Some thoughts and discussions from me.


If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know I’ve come to just adore trail running. I go an average of 2-3 times per week and my mileage varies from 2-8 miles on each trip. Since kicking up my running routine, it’s definitely something I factor into play now when writing my own resistance training programs.


A few weeks back I received a question from a reader wanting to know which exercises runners should do specifically to compliment their running game. This woman was training for a marathon, and wanted to incorporate a strength workout a couple times a week to make sure she stayed strong and injury-free.

While running is a great form of cardio, it shouldn’t be the only form of exercise one does. It’s important to strength train to compliment a running regimen to do for the body what running doesn’t do. When you think about the motion of running, it:

  • Is a  motion taking place is solely one plane of motion: the sagittal plane – aka moving forward
  • Is a repetitive motion, using the same muscles over and over and over again
  • Runners tend to be quad dominant, which could mean having weak glute muscles
  • Lower body is perpetuating the movement

Taking those three considerations in mind, runners need a strength training workout that gets them doing three things:

  • Working in the frontal (side-to-side) and transverse (twisting/rotational) planes
  • Strengthening the muscle groups they don’t use over and over again for running – especially the glutes
  • Strengthening the upper body and core

That last one – the core, is such an important factor of any solid strength program for runners. Having a strong core is crucial for eliminating back pain while running, and ensures strong form during each stride.

So, let’s get to the workout already: strength training workout for runners! Every single exercise in the workout below serves a specific purpose in strengthening a runner’s body and incorporates one of the three bullet points above.. As always, please discuss ANY exercise changes or additions with your physician before beginning.

runner workout

Alternating Lateral Lunges: From a standing position, take a big step to your right and descend into a lunge. Make sure to keep the chest lifted, push the hips back, keep the toe pointed forward, and not to allow the knee to go past the toe. Push off of the heel to return to standing, and then repeat on the opposite side.

Cobra: From a prone position, lift into cobra position, with your palms facing out and thumbs rotated toward the ceiling. Contract the glutes and brace the core, and keep the chest lifted.

Single-leg Glute Bridge: In a supine position with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, lift on leg into the air. Push through the planted heel and press the hips into the air, extending at the HIPS, and not at the back. Squeeze those glutes!

Push up: In a high plank position, brace the core and glutes and descend into your push up slowly, allowing the elbows to flare out to the sides. Once they hit 90 degrees, push back into high plank.

Reverse Lunge w/ a Twist: From a standing position, take a large step back with your right leg into a lunge, allowing both knees to bend to 90 degrees. As you lunge, reach both hands toward your left (front) leg. Explosively push back to standing, and switch sides.

Rotating Plank: In a forearm plank position, rotate into a side plank, bringing the top elbow back, contracting the upper back. Slowly rotate back to plank, and then rotate to the opposite side plank.

Of course, there are plenty additional exercises out there that would benefit a runner, but this is a great starting place.

Are you a runner? How often do you strength train?

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