Strength Train and Run Faster

A woman doing a plank in a park

While we already know we have to put in the miles to meet our running goals, we often overlook another key training element: strength. For runners, building balanced and targeted strength in a way that supports our efforts on the road, track, or trail, is important. Ask any coach, personal trainer, or physical therapist, and you’ll likely get the same answer: A strong, balanced body is necessary to keep you injury free and help you run faster.

Still, we know you’re short on time. We also know that the last thing you want to do after a hard set of mile repeats is throw around weights at the gym. Luckily, you don’t have to. With a body-weight training plan for runners that targets your core, glutes, hips, and legs, you’ll gain strength fast.

So, we asked celebrity trainer Erin Opera for simple exercises you can do three times a week to gain strength and improve your running. Here’s what she said.

CORE: Plank to Hip Drops

Come into an elbow plank with solid form (see the video below), perform 20 hip dips to each side. Make sure to drop your hips to just above the ground. (One rep means completing a dip on both sides).

Next, walk up into a hand plank (aka pushup position) and hold for 20 seconds. From there, walk back down into elbow plank again for another 20 hip dips. Return to hand plank for 20 seconds. Repeat the whole sequence at least four times, longer if you can. (Added challenge: See how many sets you can work up to)

Glutes and Hips: Hip Raises from Bridge

Sit on the ground or a yoga mat and wrap an exercise band just above your knees. Lay back with your feet on the ground and lift your hips into bridge pose, keeping your feet wide enough to maintain tension on the band. From there, slowly lower your hips down to the mat and then back up.

Perform two sets of 20.

LEGS: Pulsed Jumping Lunges

Start by doing five stationary pulsed lunges. Jump switch to the other side and again perform five pulsed lunges. Repeat this sequence while decreasing the number of pulses on each side by one until you pulse only once on each side (5,4,3,2,1). Then, bang out 10 pulses on the left and right and call it a day.