips and feet are stacked in a neutral position—Meaning the right hip is directly over the left hip (or the other way around).

And keep your body in a straight line from ankles to head.

Next, place your lower hand on the floor in front for support, and your upper hand resting upon your upper hip.

Keep your pelvis in a neutral position.

Engage your core muscles to support the spine.

Then, exhale and extend and raise your top leg off the lower while keeping the knee straight and your foot in a neutral position.

No hip rolling—forward or back—is allowed.

Raise the top leg as high as possible.

Inhale and slowly return the leg to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.

After finishing the set, roll over and repeat on the other side.

Number of sets: Two to three sets

Number of Repetitions: 8 to 10 reps

Hip Strengthening Exercise 4. Bird Dog Hip Strengthening Exercise

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, Lower Back Muscles, and Rectus Abdominis Muscle.

Proper Form

Get down on all fours on your hands and knees with palms flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart, with knees directly under the hips and hands beneath the shoulders.

Make sure to keep your lower back and abdomen in a neutral position.

Next, engage your core to keep a good balance; raise your left arm and extend it straight out in front of your body as you raise your right leg and straighten it behind you.

Hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat.

Number of sets: Two to three sets.

Number of reps: 6 to 8 reps.

Hip Strengthening Exercise 5. Single-Leg Deadlift

Muscle engaged: Glutes, Hamstrings, Spinal Erectors, and Abs

Proper Form

Stand on your left leg with your right leg behind you and in the air.

Then, while keeping your shoulders back and back straight throughout the movement, hinge forward at the waist and raise the right leg behind you, then reach your hands toward the ground.

Last up, come back to the starting position by engaging your glutes and hamstring of the left leg.

For more challenges, use weight or a medicine ball for added resistance.

Number of sets: Three to four sets

Number of reps: 10 to 12.

Here are more strength exercises for runners.

 Bonus Hip Strength Exercises For Runners

Seated hip Flexion

This simple move activates the hip flexor past a 90-degree angle to condition the muscles throughout their range of motion.

Additional resource – Running Vs. Strength training

Proper Form

Begin by sitting on a chair with good posture.

Make sure your feet are flat on the floor, core engaged, and back flat.

Next, while bending your right knee to about a 90-degree angle, raise it toward your chest without letting your thigh roll in or out or leaning back, pause, then slowly lower it to start position.

Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.

Add weights for more challenges.


Another fantastic move for strengthening the hip muscles as well as the lower body.

To make the most out of lunges, make sure to include different variations of this standard lunge, including static, backward, and plyo versions.

Proper Form

Begin in standing position, feet just slightly apart, looking straight ahead with back flat and core engaged.

Next, place your hands on your hips, then take a giant step forward with your right foot.

Make sure your hips are hanging straight on either side of your body.

Then, once you ensure heel contact with the floor, bend the right knee over the ankle while bending the left toward the ground.

Last up, press back into the starting position, pushing off the ground with your leading foot.

Changes sides to complete one rep.

Skater Squats

This is one of my favorite squat variations, focusing specifically on the hips instead of every muscle in the lower body.

Proper Form

Begin by performing a mini-squat, bending from the hips and knee and lowering your butt toward the floor while keeping your chest lifted and back flat, then transition your weight to the right side and lift the left leg slightly off the floor, toes pointed ahead.

This is your starting position.

Next, slowly squat by pushing your hips and butt backward.

Keep squatting until your right knee is bent to a 90-degree angle, if possible.

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

Shoot for three sets.


You’ll often find this move on most lower body rehabilitation programs, the reason being it works.

Not only does it strengthen your hips and glutes, but it also stabilizes your pelvis muscles and helps soothe tightness in the lower back, which is key for injury-free training.

Proper form

Begin by laying on the mat on your side, hips stable, heels together, and legs stacked up on top of each other.

Your shoulders, hips, and heels should form a straight line.

If it’s uncomfortable to lay in this position, lie with your back against a couch.

Next, open your top knee so that it points at the ceiling.

Keep your feet stacked together and allow for no rolling backward throughout the movement.

Raise the top knee as far as possible without rotating your hip or lifting your bottom knee off the floor, then pause for a moment.

To complete one rep, close the leg.

Perform 16 to 20 on each side to finish one set.

Shoot for three sets.

For more resistance, wrap a resistance band around your lower thighs.

Standing hip flexion

Another excellent move for isolating the hip flexors while improving muscle control and balance.

The movement is easy to perform but provides the lower body a good workout.

Proper Form

Begin by assuming an athletic position, back straight, core engaged, and feet hip-width distance apart.

Next, while keeping your left foot planted in the ground, raise your right leg off the ground so that you form a 90-degree angle at the hip.

Then, hold for a count of five to ten, then slowly lower the leg.

Switch sides to complete one rep.

Perform five reps to complete one set.

For more challenges, use weight or slowly flex your hip forward.

Additional resource – Clamshells for runners

Hip Strengthening Exercises For Runners – The Conclusion

There you have it!

The above hip strengthening exercises should make a huge part of your resistance training if you’re serious about improving performance and preventing injury.

Whatever you do, make sure to stay within your fitness level the entire time. Doing regular exercises to strengthen your hips is a good thing, but overdoing it is not the way to go.

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.

The Stronger Runner: Unveiling the Secrets of Effective Strength Training

Attention, runners seeking to unleash their inner powerhouse! Get ready to dive headfirst into the ultimate treasure trove of weight training wisdom specifically designed to elevate your running game!

In this post, I’m about to unravel the full-fledged guide that will revolutionize the way you approach weight training. Get ready to embark on a journey thatwill take you from novice to seasoned pro, leaving no stone unturned.

By the time we cross the finish line, your mind will be filled with an abundance of knowledge.

Brace yourself to discover the incredible benefits of weightlifting tailored to runners like yourself.

We’ll explore the latest cutting-edge research, unveiling the secrets behind strength training as the ultimate shield against those pesky injuries that threaten to derail your running dreams.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

What’s Strength Training?

Imagine yourself as a runner on a long-distance race. You’ve been training for months, but as you hit the halfway mark, you feel the fatigue setting in. Your muscles ache, your form starts to falter, and your pace slows down. But what if I told you that there’s a way to break through that plateau and reach your running goals faster? Enter strength training.

Strength training is the secret weapon for runners looking to improve their speed, efficiency, and endurance. It involves using external resistance, such as weights or resistance bands, to challenge your muscles to adapt and get stronger. And the benefits are not just limited to physical performance.

Research on Strength Training for runners And Injury Prevention

Studies have shown that weightlifting can reduce injury risks and fix muscle imbalances caused by the repetitive motion of running.

In fact, a study published by the National Strength & Conditioning Association found that weightlifting strengthens muscles and joints, leading to proper form, improved running time, and reduced injury risks. Another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning revealed that exercises like squats and single-leg hops not only help reduce injury risks but also improve performance.

But that’s not all. Strength training can also help you burn more calories. Many runners turn to running as a means of weight loss, but as their bodies adapt, they start burning fewer calories. Incorporating strength training into your routine can help increase your lean muscle mass, which in turn boosts your body’s ability to shed more calories.

Run Faster

Resistance training puts stress on your body, forcing it to adapt to boost its ability to withstand the extra load.

Over time, with regular training, these stress-induced adaptations can have an enormous impact on your running speed, efficiency, and endurance.

So, for instance, the stronger your leg muscles get, the more force you can generate on each stride and the more distance you can travel on each foot strike.

Plus, stronger shoulders and arms are essential in increasing your speed and form efficiency.

Fix Muscle Imbalances

Running is one-directional action, meaning it works some muscles more than others, leading to the onset of muscle imbalances.

This places excessive pressure on ligaments and tendons, reducing stride efficiency, limiting running economy, and increasing the risks of injury.

Research shows that, often than not, many runners nagging issues, such as shin splints, runners knee, Achilles tendinitis, etc., stem from muscle imbalances.

With all that being said, the good news is, as little as six weeks of proper weight training can reduce, or completely alleviate knee pain, according to a study.

Burns More Calories

Many runners took up running as means of weight loss. And as my experience dictates, running is helpful for shedding the pounds—especially during the first few months of training.

That said, once your body gets used to running (especially if you lack variety in your training), it’ll start to burn fewer calories.

For that reason, you might want to back up your running for weight loss training with a well-rounded and intense strength training schedule.

As a matter of fact, by increasing your lean muscle mass, you’ll boost your body’s ability to shed more calories.

Build Stronger Bones

In addition to helping you prevent injury, improve running performance, build muscle, and lose fat, weight lifting also improves bone density.

This can be typically measured using a DEXA scan, which is similar to an x-ray but more thorough.

But how does strength training make bones stronger?

It’s actually quite simple.

By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density, therefore, reducing the risks of bone-related issues.

That’s it.

This is especially the case for us runners as stress fractures—a common overuse injury—is every runner’s worst nightmare.

For the full scope on a stress fracture, check my full guide here.

Strong Arms

Have you ever tried running without using your arms? It’s not a good idea.

Swinging your arms faster automatically increases your step frequency, and vice versa.

We pump our arms as we run, and the stronger our arms are, the more powerful the forward drive, and the faster we move forward.

That’s no secret.

Be More Efficient

Running doesn’t just involve relying on the leg for forward propulsion, but we’re also using our core, back, arms, shoulders, and chest to balance and improve efficiency.

When the legs are exhausted, we use the upper body more because of the kinetic chain.

Everything is working together in one interlocked system.

Better Form

Your running form can ultimately make or break you as a runner.

That’s why if you can’t hold proper form throughout your runs, you’ll never reach your full running potential.

Improving your upper body strength can make your posture more efficient and help you keep a consistent form, especially as fatigue starts to set in.

Fortunately, improving upper-body strength can upgrade your technique and help you keep consistent form.

Signs of a bad form may include:

  • Rounding the shoulders,
  • Shrugging the shoulder near the ears,
  • Holding on to tension,
  • Swinging the arms too widely,
  • Holding a cell phone or water bottle,

But when you keep your posture straight, head held high, shoulder loose and square, and your arms functioning properly, you’ll ensure that you won’t get hurt.

What’s more?

A stronger upper body, especially a well-developed back, and core muscles help protect your spine from the impact of running.

Additional Resource – Here’s another strength training program for runners to check out

It Requires Little Time

You don’t need to train like an elite bodybuilder or CrossFitter to reap the benefits of strength training.

In fact, all you need is no more than a 30- to 45-minute session two to three times per week, to reap the benefits of strength training as a runner.

Here is the full guide on starting strength training for runners.

Note: Strength training should be performed according to your fitness level and training goals.

For that reason, you need to opt for a well-rounded strength program designed specifically to meet your running needs.

This is why a sprinter strength routine can look so different from a long-distance athlete program.

Are you looking for a way to take your running to the next level? Look no further than strength training! And the best part? It doesn’t require hours upon hours of time in the gym. In fact, all you need is 30-45 minutes, two to three times per week, to start seeing the benefits of strength training as a runner.

Muscles Anatomy

Your body is a complicated piece of machinery, and muscles are a huge part of what’s driving it.

According to experts, five main groups of muscles are used while running—quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, gluteals, and calf muscles.

Your body also uses secondary muscles to keep you going forward, such as the core and upper body muscles. 

These typically provide stability throughout the gait cycle and improve speed and running economy.

The Quadriceps

The quadriceps, the muscles on the front of the thighs, are in charge of forward leg movement.  Also known as the quads, these run from the hips down to the kneecap and are composed of four muscles:

  • The Vastus Medialis,
  • Intermedius,
  • Lateralus, and
  • Rectus Femoris.

The Hamstrings

The hamstrings consist of a single large tendon located at the back of the thigh and play a key role in standing, walking, or running, as well as hip extension and knee flexion. These muscles are comprised of

  • The biceps femoris,
  • The Semitendinosus, and
  • The Semimembranosus.

The Gluteals

Consisting of a group of three muscles, the gluteals are located in the buttocks and are responsible for hip extension, posture and proper knee alignment, and leg stability. The glutes consist of the following:

  • The Gluteus Maximus,
  • The Gluteus medius, and
  • The Gluteus minimus.

The Hip Flexors

The hip flexors, while smaller in size, play a crucial role in our everyday movements. From walking to squatting, these muscles are constantly activated, which is why it’s important to keep them strong and flexible.

Tight hip flexors can lead to discomfort and even pain, while a strong and healthy hip flexor group can improve posture, stability, and overall athletic performance.

The Calves

Located on the back of the lower leg, just below the knees, the calves are another supercritical running muscles.

Why? These provide spring in your step, extend and flex each foot as you land and push off, and maintain lower body balance and coordination. The calves consist of:

  • The large gastrocnemius, or outer calf; and
  • The smaller soleus, or inner calf.

Research has shown that incorporating exercises that specifically target these muscle groups can have a significant impact on running performance. In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers found that a six-week strength training program targeting the glutes and hip flexors led to improved running economy and performance in female distance runners.

The Best Strength Exercises For Runners

Try adding this powerful routine to your easy or cross-training days. The workout will take roughly 45 minutes to complete and can be done twice a week. That’s a small amount of time to invest in a big payoff.

I’ve also provided you with YouTube tutorials showing you exactly how to do each exercise. Proper form is king! For a better grip, try out this liquid chalk.

1. Planks

One of the core exercises that ended up becoming a staple in my training was the plank.

It’s one of the best core exercises because it targets every aspect of the core, as well as the lower back and shoulders.

Proper Form

  1. Lie on your stomach
  2. Prop yourself up on your elbow with feet slightly apart, toes hip distance apart with shoulders directly above the elbows
  3. Aim to straighten your whole body, so it’s forming a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.
  4. While engaging your core and keeping a straight line (your butt should not stick up in the air), hold the position for 30 seconds to a full minute.

As you get stronger, you should gradually add more time.

You can also make it more challenging for yourself by placing a weight plate on your back.

2. Russian Twists

The Russian twist targets a bunch of muscles, including the abs, obliques, lower back and your hamstrings as well.

You can use a medicine ball or a plate for extra resistance.

Proper Form

  1. Grab a weight, then lie on your back with your upper legs perpendicular to the floor and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Hold the weight in front of your body while keeping your back straight.
  3. Twist your torso as far as you can to the right side, tap the weight on the floor, then reverse your motion to the other side.

3. Overhead Lunges

The overhead lunge targets the whole body—quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders and core muscles.

It’s the perfect fit-it-all-in move, so it’s great if you’re pressed for time.

It also increases flexibility and mobility in your hip flexors.

Proper Form

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells or a weighted bar above your shoulder, with your arms straight, and your elbow locked, feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent.
  2. While holding the weight directly overhead, step forward with your right leg into a deep lunge position, bending both your knees.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. That’s one repetition.

Do 12 steps on each side to complete one set.

4. Air Squats

Bodyweight squats are some of the best strength exercises you can do.  These should be an integral part in any runner’s strength-oriented training program.

Squats target a lot of running-specific muscles.

They are convenient to do, and can easily be added to your post-run routine.

Proper Form

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart with your toes facing forward
  2. With your arms out in front at shoulder height, squat down by bending your knees, leaning forward at the waist while keeping your back flat and your knees tracking behind your toes
  3. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Press up through your heels to return to starting position.

5. Single-Leg Deadlifts

The single-leg deadlift is the ideal slow-burn move for building strong hamstrings and glutes, which can help you tackle steep hills with ease.

This exercise can also improve your balance and boost your stability.

Proper Form

  1. Start by holding two dumbbells or a weighted bar in front of your body.
  2. While standing tall, shift your weight to your right foot
  3. Hinge forward by slightly bending your right knee and raising your left foot behind you in line with your torso, letting the weights hang down
  4. Lower the weight while keeping it close to the tops of the legs.
  5. Once the weight goes past your knee, pause, then return to the starting position.

6. The Pistol

Also known as the one-legged squat, the pistol is a powerful squat variation that builds strength and balance in your lower body.

If you have issues with lower body flexibility or mobility, use a chair or a bench for the assisted pistol option. That’s how I got pretty decent at doing pistols.

Proper Form

  1. Standing tall, balance on your right foot,
  2. Squat down by bending at the knee and sitting your hips back.
  3. Once your right knee is at about a 90-degree angle, push back up by extending your leg to starting position.s

7. Rotational Shoulder Press

This move is ideal for targeting your upper body muscles, with the emphasis on the shoulder and core muscles.

Proper Form

  1. While standing tall with your feet hip-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders.
  2. As you press the weights up with your right hand, rotate your body to the right side.
  3. Lower the weights to your shoulder as you rotate back to the center, then rotate to the left as you press your left again upward this time.

weight training for runners


Weight Lifting For Runners  – The Conclusion

There you have it ! The above weight training for runners guidelines all you need to help you prevent overuse injuries and increase athletic performance without logging in more miles. The rest is up to you.

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.