Want to become a stronger, faster, efficient, injury-proof runner? Strength training is one of the single most important non-running aspects of training that can help you become a better runner.
Add these 4 running specific strength training exercises to your running routine.
1) Bulgarian Split Squats
Working muscles: Quads, glutes, core and calves.
Progression: Standing in a lunge position, rest the toes of the back foot on a one- to two-foot bench or box. Lower the torso straight down by bending the front knee, ensuring it isn’t lunging forward beyond the toes. When the forward thigh is parallel to the ground hold for one to two seconds and then slowly come back up to a neutral position. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each leg.
Working muscles: Core, shoulders and back.
Progression: Alternate lifting each leg six inches off the ground for eight counts. This also engages the glutes. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
The plank is the perfect exercise for strengthening the entire core, and core strength is essential for improving stride, form and speed. In a push-up position, with hands planted under the shoulders, align the body straight from the top of the head through the heels. Tighten up the abs while lifting through the chest to create as much space as possible in between the chest and the ground.
3) Lateral Step-Up
Working muscles: Quads, hamstrings, glutes and core.
Progression: Holding a 10-pound weight, stand next to a two to three foot high bench or box. Step the inside foot up onto the bench. Engaging the core and the glute muscles in the stepping leg, step all the way up, while bringing the outside knee up to a 90-degree angle. Hold there for two seconds then lower down with control. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side.
Working muscles: Chest, core, biceps, triceps and back.
Progression: In a plank position, with the hands planted two to three feet apart under the chest line, bend elbows and descend down for two counts until the chest nearly touches the ground. Rise back to plank position for two counts. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
Paula Smith, ACE CPT www.paulasmithfitness.com
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