Strength Exercises for Runners

It’s quite simple, running is great for getting you fit but is absolutely useless at building any muscle tone as you are not doing any resistance training.

This first became very apparent to me when I took on the #plankathon challenge a couple of years ago and within 3 days I could feel my core engaging properly when I was running. This was more than just sore core from too many crunches, I felt my core muscles working as I ran with better form.

Since then I have always stressed the importance of incorporating┬áS&C exercises into any running program. Not always so easy when kids jump on you when you get in the door, or work is waiting for you, or that report has to be done, that blog post… but if you can factor in some S&C work, just like foam rolling it will stand you in good stead.

So for those who are time crunched this is what I would call the best, simple series of exercises for runners:

  • 30 seconds of Stride Lunges – take a long step, slightly longer than your normal walking step, keep your spine upright with your neck straight, bend your front knee to 90 degrees and step back up to stride forward with your other leg.
    • Can be done in situ or down a hallway or garden for example
    • Variants-
      • Long stride – works the hamstrings & glutes (your butt) developing power in the big muscles to propel you forwards.
      • Short stride – works the front of the leg more, the quads


  • 30 seconds of front plank – good form back straight, elbows shoulder width apart bearing your weight on your forearms.


  • 30 seconds of right side plank –Side-Forearm-Plank1
  • 30 seconds front plank
  • 30 seconds left side plank
  • 30 seconds front plank
  • 30 seconds squats – these target the whole lower body developing power and strength.
    • Feet shoulder width apart, back upright
    • Bend at the knees using hands out front for balance
    • Sit back and down as if sitting into a chair, don’t allow your knees to go forwards beyond your toes.
    • Down and up in a smooth motion as low as flexibility & comfort allow.
    • Variations –
      • Single leg / pistol squats
      • Lateral / side step squats
  • 30 seconds pushups – same position as front plank but on your hands, keep the form consistent and engage your tummy muscles.
  • 60 seconds rest

Back to the top again! Repeat the set x3 times for a 15 minute workout. Do this set x3 times per week and watch the improvements happen.

Easy peasy!! ­čÖé


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