Strength-Training Exercises for Runners

Here are some strength-training exercises that are great for runners as well.


Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your left knee and rest your sole against your inner right thigh. Reach your arms straight overhead and then lengthen forward over your straight right leg and hold onto your foot, ankle or leg, depending on how far you can stretch comfortably. Every time you exhale, try to sink into the stretch a bit more. After 30 to 60 seconds, sit up and repeat with a bent right leg and straight left leg.

STEP IT UP: Try this stretch with both legs extended out in front of you.

WHY? This exercise stretches your back and hamstrings. Doing it regularly, you will soon improve your flexibility.

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Stand up straight with feet together. Take a large step in front of you with your right foot, putting your hands on the ground on either side of it, and lower into a deep runner’s lunge. Keeping your hands on the floor, fully straighten your back leg and raise your hips back and up as you straighten your front leg and lift your toes until you feel a stretch. Lower back down into a lunge and step your left foot in to meet your right. Repeat this movement, stepping forward with your left leg.

STEP IT UP: Add one more movement: When you return to the runner’s lunge, twist your torso toward your bent knee and raise the same arm as your front leg up toward the ceiling. Return to the lunge and step your feet together.

WHY? This is many people’s favorite dynamic warm-up and a must-do before speed work and races. It opens up your tightest spots: quads, hips, calves and hamstrings.

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FORWARD HIGH KNEES_strength-training exercisesFORWARD HIGH KNEES

Stand with both feet on the ground. Raise your left knee toward your chest, propelling your body forward, and move your arms as if you’re running (right arm forward). Alternate legs and arms so your right knee lifts toward your chest, keeping your abs engaged so your back is straight and your butt doesn’t stick out. Do the exercise until you cover 50 meters. Turn around and repeat four times.

STEP IT UP: If you’re feeling sluggish mid-run, lift your knees higher during every stride for 10 seconds.

WHY? This plyo exercise is great to perform at the end of your run, because it trains your knees to lift higher while running, and the quick switches between feet help with your running cadence.

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GLUTE BRIDGE_strength-training exercisesGLUTE BRIDGE

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. Your arms should be alongside you with palms facing down. Press your feet into the floor as you raise your hips. Keep knees hip-width apart, and don’t let them splay. Press down through your arms and shoulders as you raise your hips higher. Release the pose by slowly unrolling your back to the floor one vertebra at a time.

STEP IT UP: For a deeper stretch, you may clasp your hands under your back with your shoulders tucked underneath you. You can also use weights.

WHY? This exercise focuses on your butt, hips and abs.

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Stand up straight with feet together, holding a dumbbell in both hands. Cross the right leg behind your left to come into a curtsy, bending both knees. Push off with your right foot to bring your right leg to the side and go down into a lateral lunge. This completes one rep. Continue alternating between these two moves for a total of 10 reps. Then repeat on the other side.

STEP IT UP: To make it tougher, increase the weight of the dumbbell.

WHY? To build strong stabilizer muscles in your legs and butt, this combo move will work your butt from multiple angles to help lift and sculpt your butt.

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OBLIQUE PUSHUPS_strength-training exercisesOBLIQUE PUSHUPS

Begin in a plank position with straight arms. Start by bending your right knee toward the outside of your right elbow. Touch your knee to your elbow and repeat on the left side. Repeat this move several times with each leg to warm up your muscles. Now, start lowering your body into a push-up position, while alternating knees to elbows. Repeat 15 times on each side.

STEP IT UP: Once you can do 15 on each side, try doing two sets of 10–15 reps.

WHY? These oblique push-ups are very tough, but they work so many parts of your body simultaneously. It may take some time to get there, but once you can complete these, you will feel like a winner.

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Written by Kyra Williams

Kyra Williams likes to say in a joke that she preferred running to walking already as a child. Regular running has always been part of her life and she has joined several running events. She loves long runs with her loyal playful companion Vicky, Brittany Spaniel, in the early morning or in the evening.


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