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Top five strengthening exercises for running

running.jpg

Preparing well for your running season is crucial to ensure you perform the best you can for the race and stay injury free during training. Nobody enjoys not being able to last the distance in a race or having to have time out due to a preventable injury.

Strength training is a healthy supplement to running. It becomes even more important as the years and the miles add up. Full body training is helpful at all ages. There are loads of different exercises that can be beneficial for your strength and conditioning when it comes to running.

The legs are some of the hardest working muscles in the body. That’s why it is so important to have the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves as strong and ready as possible.

Complete these exercises in a circuit, going from one exercise to the next. Do  as many as you can over 30 seconds. Repeat the circuit 2-3 times.

Squats

Squats.jpgThe basis of any decent leg workout. These can be made more challenging in a variety of ways – by adding weight, holding the squat position longer, or performing a single leg squat.

  • Starting with feet shoulder width apart, push hips backwards, bending knees to move into a squat position.
  • Ensure your knees stay over your toes throughout. If tight calves are a significant limiting factor, try putting your heels on a small book.

Ice skater

ice-skater.jpgIce Skaters replicate the movement while running and can be good for building significant explosive power for that last burst needed to get over the line.

  • Start in a comfortable stance with enough space to jump laterally.
  • Load your jumping side by getting into your hip, then jump explosively as far as possible to the side.
  • Use your arms to assist the movement.
  • When landing and during the ground contact time, the support knee must stay inside the foot.
  • Try to land softly.

Lunge

Lunge.jpgThese can be made more challenging in a variety of ways – by adding weight, holding the squat position longer, or performing a single leg squat.

  • With your feet, one in front of another at hip width, lower the back knee close to the floor
  • Keep your balance and lift yourself back up to the standing position.
  • The knees should be bent at 90° in the bottom position.
  • This can be progressed by added weight or by progressing to a scissor lunge. The exercise is similar to the lunge, but once in the lunge position. push and jump up and switch feet position quickly. When you land, you are in the same position, but your feet are switched.

Bulgarian split lunge

bulgarian-split-lunge.jpgThis split lunge is similar to the normal lunge but forces you to work one leg at a time. This is important as running is mainly a single leg activity.

  • Put the back foot on top of a swiss ball.
  • Flex the front foot to bring the back knee toward the ground.
  • Do not travel forward with the body; you should go down and up like an elevator.
  • Keep the torso upright at all time.
  • Swap legs at the end.

Single leg calf raises

Single-leg-calf-raises.jpgA large amount of force need to push you on comes from the calf muscles while running and as mentioned above running is a single leg activity so we want to train like that.

  • Stand on a small step next to a chair or table.
  • Raise yourself onto your toes without bending your knee.
  • Slowly drop back down and stretch your calf by lowering your heel as far down as possible and hold the position between each lift and repeat.
  • Swap legs at the end

Please note: This is a program for injury-free weekend warriors with a good level of baseline fitness. If you have any questions, concerns or would like a tailored program to suit your level of fitness, please consult with your local friendly Physio.