The 13 Best Exercises To Improve Running

Strength Exercises For Runners

Looking to supercharge your running skills? Well, you’re in for a treat!

Let’s talk about something that transformed my running game – strength training. It turned me into a more efficient, injury-resistant runner, and I’m here to share the wisdom with you.

I firmly believe that if you follow the advice I’m about to lay out in today’s post, you could experience the same incredible results.

Picture this: You, a stronger, more efficient runner, conquering those miles with ease and grace.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? That’s why I’m here to tell you that incorporating total body strength training into your runner’s toolkit is a game-changer.

Not only does it help keep those pesky injuries at bay, but it also sets you on a path to becoming a better, more powerful runner – no matter what your running goals may be.

So, let’s dive into the world of strength training and unlock your running potential!

Why do you need to strength train?

Alright, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – why on earth should you dive into strength training for your running game? Well, my fellow road warriors, there are some pretty darn good reasons:

Boost Muscle Power:

Ever dreamt of turbocharging those calves, quads, glutes, and hamstrings? Strength training is your golden ticket to unlocking that raw power. The result? You’ll be tearing up the track and leaving your personal records in the dust.

Bid Adieu to Imbalances:

Imagine a world where muscle imbalances are a thing of the past. Research has linked these imbalances (when one muscle group becomes stronger or weaker than its counterpart) to a parade of overuse injuries like Runner’s Knee and IT band syndrome. Strength training is your knight in shining armor, here to restore balance and keep you injury-free.

Master Your Running Form:

As the miles rack up, fatigue starts to creep in, and your running form takes a hit. But fear not! Strong muscles swoop into the rescue, helping you maintain that picture-perfect form. Your core and upper body become your trusty sidekicks, providing stability and support as you conquer the road.

So, here’s the deal: if you’re looking to power up your running game, trim down your race times, and wave goodbye to those pesky injuries, strength training is your secret weapon. And trust me, I’m a runner, too – I know you’re on board with these goals!

The 13 Best Exercises To Improve Running

Without further ado, here are the exercises most appropriate for runners.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 1. Forward Lunge

This asymmetrical standing exercise is among the most running-friendly exercises out there—and for many reasons.

Lunges are convenient, versatile, and focus on the muscles runners use the most: glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

Plus, they also increase the range of motion and improve balance and coordination—key running skills.

Proper Form

Get into an athletic stance while holding a dumbbell in each hand.

Next, step forward with your right foot, shifting your weight to that foot’s heel.

Step far enough forward that both of your knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.

Lower your body until the front knee is positioned over the ankle and the back knee is a few inches off the ground. Make sure to remain as stable as possible, with the spine neutral throughout the movement.

Then, step back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Perform 12 to 16 reps to complete one set. Aim for three sets.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 2. Planks

It’s one of my favorite core exercises of all time!

Your core muscles, including the lower back, glutes, rectus abdominis (the six-pack), transverse abdominis (the “deep” abs), and obliques, work together to maintain pelvis neutrality and hold proper form when you run.

Plus, a strong core also reduces energy waste, preventing a litany of injuries and boosting your stride power. As you already know, runners are all about preventing injury and improving performance.

Proper Form

Begin by propping yourself on your elbows with the feet slightly apart.

Keep your abdominals engaged, back straight,

and shoulders directly above the elbows down and back, arms parallel to the body.

Instead of locking your knees, make sure to keep them slightly bent.

Hold this position for one full minute to complete one set.

Gradually add time (or weights!) as you get stronger.

Additional Resource – Your guide to weighted vests for running.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 3. Push-ups

Just because you’re a runner does not mean that upper body strength is trivial.

The fact is, as already stated in this post, proper upper body strength is key for both efficient running and proper form. No doubts.

Not only that, but it also helps take the pressure off your hips, knees, and ankles as fatigue sets in.

And when it comes to building upper body strength and power, you cannot go wrong with pushups.

This symmetrical exercise helps develop upper body and core strength and endurance like nothing else.

More specifically, pushups target the pectoralis muscles of the chest, but they also train the triceps—the muscles at the back of the upper arms and the shoulders.

Proper Form

Assume a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart, back flat, and feet slightly apart.

Next, lower your body by bending your elbows to a 90-degree angle, keeping them relatively close to your torso until your chest hovers over the ground.

Keep your glutes engaged and torso rigid throughout the exercise—hiked or sagging hips are a sign that you lack enough strength to perform the exercise properly.

Then press back up to the starting position and repeat.

Do as many push-ups as possible with good form to complete one set. Aim for three sets.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 4. The Twisting Lunge

This lunge variation is a great core exercise that also increases lower body strength, coordination, and balance.

Also, the twisting motion forces the glutes to contract more fully while it engages the core.

Proper Form

Assume an athletic position while holding a dumbbell or a medicine ball in front of you with elbows bent at approximately a 90-degree angle.

Step forward with your right foot into a lunge position.

Then, while keeping your knee on the right foot, twist your upper body to the right.

Maintain a 90-degree angle bent in the front knee, then straighten and engage your rear leg.

Last up, slowly press back to the starting position.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 5. Russian Twists

One of the best exercises for working the obliques—the muscles that help rotate the torso and stabilize the spine.

Plus, Russian twists can also target the hips, back, arms, and shoulders, depending on the weight apparatus used and/or loading of the movement.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting down on the floor while keeping your back at a 45-degree angle, both feet either flat on the floor (easy) or in the air (more advanced) so your body is forming a V shape.

Make sure to keep your back flat at this angle throughout the movement. Do not hunch your shoulders forward.

Next, twist your upper body to the right, hold for a count of three, and then slowly rotate back to the starting position.

Repeat on the other side.

For more challenges, hold a dumbbell in each hand as you twist.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 6. Squats

If I had to pick one exercise that fits perfectly with the demands of running, then it would be squats.

This fantastic exercise boosts leg power, improves knee stability, and increase the range of motion—all of which can prevent a plethora of overuse running injury.

For the full guide to squat variations, check my post here.

Proper Form

Assume an athletic position with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing ahead while holding dumbbells at shoulder-height.

You can also perform this without weight while holding your arms extended in front or overhead.

Next, lower down by sitting back as if there is a chair behind you.

Lower your hips down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, forming a 90-degree angle. Just do not let your knees go past your toes.

Then press back up to the starting position.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 7. The Bridge

This is one of the best exercises for strengthening the core stabilizer muscles, specifically the transversus abdominis and multifidus muscles.

The bridge also helps prevent lower back pain.

Not to mention that it’s the go-to move for toning the gluteus medius muscle—one of the three muscles responsible for creating the ever-coveted lift.

Proper Form

Begin by lying down on your back with arms to the side, palms facing down, knees bent, and heels on the floor.

Next, raise your hips until knees, hips, and shoulders are in a straight line. Squeeze your abs and glutes as you reach the top of the movement. Do not overextend your back during the exercise.

Hold the bridge post for a couple of seconds before easing back down.

Last up, slowly lower your hips back to the floor and allow you to briefly touch the floor before completing another rep.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 8. Wall Sits

This isometric exercise is one of my favorites!

It’s an impressive lower body move that builds strength and endurance in the calves, glutes, and, more importantly, the quadriceps.

Walls sits are also easy on the knees and can be performed by almost anyone.

Proper Form

Stand roughly two feet away from a wall.

Next, press your back against the wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and slide down the wall until you end up in a sitting position. Imagine there is a chair under you.

Keep your thighs parallel to the ground and feet firmly planted on the ground throughout the hold.

Hold the position for as long as you can. And remember to engage your legs and core muscles while keeping the back flat throughout the hold.

Last up, slide up the wall to the starting position to complete one set.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 9. The Deadlift

The deadlift is the mother of all full-body exercises.

In fact, it’s one of the most basic powerlifting exercises.

The classic deadlift hits almost every muscle in the body, including the quads, calves, lower back,  and core muscles.

Furthermore, study shows that the deadlift can also increase strength and muscle mass by boosting the release of the growth hormone.

Proper Form

Start by placing a heavy barbell on the floor in front of you, positioning your feet about halfway under the bar—roughly 3 inches from touching it.

Next, while hinging at the hips and keeping your back straight with the core engaged,  bend over until your shins touch the barbell, then grab the loaded barbell.

Next, to pull the barbell off the ground, extend your hips and knees until you’re standing up straight.

On the way down, slowly lower the weight to the floor until you’re back to the starting position.

Perform 8 to 10 reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 10. Overhead Lunge

This is a quite challenging variation of the classic bodyweight lunge that targets the shoulders, the core, the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps—making it a total body exercise per excellence.

Not only that, but overhead lunges will also help you build and increase flexibility in the hip flexors.

Also, they are ideal for challenging your balance, proprioception, and overall mobility.

Proper Form

Start by standing tall with feet shoulder-width apart while holding a plate, a pair of dumbbells, or a barbell straight above your shoulders.

Please make sure that your arms are straight with the elbows locked.

Next, while keeping the weight directly overhead (in line with the shoulder joint ), take a large step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your right knee is bent at a 90-degree angle.

Last up, return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg to complete one rep.

If this is too challenging for you, then feel free to hold the weight at shoulder level.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 11. The Chin-up

Another awesome upper body weight that’s guaranteed to help you achieve the kind of upper body strength you always wanted.

This ideal exercise targets the core, the back, and the biceps muscles like nothing else.

If performing straight chin-ups is too much for you, then feel free to use a chair assist for more help.

(check the YouTube Tutorial for how).

Proper Form

While using a pull-up bar, grab it with your palms facing you and with hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.

Next, while keeping your core engaged and letting your body hang, raise yourself up until your chin is parallel with or over the bar.

Then, slowly release and repeat.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 12.  Kettlebell Swing

You might not be familiar with this kettlebell exercise, but kettlebell swings are some of the best functional and total body exercises that there is.

This particular exercise is good for runners because it can help you boost endurance, core stability, strength, and balance—all of which can help you improve your overall running power for any distance and running terrain.

Proper Form

Start by standing tall feet hip-width apart while holding a dumbbell (or a kettlebell) with both hands at arm’s length.

Next, bend your knees slightly, rock back, and lower the weight to between your legs until it’s below your butt.

Then, with a hip-snapping motion, thrusts the hips forward and swings the kettlebell forward to shoulder height.

Please do this while keeping the arms straight and core engaged through the movement.

Continue swinging back and forth, allowing momentum to swing the kettlebell upward instead of trying to actively lift it with the arms.

Do 12 to 16 swings to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Exercise To Improve Running No – 13 Front Squat to Push Press

Also known as thrusters in the CrossFit circles, it’s a mix of the classic squat and the powerful push press exercise.

This exercise hits almost every major muscle group in the body with the added benefits of increasing total body endurance, flexibility, mobility, and coordination like nothing else.

Just be careful.

This is an advanced exercise.

You can only start doing it after mastering basic squat variations as well as the stand push-press exercise.

Proper Form

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a sandbag on the shoulder and upper chest (or a barbell across the front of the shoulders).

Next, while keeping the core engaged and back flat, lower Don by pushing your hips back and bending your knees until you are in a full squat position.

Hold for a moment, then from the bottom position, explode back and stand back up as hard as you can while pushing the weight overhead, with the legs straight, shoulder stacked over your hips, and arms fully extended.

This is one rep.

Do 8 to 12 reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

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.

Run Strong: 8 Essential Foot Strengthening Exercises for Runners

foot exercises for runners

Well, you’ve stumbled upon the holy grail of foot-strengthening exercises, right here, right now.

Listen up, because this is important. As a runner, you know that strength training is like the secret sauce that adds power and resilience to your performance. You’ve probably been diligently working on strengthening your muscles, which is fantastic.

But here’s the million-dollar question: Have you ever considered giving some love and attention to your hardworking feet? If your answer is a hesitant “no,” then hold onto your running shoes, because we’re about to open your eyes to a game-changing aspect of training that you’ve been missing out on.

You see, your feet are the unsung heroes of your running journey. They endure countless strides, absorb impact, and propel you forward mile after mile. Yet, they often don’t get the attention they deserve. It’s time to change that, and unlock a whole new level of performance.

By incorporating specific foot strengthening exercises into your training routine, you’ll unleash a world of benefits. Picture this: enhanced stability, improved balance, reduced risk of injuries, and increased overall foot strength.

Now, don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. We’ve got your back. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the best foot strengthening exercises tailored specifically for runners like you.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

The Benefits of Foot Exercises For Runners

Let’s dive into the incredible world of feet!

Did you know that each foot is a complex powerhouse with roughly 20 muscles working in harmony? These muscles, including the anterior tibial, peroneal tibial, posterior tibial, flexors, and extensors, play a vital role in supporting our every move.

Numerous studies and research papers have delved into the fascinating mechanics of these muscles, shedding light on their intricate functions and how they contribute to our overall performance.

But that’s not all—your feet are home to an impressive collection of 26 bones, accounting for a whopping 25 percent of all the bones in the human body.

Imagine that! Alongside these bones, you’ll find a network of 33 joints, more than 80 tendons, and ligaments that provide stability and flexibility to this remarkable structure.

Now, let’s talk about the significance of our feet in our daily lives. We rely on them to stand, walk, run, and perform a wide range of athletic movements, such as squatting, balancing, and jumping.

They truly are the unsung heroes of our physical endeavors. In fact, the metaphorical weight they carry is immense—they can make or break us as runners.

Given the incredible demands we place on our feet, it’s no wonder that they are the most used and abused part of our bodies. Every step we take, every leap we make, puts tremendous pressure on this intricate system.

And here’s where things get interesting: any dysfunction or imbalance in the musculature structure of our feet can have a ripple effect on our overall running gait and range of motion. This can ultimately lead to overuse injuries, like Achilles Tendinitis, chronic ankle sprains, knee pain/injury, and even lower back pains and aches.

8 Foot Strength Exercises For Runners

Without further ado, here are the best foot strengthening exercises for runners. Strengthen your feet for running by performing these exercises at least two to three times a week.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 1. Shin Curls

While using a step or a box, stand while assuming an athletic position with the toes hanging off the edge as much as you feel comfortable.

Next, curl your toes and foot up toward your shin as high as possible without rocking backward, hold the dorsiflexed position for a moment, then slowly lower your toes to the starting position to complete one rep.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 2. Single Leg Balance

Stand with feet hip-width apart, with the core engaged, back flat, and both hands are resting gently on your sides.

Next, lift your left leg straight toward the 12 o’clock position and balance on your right leg.

If you have any balance issues, then feel free to use a wall or a stable chair for more assistance.

For more challenge, try swinging the lifted leg forward and back, from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock, so and so forth, or balance on a balance disc or a seat cushion. You can also try single-leg bridges to test your balance.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 3. Heel Walking

Lift up both your feet, then pace the whole length of the room by walking slowly on your heels.

Make sure that you are on your heels the entire time.

For more, keep your toes pointed forward.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 4. Toe Presses

Assume an athletic position with a slight bend in the knees.

Next, lift your toes off the ground then flex the foot (pull the ankle back towards your shin), hold the contraction for a count of three, then release it slowly to the ground.

You can do this exercise while standing tall or while sitting.

Your choice.

Additional resource – Running Vs. Strength training

Foot Exercise for Runners – 5. Toe Curls

Start by placing a towel on the floor, then spread your toes like a fan, then grip the object and pull it toward you.

Repeat 8 to 10 times, then work the other foot.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 6. Calf Raises

Begin by standing in a shoulder-width stance with the toes flat on the edge of a step or a box, near a doorway or a counter, then hold on light for balance.

Next, raise up by pushing your toes into the step, hold for a count of three, then lower your back to the starting position.

You’ll know that you are doing this one right once you start feeling a stretch in your calves.

Additional guide – How to prevent Foot pain in runners

Foot Exercise for Runners – 7. Ankle Circles

While using a wall or a chair for balance, stand on your right foot, then raise the left foot a few inches off the floor.

Next, and without moving your legs, rotate your right ankle in a large circle in one direction.

Then perform a circular motion with the big toe.

Clockwise then counter-clockwise.

When you are done with the right foot, release and repeat on the opposite side.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 8. Toe Walks

Stand tall with your back flat, core engaged.

Next, while keeping the legs straight and heels pulled up towards the calves, walk forward on the balls of your feet for one full minute.

Make sure to keep your stomach tight and maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise.

Whatever you do, do not fold at the waist.

Here are more strength exercises for runners.

8 Foot Strengthening Exercises For Runners – The Conclusion

If you’re looking for practical advice on how to strengthen feet for running then today’s post has you covered. The rest is just details.

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

Thank you for dropping by.

How to Boost Your Running Performance with Resistance Band Training

Resistance Bands Training exercises

Are you looking to give resistance band training a try? You’ve come to the right place.

Strength training is a crucial part of any running program, regardless of your current fitness level and training goals. In other words, if you run, you should incorporate strength training. There’s no way around it.

Why is it so important? Here are two key reasons:

  • Boost power and strength in essential running muscles like the glutes, quads, and calves. This leads to improved running economy and performance.
  • Correct muscle imbalances, which results in fewer injuries and less discomfort while running.

While I could talk endlessly about the benefits of strength training for runners, that’s not my main goal today. Instead, I want to share a set of resistance band exercises you can do at home to enhance your overall body strength.

So, why resistance bands? Well, keep reading for the answers.

Enter Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are fantastic fitness tools. They’re typically made from strong, thin, and durable rubber and feature handles at each end.

The best part? They come in various resistance levels, so you can choose the perfect fit for your current fitness level and training objectives.

These bands are incredibly versatile and customizable to suit your unique needs. Whether you’re a fitness newbie or a seasoned pro, there’s a resistance band for you.

From my experience, I can confidently say that resistance band exercises are among the best ways to maintain strength training routine, especially if you can’t make it to the gym or have your own personal reasons for avoiding it.

Let’s face it: having a stack of dumbbells in your living room might not be the most appealing option for everyone.

Resistance Bands Offer a lot of exercises

The beauty of resistance bands lies in their versatility. With these simple yet effective tools, you can unlock a world of diverse bodyweight exercises. In fact, there’s virtually no limit to the types of resistance exercises you can perform.

From squats to push-ups, chest presses to rows, triceps extensions to overhead presses, and bicep curls, the list goes on.

The best part? You can do all of these exercises without the need for dumbbells or a weight bar.

Many Muscle Groups

Resistance bands are incredibly versatile when it comes to targeting specific muscle groups. They can effectively engage the major muscle groups crucial for running, such as your core, glutes, and legs.

Moreover, you have the freedom to select exercises that align with your fitness goals and preferences. Whether you’re looking to work on your overall strength or isolate particular muscle groups, resistance bands have got you covered.

Connective Tissues

Resistance bands offer unique benefits for connective tissues like tendons and fascia. They can help improve the function of these crucial connective tissues, which is essential for overall mobility and injury prevention.

Additionally, resistance bands are incredibly cost-effective, making them one of the most budget-friendly options for strength training, second only to bodyweight exercises. You can find resistance bands for as little as $5, and even the more advanced options rarely exceed $25. This affordability makes them accessible to virtually anyone.

Moreover, their compact and portable nature adds to their convenience. You can easily roll up resistance bands and take them with you when you travel, ensuring that you can maintain your strength training regimen no matter where you go. This portability is a significant advantage for those who are constantly on the move or prefer to work out in different locations.

How to start Resistance Bands Exercises For Runners 

If you’re new to resistance bands training, here are some essential tips to get you started on the right foot:

  • Choose the Right Band: As a beginner, opt for a thinner band, typically in green or yellow. This level of resistance is ideal for newcomers and allows you to focus on proper form and technique. Remember, you can always increase the resistance as you become more experienced and stronger.
  • Master the Basics: Begin with fundamental exercises to build a solid foundation. Exercises like squats, rows, and chest presses are excellent starting points. These movements target major muscle groups and prepare your body for more advanced exercises.
  • Proper Form is Key: Pay close attention to your form. Ensure that you’re using the correct posture and technique for each exercise. This not only maximizes the effectiveness of the workout but also prevents injuries.
  • Gradually Increase Resistance: As you progress and feel more confident, challenge yourself by using a band with higher resistance. Bands in blue or green offer increased resistance and intensify your workouts.
  • Adjust Band Length: You can make exercises more challenging by shortening the bands or even doubling them up. Experiment with different band lengths to find the right level of resistance for your current fitness level.
  • Consistency is Key: Like any form of training, consistency is crucial. Incorporate resistance band exercises into your routine regularly, aiming for at least two to three sessions per week. This consistency will lead to steady progress over time.

1. Side Steps

This exercise is a fantastic way to stabilize and strengthen your hip abductors, which are crucial for runners. Research has shown that many overuse running injuries, such as Runner’s Knee and IT Band Syndrome, can be linked to weakness in the hip muscles.

Here’s how to do it correctly:

Proper Form:

Set Up: Begin by looping the resistance band either above your knees, below them, or for added resistance, around your ankles.

Athletic Position: Assume an athletic position with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.

Step Out: Step out to the right side, planting your right heel and pulling your left foot over so you return to a hip-width stance. Maintain tension on the resistance band throughout the exercise.

Keep Feet Apart: Be sure not to let your feet come into contact during the movement.

Repetition: Repeat the sidestepping movement for at least 12 to 16 steps in one direction, and then reverse back to the starting point.

Progression: As you become stronger, challenge yourself by increasing the distance and resistance of the exercise.

2. Monster Steps

This exercise is another fantastic way to target the hip muscles and strengthen your entire lower body, with a special focus on the glutes. Here’s how to perform it correctly:

Proper Form:

Set Up: Loop a resistance band around both ankles and another one around your knees. Ensure that there is enough resistance so that the band is taut when your feet are hip-width apart. If it feels too easy, adjust the band to provide more resistance.

Starting Position: Begin with your knees slightly bent and engage your glutes. This is your starting position.

Movement: Sink into a semi-squat position, and then step forward and out to the side at a 45-degree angle.

Take Monster Steps: Step forward with your left foot, taking “monster” steps by keeping your feet as wide apart as possible. Continue walking in this manner for a distance of 16 to 20 feet.

Walk Backward: After reaching your desired distance, walk backward to return to your starting point.

3. Standing Hip Abduction

This exercise is a personal favorite of mine, and it’s incredibly effective for targeting the hip muscles and glutes. It also incorporates balance, making it an excellent choice for runners.

Proper Form:

Set-Up: To perform this exercise, you’ll need a resistance band and a sturdy object to anchor it. Create a loop by passing one handle of the band around the sturdy object and the other handle around your right ankle. Stand tall with your left foot on the tubing while holding the opposite handle.

Balance Assistance: If you have concerns about balance, you can hold onto a secure object for support.

Movement: Begin with your right knee straight and engage your core muscles. Kick your right leg outward, away from your body, while keeping your hips level and preventing any rotation. Hold this position for a moment.

Return: Slowly return your right leg to the starting position.

Focus on Hip Muscles: Throughout the exercise, concentrate on using your hip muscles rather than allowing your hips to rotate.

Repetitions: Aim to complete 12 to 16 repetitions on each side to finish one set.

4. Ankle Dorsiflexion

This exercise is particularly valuable if you’ve experienced lower leg pain or shin splints in the past. Dorsiflexion involves flexing your ankle by bringing your foot toward your shin, and it’s an effective way to strengthen your lower legs and reduce the risk of common overuse injuries.

Proper Form:

  • Set Up: Begin by sitting on a mat with your legs extended. Take the middle of the resistance band and wrap it around your right foot, then hold onto the band’s handle.
  • Movement: Pull your right foot up toward your shin as far as you can, maximizing dorsiflexion. This is the primary movement.
  • Return: Slowly lower your foot back to the starting position as soon as you’ve reached the maximum dorsiflexion. This completes one repetition.
  • Repetitions: Aim to perform at least 12 to 16 repetitions on each side to complete one set.


Clam exercises target several muscle groups, including the outer thighs, glutes, groin, and hip flexors.

Proper Form:

Starting Position: Begin by lying on your right side, supporting your head with your hand or arm, or propping yourself up on your forearm. Your knees should be slightly bent, and your feet should be stacked, one on top of the other.

Band Placement: Loop the resistance band around your knees, ensuring it’s secure.

Movement: Lift your top knee upward about 8 to 10 inches while keeping your feet together throughout the movement.

Hold and Return: Hold the elevated position for a count of three, emphasizing the contraction in your hip and thigh muscles. Then, slowly lower your knee back to the starting position.

Repetitions: Perform the clam exercise for 12 to 16 repetitions on each side to complete one set.

5. Squat with Resistance Band

Squats are undoubtedly one of the best strength exercises, and when paired with resistance bands, they become even more effective for runners. Squats target various muscle groups, including the core, glutes, quadriceps, and calves. Additionally, they promote mobility and a full range of motion in the lower body, which is essential for runners.

Proper Form:

Starting Position: Stand on the resistance band with both feet, positioning them shoulder-width apart. Ensure the band is taut and centered under your feet.

Grip Handles: Squat down by pushing your hips back and reach down to grip a handle in each hand. Keep your chest up and your back flat.

Squat Movement: With the handles raised to shoulder height, maintain an upright posture while squatting down. Imagine you’re sitting in a chair positioned behind you.

Full Squat: Continue to lower your body until both of your knees are bent at approximately a 90-degree angle.

Return to Standing: Push through your heels to stand back up, returning to the starting position. This completes one repetition.

Knee Tracking: Pay attention to your knee alignment, ensuring they track over your toes throughout the exercise.

6. Standing Kickbacks

This exercise primarily targets the hamstrings (the muscles at the back of the thighs) and the gluteus maximus (the butt muscles). It’s an excellent addition to your resistance band routine to strengthen these crucial muscle groups.

Proper Form:

Ankle Loop: Begin by looping the resistance band just above your left ankle. Ensure it’s secure and won’t slide down during the exercise.

Sturdy Object: Stand facing a sturdy object that you can hold onto for balance. This could be a chair, a wall, or any stable support.

Knee Bend: Slightly bend your right knee while keeping your upper body upright.

Kickback Motion: Lift your left foot off the ground, driving your heel backward in a kickback motion. Focus on contracting your hamstrings and glutes.

Top Position: Hold the position for a moment when your left leg is fully extended backward, engaging your core for stability.

Lower and Repeat: Lower your left leg back down with control, and then repeat the kickback motion on the same side.

Core Engagement: Maintain engagement in your core muscles throughout the exercise to support your posture and balance.

Avoid Rocking: Ensure that your upper body doesn’t rock forward as you perform the kickbacks.

Top 15 HIIT Running Workout Routines

HIIT Workouts for runners

Looking for the ultimate HIIT running workout routines? Well, strap on your running shoes and get ready for a wild ride because you’ve stumbled upon the holy grail of high-intensity training.

And let me tell you, my friend, I am obsessed with running. Like, seriously obsessed. It’s been my passion for the past decade, and let me tell you, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

I’ll be real with you. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes along the way. I mean, who hasn’t? I’m not perfect, and neither are you. But here’s the thing: we learn from those mistakes and we grow stronger because of them. One mistake that stands out vividly in my memory is when I neglected the power of high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

For the first three years of my running journey, I was pounding the pavement tirelessly, thinking that sheer mileage would magically improve my performance. Boy, was I wrong. Not only did my progress come to a screeching halt, but I also found myself nursing a slew of frustrating injuries. And let’s not forget the unwanted weight gain from my repetitive running routine. It was a vicious cycle, my friend.

But then, everything changed when I incorporated HIIT into my training regimen. Let me tell you, it was a game-changer. Within just a few weeks, I started noticing incredible improvements, not only in my running abilities but also in my overall strength and athleticism. It was like unlocking a secret door to a whole new level of fitness.

And guess what? I don’t want you to go through the same struggles I did. That’s why today, I’m here to introduce you to the magic of HIIT training. Now, don’t worry, I won’t drown you in a sea of boring theories and scientific jargon. Nope, we’re going to keep it fun, practical, and actionable.

In this post, I’ll not only share some of the most effective running-specific HIIT routines but also throw in a few non-running workouts that will leave you breathless and begging for more. Trust me, it’s going to be epic.

Ready? Let’s do this!-

HIIT For Runners Defined

So, what the heck is HIIT, you ask? Well, let me break it down for you.

High-intensity interval training is like a thrilling roller coaster ride for your body. It’s all about pushing yourself to the limit through a strategic blend of intense anaerobic intervals and low-intensity aerobic activity.

Picture this: you go all out for 20 to 60 seconds, giving it everything you’ve got, and then you catch your breath during a brief period of rest or lighter activity. And guess what? You repeat this cycle for a total of 15 to 30 minutes of pure fitness bliss.

But what sets HIIT apart from the monotonous, never-ending treadmill sessions or steady-state cardio that most people dread?

Well, it’s all about the intensity. HIIT takes your workout to a whole new level by challenging your body to reach its maximum output capacity, boosting your VO2 max in the process. It’s like revving the engine of a high-performance sports car. You go full throttle, reach your peak heart rate, and then strategically recover before diving back into the action.

Now, let me share the secret sauce to maximizing your HIIT experience. Enter intensity. When those high-burst intervals come knocking, give it your all. Push yourself to the absolute limit and feel your heart racing, your muscles burning, and the sweat pouring down. Embrace the discomfort because that’s where the magic happens.

But remember that it’s crucial to allow yourself proper rest and recovery during the designated periods. It’s like catching your breath at the top of the roller coaster before plunging into the next exhilarating loop.

A Formula for Success

Still confused?

Here’s how to proceed:

  1. Start with a warm-up. Check this routine.
  2. First interval: exercise at maximum power for 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. Recover for 20 to 60 seconds (or longer, depending on the workout).
  4. Repeat step (2) and (3) seven to ten times.
  5. Cooldown. Check my routine here.

The Benefits of HIIT For Runners

High intensity interval training has a lot to offer, including:

Reduces Body Fat

Let me blow your mind with some fascinating research. There’s an Australian study that’ll make you think twice about your fat-burning strategy.

In this study, they pitted the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) group against the steady-state cardio group. And guess what? The results were mind-boggling. The HIIT group, following a mere 20-minute routine, managed to shed a whopping six times more body fat than their steady-state counterparts. Yes, you heard that right—six times more fat melted away in those who embraced the intensity of HIIT.

Now, what’s the takeaway from this remarkable study? It’s simple, my friend. When it comes to burning fat, it’s all about going hard and going short. Forget those long, tedious hours spent on the treadmill or elliptical machine. HIIT is here to save the day and kick fat to the curb.

And you know what I love most about it? It demolishes the age-old excuse of “I don’t have time for exercise.” Say goodbye to those time-consuming workouts because HIIT gets the job done in a fraction of the time.

I remember when I first ventured into the world of HIIT. I must admit, I was skeptical. How could a shorter workout make such a significant impact on the scale? But let me tell you, my friend, it was a game-changer.

Boost Metabolism

Thanks to a phenomenon called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), your body continues to torch calories even while you kick back and relax. It’s like getting a bonus boost to your metabolism!

And guess what? A study conducted by the brilliant minds at East Tennessee State University discovered that HIIT workouts can keep your metabolism revved up for hours, burning as much as an extra 100 calories post-training.

Now, you might be thinking, “100 calories? That doesn’t sound like much.” But my friend, those calories can add up over time, giving you an extra edge in your weight loss journey.

Build Muscle

But wait, there’s more! HIIT doesn’t just help you shed fat; it also helps you build muscle. You might be wondering, “But isn’t muscle building reserved for those heavy lifting sessions?” Well, think again.

A groundbreaking study published in the Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition revealed something fascinating. Even in the absence of traditional strength training, HIIT has the power to sculpt those muscles you’ve always dreamed of. It’s like a magical two-in-one combo—shedding fat while gaining lean muscle mass. How does it work?

HIIT creates an anabolic effect in your body, promoting muscle growth. And here’s the cherry on top: it skyrockets the production of human growth post-training, making your muscles say, “Hello gains, nice!”

Cutting the Junk Is the Big Promise

Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario cracked the code and discovered that HIIT is like a superhero for your fitness, capable of achieving in 2.5 hours what would take a whopping 10.5 hours of traditional endurance training.

You lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement for an interval run. You push your limits for short bursts of intense effort, followed by brief periods of active recovery. The result?

A fitness miracle that’s four times more effective than your standard cardio routine. It’s like discovering a hidden shortcut to your fitness goals, leaving those monotonous long runs in the dust.

I’ve personally experienced this transformation, and let me tell you, it’s nothing short of amazing.

By incorporating plenty of interval workouts while reducing my weekly mileage, I’ve not only become a faster runner but also managed to keep those pesky injuries at bay.

You Can Do It Anywhere

Now here’s the best part: high-intensity interval workouts can be done anywhere, anytime. They’re the chameleons of fitness, adapting to any environment and equipment you have available.q

Whether you prefer interval runs that make your heart pound like a tribal drum or fartlek runs that keep you on your toes, there’s a world of options at your disposal. And let’s not forget about the power of bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, kettlebells, jump ropes, weights, or even a trusty sandbag.

The possibilities are endless, and you can turn any space into your personal fitness playground.

The Dangers of HIIT For Runners

Listen up, my fellow fitness enthusiasts, because we’re about to dive into the nitty-gritty of HIIT and uncover the potential pitfalls that lie beneath its shiny surface.

Yes, it’s time to shed some light on the not-so-sunny side of this revolutionary training method. While HIIT has the power to transform your fitness journey, you must tread carefully and consider a few important factors before jumping headfirst into the high-intensity abyss.

Now, let’s get real for a moment. HIIT is a force to be reckoned with, pushing your body to its limits and demanding the utmost from your cardiovascular system. But that also means it’s not suitable for everyone, especially those who find themselves in a delicate state of injury recovery, dealing with cardiovascular or circulatory issues, or simply starting from square one on their fitness journey. In these cases, it’s crucial to prioritize your health and well-being above all else.

Here’s the deal: I’m not a doctor, but I strongly urge you to consult with a healthcare professional who can assess your current condition and guide you towards the best workout options for your specific needs. They have the knowledge and expertise to give you personalized advice that takes into account your unique circumstances.

Remember, your health is priceless. Taking a step back and ensuring you’re in the right physical condition to tackle the challenges of HIIT is a wise move. Think of it as protecting your investment. Just like a car needs regular maintenance to perform at its peak, your body deserves the same care and attention. So, don’t be shy about seeking professional advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to Start HIIT Workouts For runners 

Alright, my eager friend, now that you’ve received the green light from your doctor and you’re ready to take on the exhilarating world of HIIT, it’s time to lay down the foundation for success. I want you to dive into this training method with confidence, avoiding any unnecessary risks or setbacks.

Think of these benchmarks as stepping stones that will guide you towards a smooth and injury-free HIIT experience. They serve as a testament to your commitment and readiness to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the three key benchmarks that will set you up for HIIT success.

First up, we have the habit of running regularly for the past three to four months. Consistency is key here. It’s all about building a strong foundation of cardiovascular endurance and getting those legs accustomed to the rhythm of the run. Lace up those shoes, hit the pavement, and make running a part of your lifestyle.

But we don’t stop there. It’s time to level up your running game. The second benchmark calls for consistently challenging yourself during your runs, pushing your effort level to a solid 70 to 80 percent. I’m talking about stepping outside your comfort zone, embracing that burn in your muscles, and breaking through any self-imposed limitations. This is where the magic happens.

Now, onto the third benchmark—the weekly long run. Picture this: you’re out there, pounding the pavement, one foot in front of the other, for a solid hour or more. It’s a test of mental and physical endurance, a chance to tap into your inner grit and discover what you’re truly capable of. This long run builds resilience and prepares your body for the challenges that await during HIIT workouts.

If you’ve checked off these three benchmarks and you’re feeling like a running rockstar, then congratulations! You’ve laid a solid foundation for the introduction of HIIT into your training routine. You’ve shown dedication, discipline, and a burning desire to take your fitness to the next level. But hold on, if you’re just starting out on your running journey or haven’t quite met these benchmarks yet, don’t worry.

If you find yourself in this position, my advice to you is simple: invest a few months into building up your stamina. Follow a well-rounded running program that gradually increases your mileage and endurance.

Top 15 HIIT Running Workout Routines

Here are 15 HIIT variations to help you get into the best shape of your life.

Pick one or two workouts to add to your weekly program.

Make sure you incorporate at least one day of rest between each workout.

HIIT Running Workout # 1 – Sprints

Before you dive into the heart-pounding action, let’s not forget the importance of a proper warm-up. Think of it as preparing your body for the exhilarating race ahead. Engage in dynamic stretches, loosen those muscles, and get that blood pumping. A warm-up primes your body for the intensity that awaits, helping you perform at your best and reducing the risk of injury.

Now, let’s talk about sprint distances. Choose a distance that suits your fitness level and pushes you just beyond your comfort zone. It’s like selecting the perfect gear for a thrilling race. Whether it’s a 100-meter dash or a longer sprint, find the sweet spot that challenges you without overwhelming you.

As you gear up for your first sprint interval, give it everything you’ve got.  Go all out at 80 percent of your maximum effort. Feel your muscles engage, your heart pounding, and the wind rushing past you.

After each sprint, take a well-deserved breather. Recovery is crucial to catch your breath and prepare for the next explosive burst of energy. Take between 30 seconds and one minute to recover, allowing your heart rate to settle and your body to replenish its energy stores.

Repeat this exhilarating process of sprinting and recovery six to eight times. Feel the rush of adrenaline with each interval, pushing yourself beyond your limits and unlocking new levels of strength and endurance. Embrace the challenge, and remember, it’s in these intense moments that growth happens.

As you approach the finish line of your workout, it’s time to cool down. Just like a victorious athlete savors their triumph, take five minutes to gradually decrease your pace and let your body ease into a state of relaxation.

HIIT Running Workout # 2 – Hill Sprints

Get ready to take your sprinting game to new heights with an electrifying twist – hill sprints! If you’ve mastered sprinting on flat ground, it’s time to conquer the majestic slopes and unleash your lower body speed and strength.

Now, it’s time to seek out the perfect hill for your sprinting adventure. Find a steep slope that stretches between 100 to 300 feet in length. It’s like scouting for the ultimate conquerable peak, where your efforts will be rewarded with incredible speed and strength gains.

As you embark on your hill sprint session, visualize yourself as an unstoppable force, conquering the incline with every powerful stride. Feel the burn in your quads, the surge of energy in your calves, and the wind whipping through your hair. Embrace the challenge, knowing that with each step, you’re building a stronger and faster version of yourself.

Once you reach the top of the hill, take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the victorious view. It’s a triumphant pause in your ascent, a well-deserved reward for conquering the uphill battle. But don’t rest for too long, my friend, as you’ll need to make your way back down the hill for your recovery phase. Let gravity be your guide as you jog back down, allowing your body to recover and prepare for the next thrilling ascent.

Repeat this invigorating cycle of sprinting uphill and jogging back down five to eight times. Each repetition is like conquering a mini mountain, pushing your limits and elevating your performance to new heights. Embrace the burn in your muscles and the rapid beat of your heart, for it is in these challenging moments that true strength is forged.

HIIT Running Workout # 3 – The Bodyweight Routine

Picture yourself harnessing the might of your muscles, sculpting your body, and pushing yourself to new limits. Get ready for a bodyweight routine that will ignite your progress and lay the foundation for future challenges.

As a fan of bodyweight exercises, I can’t stress enough their benefits. They’re like the Swiss Army knives of the fitness world—convenient, versatile, and accessible to all. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, bodyweight exercises offer a pathway to success, as long as you prioritize proper form and stay within your fitness level. It’s all about building a solid foundation to support your fitness journey.

Now, let’s dive into a beginner-friendly routine that will set you on the path to total body strength and endurance. By incorporating these exercises regularly, you’ll lay the groundwork for even more demanding workouts in the future. So, grab your enthusiasm, put on your workout gear, and let’s conquer this bodyweight routine together!

For each exercise, aim to complete five sets of ten-to-fifteen reps. Remember, it’s not just about the quantity, but also the quality of each repetition. Focus on maintaining proper form, engaging the target muscles, and challenging yourself without compromising safety.

First up, pull-ups, the ultimate test of upper body strength. Picture yourself hanging from a sturdy bar, channeling your inner warrior as you lift your bodyweight with sheer determination. This exercise targets your back, shoulders, and arms, building strength and definition in those upper body muscles.

Next, let’s embrace the power of air squats. Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart, and sink into a squat position as if you’re preparing to sit on an imaginary chair. Feel the burn in your quadriceps and glutes as you rise back up, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Air squats are fantastic for strengthening your lower body and enhancing your overall stability.

Prepare to take a dip into the world of dips! Find parallel bars or sturdy surfaces to support your body as you lower yourself down and push back up. This exercise targets your triceps, chest, and shoulders, sculpting those upper body muscles and improving your pushing strength. Embrace the challenge, and watch your body transform.

Now, let’s shift our focus to the classic pushup. Get into a high plank position, hands shoulder-width apart, and lower your chest towards the ground before pushing back up with controlled power. Feel your chest, shoulders, and triceps engage as you conquer each repetition. Pushups are like the bread and butter of bodyweight exercises, delivering a well-rounded upper body workout.

Last but not least, forward lunges, a move that activates your lower body and challenges your balance. Step forward with one leg, lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, and push through your heel to return to the starting position.

Alternate legs with each repetition, and feel the burn in your quadriceps and glutes as you stride towards greater strength.

HIIT Running Workout # 4 – Tabata Protocol

Get ready to experience a heart-pumping, calorie-blasting, and exhilarating workout that will push your limits and leave you feeling invigorated. Introducing one of my all-time favorite HIIT workouts—the Tabata protocol.

This workout is like a burst of lightning, delivering intense intervals of effort followed by moments of recovery. It’s a high-intensity dance between pushing your limits and allowing your body to recharge.

Studies have shown that Tabata workouts, like the one we just conquered, have numerous benefits. Research papers have revealed that this form of high-intensity interval training can enhance cardiovascular fitness, improve anaerobic capacity, and even boost metabolism long after the workout is over.

For the Tabata intervals, you’ll be running at your fastest pace for 20 seconds—a sprint that will make your heart race, your lungs gasp for air, and your legs feel like they’re on fire. Channel your inner Usain Bolt as you explode forward, pushing your limits with every stride.

But don’t worry, after each 20-second burst of speed, you’ll have a moment to catch your breath and recover. It’s like a brief respite amidst the storm—a chance to regroup, refocus, and prepare for the next exhilarating round. Use those 10 seconds of recovery to jog slowly, allowing your heart rate to settle and your muscles to relax before the next sprint.

Now, let’s repeat this electrifying pattern eight times. Eight cycles of pushing your limits, followed by moments of respite. It’s a beautiful balance between exertion and recovery. With each repetition, you’ll feel your body growing stronger, your endurance soaring, and your spirit igniting with a sense of accomplishment.

HIIT Running Workout # 5 – Tabata Protocol – The Strength Version

Are you ready to take your fitness journey to the next level? Brace yourself for the ultimate challenge—Tabata bodyweight training. It’s time to put your strength, endurance, and mental fortitude to the test. But before we dive into this exhilarating workout, let’s talk about what makes it so unique and why you need to approach it with caution.

Tabata bodyweight training combines the best of both worlds: aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

It’s like a fusion of fire and air, blending the intensity of high-intensity intervals with the power of bodyweight movements. This workout will make you sweat, burn calories, and leave you feeling like a warrior who has conquered the battlefield of fitness.

However, a word of caution—Tabata bodyweight training is not for the faint of heart. It demands discipline, proper form, and a keen understanding of your fitness level. It’s important to listen to your body and know when to push yourself and when to take a step back. Remember, your safety and well-being should always be a top priority.

Here’s the workout routine:

  • Do as many high knee sprints as you can in 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Do as many squats as you can in 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Do as many pushups as you can in 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Do as many burpees as you can in 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Do as many sit-ups as you can in 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Do as many squat jumps as you can in 20 seconds

Rest for one to two minutes.

Repeat the circuit two to three times.

Finish the session with a 10-minute cool-down.

You can also try this agility ladder workout.

HIIT For Runners Workout # 6 – HIIT Time Challenge

Looking for an extra edge with your training? Try the HIIT time challenge.

Start your session with a 10-minute warm-up of light jogging.

After that, spend 20 minutes doing as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of:

  • Ten military style pushups
  • Ten hanging leg raises
  • Ten jumping squats
  • Ten burpees
  • Ten pull-ups.

Record your result, then during your next session aim to beat your record.

HIIT For Runners Workout # 7 – Jump Rope Routine

I’m a big fan of jump rope workouts.

These burn mad calories, improve your foot speed, increase coordination, and boost agility.

What’s not to like?

Here’s how to proceed:

Start with a 5 minute forward jumping rope exercise at a comfortable pace as a warm-up.

Afterward, put the rope down and do a set of full-body dynamic stretches.

Next, perform the following exercises:

  • One minute of forward jumps
  • One minute of alternate foot jumps
  • One minute of side-to-side jumps
  • One minute of double unders
  • One minute of high knee jumps
  • One minute of one-foot hops

Rest for two to three minutes, then repeat the circuit two to three times.

HIIT For Runners Workout # 8 – Plyometric HIIT Workout

Also known as explosive training, plyometric training requires your muscles to make use of maximum force in minimum time.

When doing this workout, go explosive for 30 seconds, then recover for another 30 seconds, move to the next exercise, and repeat.

Rest for one to two minutes after completing the whole circuit, then repeat it two to three times.

For a greater challenge, consider holding dumbbells at your sides while doing the workout, or wear a weighted vest.

  • Box Jumps
  • Plyo push-up
  • Jumping lunges
  • 180-degree squat jump
  • Burpees

HIIT For Runners Workout # 9  – The Ab Worker

I don’t believe in “spot reduction” exercises, but I’m pretty sure that HIIT training can tone your midsection.

It’s also a fun way to exercise your abs: HIIT style is much more enjoyable than doing crunches.

Here’s the workout.

Complete three sets of:

  • 25 Russian twists (on each side)
  • 20 Woodchoppers
  • 25 Mountain climbers
  • 20 Bicycle crunches
  • 20 Hanging leg

HIIT For Runners Workout # 10 – Medicine-Ball HIIT Workout

Medicine balls are usually lightweight.

They’re designed for simple grip and maneuverability, and they’re also a powerful tool for HIIT styled workouts.

Med ball exercises target multiple muscle groups, boost coordination, increase endurance, and improve grip strength.

Complete three sets of eight to 15 reps of:

  • Rock and roll up
  • Medicine ball push-up
  • V-up
  • Woodchopper
  • Wall toss.

HIIT For Runners Workout # 11 – Sleds Routine

Sled training is one of the most grueling workouts I’ve ever done.

The first time I ever tried it I truly thought I was going to die, but thanks to a training buddy that kept motivated, I was able to pull it through.

The premise is simple: push the sled from point A to point B as hard and fast as possible without sacrificing form.

That’s it!

If it’s your first time trying this workout, go light and slow.

Start out with a 35-pound slate or lighter.

Only after you’ve nailed proper form should you gradually add more weights and reps.

This I learned the hard way after my first go at sled workouts when I thought I was Superman, I couldn’t sit comfortably nor move my arms for two days!

Here’s how to proceed:

Load a sled on each side and push it for the desired distance.

Then rest for 30 seconds and repeat five to seven more times.

What’s good form? Keep a straight line from your head to your ankle and drive your feet diagonally into the ground with each step you take.

The power needed for the forward momentum must come from your hips and legs, not your arms.

HIIT For Runners Workout # 12 – “Fight Gone Bad” WOD

You cannot do HIIT workouts without throwing some CrossFit WODs (Workout of The Day) into the mix.

After all, CrossFit philosophy revolves around the principles of HIIT training.

I like the “Fight Gone Bad” WOD because it’s intense and will have you doing all sorts of plyo, resistance, and cardio exercises.

To do the “Fight Gone Bad” WOD, complete five rounds of:

  • Wall-ball, 20-pound ball, 10 ft targets (Reps)
  • Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds (Reps)
  • Box Jump, 20″ box (Reps)
  • Push-press, 75 pounds (Reps)
  • Row (Calories)

HIIT For Runners Workout # 14 – Filthy Fifty CrossFit Workout

The filthy 50 is another brutal CrossFit workout loaded with rigorous exercises guaranteed to push you to your breaking point.

The circuit involves performing 50 reps of 10 different exercises, all done as quickly as possible.

The exercises are:

  • 50 box jumps with a 24-inch box
  • 50 jumping pull-ups
  • 50 Kettlebell swings
  • 50 walking lunge steps
  • 50 knees to elbows
  • 50 reps of push presses with 45 pounds
  • 50 back extensions
  • 50 wall balls using a 20-pound ball
  • 50 burpees
  • 50 double-unders.

Amazing, right? If you can pull this off in under 30 minutes, then you’re in remarkable condition!

HIIT For Runners Workout # 15 – Heavy Rope HIIT Workout

Rope training is the most recent addition to my training regimen, and goodness, it’s freaking tough!

Heavy rope exercises target every major muscle in the body and will push you to the breaking point if you’re not careful.

Here’s a workout routine to try:

Start with a 10 to 15 minutes dynamic warm-up, then perform the following battling rope exercises:

  • One minute of rope waves
  • One minute of shoulder press
  • One minute of rope spirals
  • One minute of side slams
  • One minute of alternating wave lunge jump
  • One minute of start jumps.

HIIT Running Workout Routines – The Conclusion

There you have it. The above HIIT running workout routines are some of the most efficient and powerful workouts you can ever do to improve your fitness and health.

Feel free to leave your comments and questions below, and as always, thanks for stopping by. Keep running strong!

David D.

Lunges for Runners: Boost Performance and Prevent Injuries

weighted lunge exercise

If you’re all about lunges, whether you’re rocking the weighted lunges, pulse lunges, or alternating lunges, then you’ve stumbled upon a goldmine of information right here.

Now, let me share a little secret with you: lunges hold a special place in my heart. They’re like the rockstars of strength exercises, always delivering a powerful punch to your lower body.

I’m talking about the classic lunges, but wait, there’s more! I’ll unveil 10 amazing variations that will spice up your routine and target different areas of those mighty legs.

But here’s the exciting part: lunges are not just any ordinary exercise. They have a special connection with runners, making them an ideal addition to your training regimen. Why, you ask? Well, when you perform lunges, you’re stepping into a world of balance and single-leg motion—just like when you’re out there on the running track.

With every lunge, your body slightly tips the scales, shifting the focus onto one leg at a time. It’s a dynamic movement that mimics the very essence of running itself. Talk about functional training, right?

Are you ready? Let’s lunge our way to superior running performance!

What Do Lunges Work?

Get ready to uncover the incredible benefits that lunges bring to the table. These bad boys are not just your average exercise—oh no, they hold the power to transform you into a speed demon, all while keeping injuries at bay.

Let’s dive into the magnificent world of lunges and discover why they’re a runner’s best friend.

Strong Muscles

Imagine this: you’re out on a run, feeling the wind in your hair and the pavement beneath your feet. But wait, what’s that? It’s the whisper of stronger, more powerful legs calling your name. That’s right, my friend, lunges are the key to unlocking your full running potential.

These leg-strengthening wonders target your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes like nothing else. It’s like a symphony of muscles working together, harmoniously propelling your body forward. By building strength and power in these areas, you’ll be ready to unleash lightning-fast sprints and conquer the track like a true champion.

But there’s more to the story than meets the eye. You see, lunges have a secret weapon—balance. As you gracefully lunge forward, your body demands stability. Meet the glute minimus and glute medius, the unsung heroes of your lower body stability. Strengthening these muscles indirectly through lunges adds an extra layer of protection to your running journey.

Protect Against Injury

We all know that running can be tough on the body, especially when it comes to our precious knees. But fear not, for lunges are here to save the day. By strengthening the muscles surrounding your knees—hello, hamstrings, quads, and calves—you’re providing them with a suit of armor. It’s like placing a shield of strength around your knees, shielding them from the high-impact nature of running and reducing the strain placed upon them.

Balance & Coordination

Just like a tightrope walker gracefully glides across the thin wire, lunges are the secret to enhancing your single-leg balance. Think of it as a dance between your body and the ground, a delicate ballet that strengthens your stability muscles. By incorporating lunges into your routine, you’re building a fortress of stability, protecting yourself from the treacherous ankle sprains that may lurk around the corner.

But there’s more to lunges than meets the eye. They hold the key to unlocking the power of your stride. Imagine yourself as a gazelle, gracefully bounding through the wilderness. Lunges can help you increase your stride length, propelling you towards newfound speed and agility.

In fact, a study published in the prestigious “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” discovered the remarkable connection between lunges and improved running performance. They found that lunges, both the forward and jumping variations, can skyrocket hamstring strength and boost your running speed. It’s like unlocking a hidden gear within yourself, ready to take on any race or challenge that comes your way.

But wait, there’s more! Lunges aren’t just a fantastic exercise to include in your workout routine—they’re also a powerhouse warm-up tool. Before you dive into the intensity of your training session, lunges can ignite the fire within your hamstrings and quadriceps. They prepare your lower limbs for action, enhancing their function and getting your body temperature rising. It’s like revving up the engine of a sports car, getting it ready to hit the track with power and precision.


You’re on the go, traveling the world, and suddenly you feel the burning desire to squeeze in a workout. But wait, you’re in a cramped hotel room with limited equipment. Fear not, my friend, because lunges are here to save the day.

The beauty of lunges lies in their practicality. They require minimal space and can be done almost anywhere. All you need is a clear area to unleash your lunging prowess and the motivation to push yourself. Whether you’re in a park, at home, or even in a hotel room with limited legroom, lunges have got your back.

But what if you’re just starting your fitness journey or have specific fitness needs? Fear not, for lunges are a versatile exercise that can be tailored to suit your unique requirements. They are scalable, meaning you can easily modify them to fit your fitness level. Feeling like a lunging warrior? Add some weights to challenge your muscles even more. Want to amp up the intensity? Increase the number of reps or widen your lunges for an extra burn. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination and determination.

Similar to the endless creativity of artists, lunges, just like push-ups, squats, and planks, provide an endless canvas of possibilities. You can explore forward lunges, reverse lunges, walking lunges, side lunges, jumping lunges, and so much more. It’s like having a buffet of lunging goodness, ensuring that boredom is banished from your fitness journey.

The 10 Lunges Variations to Try

This post outline 9  types of lunges you can add to your strength cross training workouts.

That’s a lot of variations, but if you are like me then you surely realize that variety is the spice of life.

1. The Basic Lunge

This is the standard lunge.

Use this one to master proper lunge form and to target the hamstrings and glutes.

Proper Form

Assume an athletic position with feet hip width apart, back straight, core engaged.

Next, take an exaggerated step forward with your right foot, then lower your left knee within an inch of the floor.

Next, use the muscles of your left leg to pull yourself back up into the starting position, then continue forward alternating between the right and left leg.

Make sure to keep your upper body engaged but in a neutral position, just like when standing with a proper posture.

Allow for no forwards nor backward leaning.

And don’t twist either.

Embrace your core by pulling your belly button back toward your spine. Focus on reaching ahead of your body as you as possible while moving in a straight line the entire time.

Complete 12 lunges with each leg to complete one set.

2. Weighted Lunges


To make the basic lunge more challenging, add weights to it.

You can up the ante by using a set of challenging dumbbells, kettlebells or a loaded bar.

You can also use heavy gym bag or your kid, if they don’t mind.

Additional resource – The Myrtle routine

Proper Form

Begin by holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms fully extended overhead.

If you are using a barbell, then to rest it across your upper back and have control over the weight the entire time.

Next, step forward into a deep lunge with your right leg, then drop deep into the lunge by bending both knees to a 90-degree angle.

Please, keep your chest up and torso upright throughout the movement.

No hinging forward is allowed.

Keep your core engaged the entire time to help you keep good form and protect your lower back.

Last up, bring your left leg forward and switch sides to complete one rep.

3. Jumping Lunges


Add a plyometric effect to your lunges by incorporating this powerful move into your training arsenal.

Jumping lunges are key for increasing explosive strength and endurance in your lower body, which can help you run faster, and more efficiently.

This is a high intensity exercises, so pace yourself and be careful.

Proper Form

Start in a basic lunge position with your right leg in front.

Next, lower down until your knees almost touches the floor, push through both feet then quickly explode upward so that your feet come together and switch your legs midair to end up in a lunge with your left leg in front.

Keep switching legs in this manner as fast as you can for one full minute to complete one set.

4. Backwards Lunges


This is the backward way of doing the basic lunge.

The backwards lunge emphasizes the quads and glutes more than any other muscle.

Proper Form

Assume an athletic position, then take a large and controlled step backwards with your right leg, landing on the ball of the foot, then bend both knees until they are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Lower your hips until your front thigh is parallel to the floor with the lead knee positioned directly over your ankle.

Make sure your left knee is over your left ankle.

Last up, extend your knees and hips and press back up to standing position, then switch sides.

Continue alternating legs for 24 reps total to complete one set.

Additional reading – How to Avoid Running Injury

5. Reverse Lunge and Kick


This one takes the above a variation a level higher and it’s great as a warm-up exercise as well.

Plus, it’s a great dynamic stretch for your hamstrings and hip flexors.

Proper Form

Stand tall with back straight and core engaged.

Then step back with your right foot coming into a deep lunge, and bending both knees to a 90-degree angle.

That’s your starting position.

Next, to perform this variation, shift your weight into the left foot and press your left heel into the floor as you push off with your right foot, kicking your right leg up and out in front you (like a kickboxing move) and touching your right toes to your left hand (if you can).

Last up, return to the lunge position in a slow and controlled manner.

Switch sides to complete one rep.

Aim for 12 reps to complete one set.

6. Lateral Lunges


Also known as the side lunge, this variation is key for building strength in the abductors and hip stabilizing muscles.

This move also improves flexibility in the hamstrings and hip flexors.

Proper Form

From a standing position, step your right foot directly out to you right side.

Next, bend your right knee and sit your hips back, while keeping your left leg extended, and both feet flat on the floor the entire time.

Focus on pushing your hips back as if going to sit down on a low chair and keep your foot flat on the ground the entire time.

Last, and with a smooth and effortless transition, press back up to starting posting by pushing with your right leg.

Then repeat on the other side.

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

8. Lunge with Rear Leg raise


This variation ups the ante with your stability and balance while hitting hard the glutes and hamstrings.

Proper Form

Start by performing the standard lunge with your right leg forward.

Next, while engaging your core and extending your right leg, hinge forward at the hips and lift your back leg straight up until it’s parallel to the floor.

Make sure to form a straight line from your head to your left heel.

Last up, return to standing position and switch sides.

Aim for 8 reps on each side to complete one set.

9. Step-up and Lunge


This move will come in handy if you do any type of uphill running.

In fact, the step-up and lunge is one of the best runners oriented strength exercises that there is.

This move can also help you jump higher, sprint faster and build some serious muscles in your lower body.

To perform this variation, you will need a step or a box about mid-shin height.

Proper Form

Begin by stepping your right foot onto the box or step, while the left foot is firmly planted on the ground and stretched back into a lunge position.

Next, look forward, engage your core, push through your right heel, then stand all the way up and bring your leg left to a high knee.

Then move your leg back to starting position in slow and controlled manner and lower down into a deep lunge without wobbling.

Do 8 to 10 reps on each side to complete one set.

You can make this move more challenging by holding a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.

10. Pulse Lunges


This one is ideal if you are looking to build endurance in you all of your lower leg muscles without moving much.

The pulse can teach you a lot of keeping yourself in check and under control while you feel the burn.

Proper Form

Assume a standard lunge position with your right leg as the lead leg.

Next, begin pulsing by lowering down and up about 3 inches repeatedly until you have performed all reps.

If you are starting to feel the burn and legs start shaking during this exercise, then you are in the right place.

This is what’s supposed to happen.

Perform 16 to 20 pulses in the low position on each side to complete one set.


And that’s it for today. I hope you like the above 10 lunge variations. Just make sure to start doing them ASAP. Strength training for runners is non-negotiable.

In the meantime, thank you for reading my post.

Feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

David D.

Unleashing the Power of Isometric Training for Runners: Benefits and Techniques

Today, I’m about to introduce you to a workout routine that will push your limits and take your fitness to new heights. And the best part? You won’t need a single piece of equipment, gym membership, or even a personal trainer by your side. Intrigued? Let me unveil the world of isometric exercises!

Now, I must admit, when I first stumbled upon isometric training during my adventures with the famous P90X workout program, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, as a runner, I thrive on the freedom of movement, the thrill of conquering the outdoors, and the bustling streets. The idea of staying put in one place and holding a seemingly never-ending pose didn’t exactly excite me. But let me tell you something – isometric exercises pack a powerful punch.

Picture this: you’re in the comfort of your own home, no need to step foot outside, and yet you’re about to embark on a workout that will challenge every muscle in your body. Isometric exercises are all about holding a static position, activating multiple muscle groups simultaneously, and building strength and endurance like never before.

Now, are you ready to rise to the challenge? Let’s dive into the world of isometric training.

Isometric Exercises– The Simple Definition

Alright, let’s dive into the fascinating world of isometric training! Picture this: you’re in the midst of a workout, muscles engaged, but there’s one catch—no movement allowed.

That’s right, with isometric exercises, you’ll experience the power of static strength training. During these exercises, your muscles will contract and tense up, but without any noticeable changes in muscle length or joint angle.

Now, you might be wondering who typically ventures into the realm of isometric training. Well, it’s no surprise that physical therapists, Pilates trainers, and weightlifters are among the fitness aficionados who embrace these exercises. But here’s the exciting part: as a runner, you can also reap incredible benefits by incorporating isometric exercises into your strength training routine.

Research and studies have shown that isometric training can enhance muscle strength, stability, and endurance. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that isometric exercises can lead to significant improvements in muscular strength and performance.

Another study from the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports discovered that isometric training can effectively improve joint stability and reduce the risk of injuries.

By integrating isometric exercises into your routine, you’ll target specific muscle groups, build strength in a controlled manner, and improve overall stability. Whether you’re focusing on your core, glutes, or lower body, isometric exercises allow you to activate multiple muscle fibers simultaneously, laying the groundwork for improved running form and efficiency.

Imagine this: as you hold a challenging isometric pose, your muscles are firing up like a well-coordinated symphony, creating a solid platform of strength and stability. It’s like unlocking the secret key to enhanced running performance. So, my fellow runners, don’t miss out on the incredible benefits that isometric training has to offer. Add these exercises to your repertoire and watch as your running game reaches new heights.

Isometric Exercises Benefits For Runners

Let’s talk about the incredible benefits that isometric training brings to the table. Prepare to be amazed!

First and foremost, let’s address convenience. Isometric training is the epitome of simplicity and accessibility. It’s like having a personal workout genie at your disposal. All you need is yourself, maybe a comfy mat if you prefer, and you’re ready to embark on your fitness journey. No need for fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships.

Now, here’s the beauty of isometric exercises—they deliver maximum impact in minimal time. So, even if your schedule is jam-packed and time is not on your side, you can still squeeze in an effective workout without compromising your other commitments.

One of the most remarkable benefits of isometric training is its ability to boost strength and endurance simultaneously. Research studies have shown that isometric exercises engage nearly all of the motor units in your muscles, resulting in increased strength and improved stamina. It’s like activating an army of muscle fibers, unleashing their full potential to conquer any physical challenge.

And the best part? You can achieve this without any equipment or external resistance—just your own bodyweight against the force of gravity. It’s like harnessing the power within to push your limits and emerge stronger than ever.

But wait, there’s more! Isometric training also has a hidden secret—it enhances flexibility. It’s like a two-for-one deal, giving you both strength and flexibility in a single package. By holding those intense static positions, your muscles adapt and become more pliable, improving your range of motion and overall flexibility. This not only enhances your performance in running and other physical activities but also helps prevent pesky injuries from slowing you down.

Now, here’s a game-changer—low impact. Isometric exercises are a runner’s dream, especially during recovery days or weeks. These workouts are gentle on your joints, providing a nurturing environment for your body to heal and rebuild. They target specific problem areas, like the quads, hips, calves, and back, helping correct muscle imbalances that may hinder your performance.

6 Isometric Exercises For Runners

Get ready to ignite your core, engage your glutes, and unleash a symphony of muscle activation throughout your entire body! The routine I’m about to share with you is like a fiery workout conductor, orchestrating strength and resilience in every move.

But here’s the exciting part—consistency is the key to reaping the rewards. By incorporating this routine into your regular training, you’re not only on your way to improving your running posture but also fortifying your body against those pesky overuse running injuries. Consider it a powerful suit of armor for your running adventures!

Now, let’s dive into the routine. Each exercise is designed to be held for one to two minutes, allowing you to truly feel the burn and challenge your muscles to their fullest potential. It’s like savoring each moment, immersing yourself in the intensity, and emerging stronger than ever.

Remember, transitions are just as important as the exercises themselves. Take a glorious 30-second rest between each move, allowing your body to recover and prepare for the next challenge.

To complete one circuit, perform each exercise in the prescribed order. Feel the rhythm of the routine as you progress from one move to the next, building momentum and intensity with each repetition. And don’t forget to infuse your journey with personalization. Rest for 30 seconds to one minute between each circuit, adjusting the duration based on your fitness level and the time you have at hand. I

1. Isometric Calf Exercise


Strong calves are key for efficient and pain-free running.

Good news is isometric calf raises strengthen the larger, outermost muscle that is in charge the size and shape of your calves.

Proper Form

Start by standing tall on the edge of a step or on a sturdy box, with your feet shoulder width apart and knees straight.

Next, rise up onto your toes and try to balance your bodyweight on the balls of your feet.

If you have any balance issues here, then feel free to grab a chair or a wall if necessary.

Hold the position for one full minute then slowly lower your heels to starting position.

Remember these are not your typical calf raises, so hold the pose for as long as you can with good form.

Feel the burn, welcome it, and hold it for longer as you get stronger and fitter.

2. Isometric Leg Extensions


This move mainly targets the quadriceps—muscles at the front of your thighs—as well as the hips flexors.

Strong hip flexor and quads have been shown by study to reduce the risks of runner’s knee and other overuse injuries.

Proper Form

Sit on a chair with your tailbone firmly against the back of the chair, hands resting on the chair with both feet flat on the floor.

Next, while gazing ahead and keeping the back straight, slowly extend your right leg out in front of you, engage your quads, and reach your toes toward your shin as much as you can without losing form.

Hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute, then lower down to starting position and change sides.

3. Isometric Wall Chair


This beast of an exercise boosts endurance and strength in the quads, glutes, and calves—all major running muscles.

So it’s really a lower body exercise per excellence.

The isometric wall chair can also help you improve flexibility and mobility in your lower body.

Proper Form

Stand with your upper back and back of your head against the wall.

Keep your feet about two feet out in front of you.

Next, while holding your arms across your chest, lower yourself in a slow and controlled manner down by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Hold this squat position for one full minute, then slowly press back up to starting position.

If this pose was too easy, you can always up the ante by alternating between lifting your right foot for a few seconds then your left.

Additional Resource – 13 Exercises to improve running Skills

4. Split Squat


If you have weak glutes and quads, then you are running a high risk of runner knee and a plethora of other overuse injuries.

So ward off the risks by doing split squats.

This iso move focuses mainly on the glutes and quads, and will also help you boost hip flexor mobility and improve overall lower body flexibility.

Proper Form

Assume an athletic stance with back straight and core engaged, then step into a lunge position , making sure your toes are pointing straight ahead.

Next, make the pose more challenging by sinking down until your front knee is bent to a 90 degrees and your back knee nearly touches the floor.

This is the split squat position.

Hold for 30 seconds to one full minute, then push yourself back up to starting position, then switch sides.

5. Forearm Plank


This is a great move to increase strength and endurance in your core muscles and shoulders.

Proper Form

Assume a plank position with the forearms on a well padded mat, back straight, and body forming a straight line.

Next, tighten your abs, squeeze your glutes, and hold the pose for one to two minute to complete one set.

Additional reading – How to Prevent Overuse Injury

6. Squat Hold


An ideal move for increasing endurance and strength in all major running muscles—think glutes, quads and calves.

Holding the squat can also help you improve flexibility and mobility in your lower body.

Proper Form

Start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, core activated and back straight.

Next, bend your knees and squat down so your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Imagine that you are sitting on imaginary chair, and hold the pose for one to two minutes.

Bonus Isometric Exercises For Runners

Static Lunge

Muscles targeted: Quadriceps, glutes and calves.

Proper Form:

Stand feet hip-width apart, then step forward your right foot two to three feet in front of you.

Make sure to keep your hands on your hips, back flat, chest up, the entire time.

Next, while engaging your core, bend your knees and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, slowly lower your left knee to within an inch of the ground, then hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute.

Last up, return to starting position, and switch sides to complete one set.

Isometric Push-up

Targeted muscles: Chest, biceps and back.

Proper Form:

Assume a proper push-up position with back straight, hands aligned with your chest with the fingers pointing straight forward.

Make sure your legs are straight and body forming a straight line from head to ankles.

Next, bend your elbows and lower down until your chest is about two to three inches off the floor.

Hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute, then push back up to starting position.


Muscles Targeted: The core and lower back.

Proper Form:

Begin by laying face down on your stomach, then extend your legs and arms as far forward and as far back you can.

Make sure to keep your neck and head in a neutral position.

Next, to perform the superman, simultaneously lift your arms and your legs slowly off the floor, forming an elongated “U” shape with your body, then hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.

For more challenge, try squeezing your lower back and/or holding a set of light dumbbell in each hand.

Glute Bridge

Muscles targeted: Core, glutes and lower back.

Proper Form:

Lie down on your back on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Next, lift your hips up so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.

Hold the position for 30 second to one minute, then slowly lower your body to starting position.

For more challenge, try lifting one leg off the floor, then extending it up toward the ceiling.

Static Sumo Squat

Muscles targeted: Glutes, Hip Adductors, quads, and calves.

Proper Form:

Begin standing with your feet wide apart, back flat and toes slightly turned out.

Next, while keeping your back straight and heels on the ground, bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Then, press your forearms or elbows against the inside of your knees then hold the position for 30 seconds to one full minute.

Last up, press back up to starting position, then move to the next exercise.

For more challenge, hold a medicine ball or a weight plate in front of your chest instead of pressing your arms against the inside of the knees.

Isometric Pull-ups

Muscles Engaged: Biceps and lats.

Proper Form:

Begin by gripping the pull-up bar with a palms facing away from your body, or what’s knows as a pronated grip.

Next, perform the pull up as you normally would, but once your chin touches the bar height, hold yourself there for 20 to 30 seconds.

Hold it for more once you get used to the exercise.

Last up, lower slowly to the floor, and repeat the whole circuit two to three times

Isometric Training for Runners  – The Conclusion

Now the ball is in your court. Just make sure to do the above isometric exercises for runners at least once a week. That’s enough training to help you improve your athletic performance and become the best runner you can be.

In the meantime thank you for reading my post.

Feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

David D.

Kettlebell Kings: 9 Top Exercises to Revolutionize Your Running Performance

woman performing Kettlebell Exercise

If you’re aiming to enhance your overall running prowess and become a better runner, it’s time to shift your focus to training those running muscles for improved strength, core stability, balance, and endurance.

The solution? Kettlebells.

These versatile training tools are just what you need to level up your running game, helping you run with more strength and speed while torching calories along the way. Kettlebell exercises are renowned for being among the best for full-body strength and conditioning, making them a perfect fit for runners.

The beauty of kettlebells lies in their efficiency—they deliver a killer workout in under 20 minutes. What’s more, kettlebell training won’t bulk you up but will instead build strength in essential running areas like your glutes, legs, and core.

In this article, we’ll explore the top 9 kettlebell exercises tailored for runners, providing three workout routines that will have you swinging, lifting, and pressing your way to the next level of running excellence.

Are you ready to take your running to new heights? Let’s dive in!

1. The Cardio Blaster Workout

This workout will have you sweating and panting for a breath in no time, and it’s ideal if you are looking to improve your power and speed while also improving endurance in your muscles.

Just pace yourself here and make sure to pick a relatively lightweight because you will be doing a lot of reps with each move.


Kettlebell Swing

Begin by holding the kettlebell with both hands using a two-handed, overhand grip. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, toes pointing slightly outward.

To perform the swing exercise, bend at the hips until the kettlebell is hanging between your legs. While engaging your core muscles, swing the kettlebell up by explosively extending through the hips and knees. Allow the weight to swing back to the starting position. This completes one rep.

Aim to do 16 to 20 reps to complete one set and aim for three sets.


Kettlebell Snatch

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the kettlebell with an overhand grip. Squat down until the kettlebell is positioned between your feet.

Explode up out of the squat and drive the weight overhead by pulling it along a vertical path in front of your body in one fluid motion. Pause momentarily at the top.

Lower the kettlebell down to the starting position. Perform 16 to 20 reps on each side to complete one set. Aim to do three sets of this exercise.

You can refer to the provided YouTube links for visual demonstrations of these exercises.


Kettlebell Thruster

Begin by grabbing two kettlebells, one in each hand, and clean them up to shoulder height by extending your legs. This is your starting position.

To perform the thrusters, squat down while holding the kettlebells in your hands pause for a second. Then, reverse direction and stand up by pressing through your heels and extending your arms overhead. This completes one rep.

Aim to perform 12 to 16 reps to complete one set. Aim to do three sets of this exercise.

2. The Strength Builder Workout

For strength, do this workout. Make sure to pick a really challenging weight and perform the exercises in a slow and controlled manner.

Proper form is king here. This routine will help you build muscles all over your body with an emphasis on the glutes, quads, and core, key running muscles.

Kettlebell Front Squat

Hold two kettlebells in front of your shoulders.

Assume an athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, squat down by bending at the hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Pause for a moment at the bottom of the squat. Then, stand back up by pressing through your heels and extending your knees and hips. Maintain a straight back and keep your knees pointed in the same direction throughout the movement.

This completes one rep. Aim to perform 10 to 12 reps to complete one set. Aim for three sets of this exercise.

Kettlebell Deadlift

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the kettlebell on the floor between your legs.  Pull your shoulders back, engage your core, and squat down to grab the kettlebell. Lift the kettlebell while keeping your chest high and squeezing your glutes.

Pause for a moment at the top of the movement. Squat down and lower the kettlebell to the floor to complete one repetition.

Aim to perform 8 to 10 reps to finish one set. Aim for three sets of this exercise.

The Turkish Get-up

Begin by lying face up on the floor while holding a kettlebell in your right hand, with your arm fully extended above your chest. This is the starting position.

To perform the Turkish Get-up, lift the kettlebell toward the ceiling as you roll up onto your left elbow by driving your right foot into the floor. Push yourself up to a standing position, keeping the kettlebell lifted overhead.

Stand tall with the kettlebell locked overhead, maintain a straight back, and pause for a moment. Reverse the movement back to the starting position, and then switch sides.

Perform 6 to 8 reps on each side to complete one set. Aim for three sets of this exercise.

3. The Core Ripper Workout

Kettlebells are so famous because they are some of the best core exercises there is. Therefore, here are 3 core moves to help you sculpt your core and build a strong midsection.

Kettlebell Plank with Row

Assume a plank position with your back straight, core engaged, arms straight, and hands grasping two kettlebell handles. Take a deep breath, then raise one kettlebell up until it reaches your hip.

Pause for a count of three at the top of the movement, then lower it down. Switch sides to complete one repetition.

Perform 10 to 12 reps to complete one set. Aim to do three sets of this exercise.

Kettlebell Windmill

Start by holding a kettlebell with your right hand and lift it up overhead while locking the arm and keeping the elbow straight, with your eyes on the weight throughout the movement. Turn your left foot out at a 45-degree angle.

Hinge at your hips until you can touch your left foot or the floor with your left hand. Pause for a moment at the bottom of the movement. Lift back to the starting position while keeping your legs straight, and the kettlebell lifted overhead.

Change sides to complete one repetition. Aim to perform eight reps to complete one set. Aim for three sets of this exercise.

Russian Twists

Sit on the floor with knees bent, feet about hip-distance apart, and core engaged.

Next, hold the weight with both hands at chest level, lean back, lift the legs off the floor, then rotate your torso from right to left, lightly tapping it to the ground with each rep.

Do eight reps on each side to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

Featured Image Credit – Ville Cotimaki via Flickr

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

runner doing Legs Strength Exercises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s go!

Leg Exercise for Runners 1 – Lunges

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, quads, calves.

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

That’s your starting position.

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

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

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

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

Aim for five sets.

Leg Exercise for Runners 2 – Calf Raises

Targeted Muscles: The calves.

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

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

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

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

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

Additional resource – Maintaining muscle during marathon training

Leg Exercise for Runners 3 – Squats

Targeted Muscles: Quads, glutes, calves and core.

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

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

That’s one rep.

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

Do 10 to 12 reps to complete one set.

Aim for five sets.

Additional reading – How to Prevent Overuse Injury

Leg Exercise for Runners 4 – Sumo Squats

Targeted Muscles: Inner thighs, and quads.

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

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

That’s the starting position.

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

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

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

Do five sets in the 10 to 12 rep range.

Leg Exercise for Runners – 5 – Leg Presses

Targeted Muscles: Quads, glutes, calves, hamstrings.

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

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

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

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

Do five sets of 12 reps each.

Leg Exercise for Runners 6 – Single-leg Deadlifts

Targeted Muscles: Hamstrings, glutes.

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

That’s the starting position.

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

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

Aim for 5 sets.

Leg Exercise for Runners 7 – Lunges With Rotations

Targeted Muscles: Quads, glutes, calves and core.

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

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

Next, take another step forward and repeat the motion.

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

Do 5 sets.

Leg Exercise for Runners 8 – The Cable Knee Drive

Targeted Muscles: Hip flexors and glutes.

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

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

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

Aim for five sets.

Additional resource – Clamshells for runners

The Best Leg Workout for Runners  – Conclusion

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

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

In the meantime thank you for reading my blog.

David D.

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.