Running is a repetitive motion that works the same muscle groups over and over and over. If you don’t balance the muscles you use while running, you risk feeling out of balance or an injury that keeps you off of your feet.
But building strength doesn’t require a gym membership or even a lot of extra time. It requires committing to your decision to get stronger and more balanced, working within your routine to create the new habit (to make it easy), and continuing because you experience the results.
Our five-minute strength routine for runners helps you create balanced strength and serves as a dynamic warm up before you run. It’ll help you fire up your glutes, shake out your legs and engage key muscle groups that don’t feel much love during your upcoming run.
We combined the two to maximize time and efficiency. Start with 10 push ups (you can modify the pushups by supporting yourself with your knees). Once you’re through 10, hold a plank for 30 seconds. The key with the plank is to keep your core stable, hips parallel to the ground and a slight dip between your shoulder blades so that you’re truly engaging your core during the exercise rather than your shoulders.
What is works: Arms, core
After 30 seconds of the plank, come up onto all fours for fire hydrant leg circles. Slowly lift and lower each leg for 30 seconds. You should do between 10 and 15 reps on each side during this time. This clam-shell-like exercises engages your inner thighs. When you hit 30, stand up.
What it works: Glutes, back, arms, core
This move has all kinds of names, but we prefer starfish. If the jump is too hard, the modification is to simply squat and add in the jump when you feel strong enough. It’s explosive, elevates your heart rate and strengthens your core, quads and glutes.
What it works: Glutes, quads, calves
Begin standing tall on both feet. Slowly lift one leg, begin to hinge forward at your hip to touch the ground in front of your feet as you also bend your standing leg. Touch the ground (or as close to the ground as you can). Complete all 10 reps on one side before moving to the other side.
This offers a stretch on the backside of the body combined with the strength gain of a single-leg deadlift, so you’re not only developing better balance and increased hamstring strength, but you’re also working under-utilized proprioceptive muscles in your lower legs that help to stabilize you on uneven surfaces.
What it works: Ankles, legs, core
By Ashley Arnold. Ashley has been running competitively since 2000. She went from winning the high school 300m hurdle state championship as a sophomore in 2002 to breaking the tape at the Leadville Trail 100 in 2013. Now, her full time role is managing content as the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Fleet Feet.