Strength Exercises for Runners

Runners are lean and strong, right? Wrong. Most of us don't have the core strength or gluteal (buttocks) strength to run faster, stronger and efficiently. The gluteal muscles are commonly left out of runners' strength programs. The glutes are a key muscle in our running movement because they keep our pelvis level and steady, extend our hip, propel us forward, and keep our legs, pelvis, and torso in alignment. So when our glutes are weak, our entire movement chain is disrupted and at risk of injury (IT syndrome, runner's knee and Achilles tendinitis). Have no fear, you can develop that strength within a few weeks.

Key exercises for runners: squats, lunges, planks, side planks and pushups.

Body part:Buttocks/Hamstrings/Quads
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, and point your toes slightly outward. Sit back as if you were sitting in a chair that is slightly too far behind you. Keep your knees over your ankles. Keep your back straight and as upright as possible.

Body part: Buttocks/Hamstrings
Take a good size step forward with one leg. The front leg is bent so that your knee is directly over your ankle (forming a 90-degree angle). The rear leg is straight. Return to a standing position by pushing backward with the heel of your forward leg. You should feel the exercise in the buttocks and backs of legs. Repeat with the other leg (15 reps each leg).

Forearm Plank:
Body part:Abdominals
Begin with your forearms and toes on the ground. Make sure your elbows are under your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line from torso to toes with no sagging or bending. Hold for 30 seconds. Optional: Raise one leg off the ground for 10-15 seconds.

Side Plank:
Body part:Obliques
Begin with one forearm on the ground, with your elbow under your shoulder. Place top foot directly on top of the bottom foot. As you exhale, lift your hips off the floor. Keep your body straight and hips lifted for 30 seconds. Optional: Raise your top leg a few inches off your bottom leg.

Body part:Pectorial muscles (chests), biceps
Lie chest-down with your hands at shoulder level, palms flat on the floor and slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Have your feet slightly apart with toes tucked under. Inhale as you lower your chest to the ground, bring your nose to the ground. Exhale as you push up. If you can't do a full motion pushup, bring your knees to the ground.

There are many, many other phenomenal exercises for runners but these are the key ones that we focus on and make sure we integrate into our daily workouts. Join us for our Hot Bird Workout every Tuesday at 7am or 7pm at Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park!