When we think about workouts for runners, most of us probably just assume they need to run more. After all, that’s what they love to do. So, for instance, if one suggests runners add strength training to their already packed training schedule, that idea can have a poor reception. That’s because they want to improve their running by doing what they love the most: running.
However, there are advantages for runners with enough willpower to ditch the outdoor run. Picking a pair of dumbbells every once in a while can do wonders for runners’ endurance. In this blog article, we’ll explore why strength training is, in fact, essential for runners and recommend the best exercises. So, whether you’re an experienced marathon runner or someone hitting the pavement for the first time, keep reading to learn more about strength training for runners.
Benefits of strength training for runners
Yes, running is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Nonetheless, if you want to take your running to the next level, you must consider the following benefits:
1 – Lower risk of injury
Strength training, as its name indicates, makes you stronger. And stronger muscles can improve your running form and make you less prone to injury. With stronger muscles, your body is reinforced, and your form and alignment improve. All that combined help you prevent common running injuries.
2 – Increased endurance
Endurance refers to the ability to perform low to moderate-intensity activities for a larger time, without experiencing excessive fatigue or muscle damage. Strength training is perfect to help you increase because, fundamentally, what you’re doing is asking your body to lift a heavier load than what it’s used to. Over time, that will boost your cardiovascular vigour and make you an overall stronger and more efficient runner.
3 – Run faster
Typically one of the runners’ major goals, running faster can also be achieved via strength training. When you strengthen your muscles, you’re giving them more power, and with great power comes more speed. Start incorporating this type of training into your routine — soon, you’ll outrun your competitors.
Strength training for runners: 3 exercises
Incorporating strength training into your routine doesn’t have to be a big deal. Here are 4 simples exercises that you can quickly perform that will help you become a stronger and better runner.
1 – Squats
- Stand on your feet, placing them at the same distance as that of your shoulder lines.
- Engage the core and go down to the floor, maintaining your knees on the line of your feet. Maintain the abs and glutes tight to control your hip and stabilize the movement. Use your arms to help you with your balance.
- Keep your feet attached to the floor and squat as down as possible without lifting the heels or feeling pain in your lower back.
2 – Barbell deadlifts
- Stand behind the bar with feet hip to shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be close to the bar.
- From here, bend the knees slightly and push the hips back to bend down and grab the bar, keeping the back straight. Once you have the bar, keep the back straight, engage the core, and drive the hips forward and up, returning to standing. Keep the shoulder and core set through the movement.
- When you have a full hip extension, keep everything engaged as you slightly bend the knees and reverse the move to lower the bar (either back to the floor or a low hang position).
3 – Dumbbell lunges
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Arms should remain straight and gently squeezed by the sides. Keep the shoulder set and the core engaged.
- Take a step forward and bend down towards the floor. Aim for both knees to bend to 90 degrees comfortably or at an appropriate point.
- Keep the dumbbells secure by your sides and the core engaged as you return to standing.
- Repeat on the other leg and alternate continuously.