Strength training is important for not only serious athletes but recreational runners as well. Not only does it help you build lean muscles that power your body through tough runs, but it also boosts your metabolism to help with weight control and strengthens your bones against age-related deterioration. A solid strength training program can help runners improve power and help prevent injuries.
Here are some of our top workouts that runners should include in their strength-training program.
Squats are the most effective exercise to strengthen the entire lower body. Squats target the quads, hamstrings, hips, hip flexors, and glutes, and even activate your core. When done properly, they can also help strengthen your knees and prevent knee pain and injury. Perfect for boosting your power during those long runs.
2. Lateral Movements
Lateral movements, such as lying dumbbell leg raises, skater squats, and lateral lunges help train your body on other ways of movement. Since runners mostly only move in one direction, these other forms of exercises will help you train often-neglected muscles like your outer and inner thighs, helping increase stability at your joints, improve your balance, and prevent injury.
Runners sometimes neglect training their upper bodies, but a strong chest and arms are essential for overall fitness and powerful runs. Pushups help strengthen the arms, chest, and shoulders, as well as the core, in one move!
The plank is one of the best ways you can train every muscle in your core. And for runners, your core —abs, obliques, lower back and hips—are very important. These muscles help keep you balanced and support every step you take. Strong abs and lower back muscles help you run with better posture, which aids in breathing.
5. Walking Lunges
Lunges simulate ideal running mechanics; if you can master proper form during this exercise, your running form will also improve. Not to mention they build stronger legs!
Strength training plays a key role in your development as a runner, helping to build muscle so that your body can handle the repetitive stress of all that pavement pounding. And the stronger you are, the faster you’ll go. So don't forget to include some strength training excersises a few times a week in between all that running!