Improve your run with strength training!
Strength exercises are a must if you want to take your running to the next level. Every runner and every body is different, but you’ll benefit from these exercises regardless of whether you’ve just started Couch to 5K, or whether you’re a seasoned long distance runner. We know that a lot of runners don’t like gyms, but you don’t have to join a gym or become a gym rat, to perform a great and efficient workout. Find a bit of floor space at home and use your body weight or a resistance band to do some strength training. “Why should I do anything other than running?” you may ask. Well… because supplementing running with strength exercises will not only help prevent sports-related overuse injuries, but will also make you a stronger, faster and more efficient runner.
I speak from personal experience here, as over the past few months, I have devoted and dedicated more time to strength training and have really noticed a difference. Training for ultras, as I do, involves running high mileage during the week. Incorporating a strength training session each week has allowed me to build-up my strength and resistance very quickly. It’s alleviated my IT band issues and has helped me break personal records too. Since incorporating strength exercises into my running routine, I have achieved PBs across various distances – 5k, 10k and half marathon!
If I can, you can.
Give these 5 strength exercises a try and see if you notice a difference…
1. Glutes & Hamstrings Activation
Muscle group it targets: Glutes, quads and hamstrings
Description: Weak glutes can lead to a few different running injuries like shinsplints, IT band syndrome or runner’s knee. By simply forcing you to lift your legs over a raised object, this exercise will make your glutes, quads and hamstring work in unison (trust me, you’ll feel the burn!). You should also feel your hip flexors working.
Sets/reps: 4 sets of 10 reps per leg. Increase to 15-20 if too easy.
2. Side Plank Rotation
Muscle group it targets: Obliques and transverse abdominal muscles
Description: This is a great alternative from the well-known plank. It will help you improve your balance and core strength, which will improve your running posture, as a good core allows your trunk to stay rock-solid after your foot strikes the ground. Better control, better balance… better, faster running!
Sets/reps: 2 sets of 15 reps on each side.
3. Chair Dips
Muscle group it targets: Triceps
Description: An easy exercise to do at home or in a gym. The result stronger arms and consequently, less fatigue and easier movement when running. We tend to forget how important the role of our arms are in the running gait. They will counterbalance legs movements and help your body getting balance and projection.
Sets/reps: 4 sets of 10 reps.
4. Abs & Coordination
Muscle group it targets: Abs muscles & quads
Description: This exercise will be a great abs burner, but it will also enhance your coordination. It is not about the speed; try to get the movement and the coordination right (between your leg and your arm).
Sets/reps: 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
5. Glutes Activation No 2 (Jane Fonda style!)
Muscle group it targets: Glutes
Description: A killer exercise for you here! Use a resistance band to make it more difficult. If you don’t have one, it will still work very well without.
Sets/reps: 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
If you want to watch the demo videos of our wonderful Dundee team performing these strength exercises, then head over to the video section on Dundee’s Facebook page: facebook.com/Run4ItDundee/videos/
If you need any further information or advice on how to stay injury free and improve your run, feel free to contact any one of our team members, in our shops or online.