Focused strength training will make you a better runner by increasing your endurance, power and efficiency. Since your legs propel you forward as you run, it’s critical that you develop leg strength, balance and proper movement patterns.
While running seems simple, it puts lots of force and load onto your muscles and joints, so it requires practiced and precise movement. Building up your leg strength will reduce your risk for injury by making muscles and joints stronger and reinforcing proper form.
One of the best parts about doing these leg workouts (aside from faster, easier running) is you don’t need an expensive gym membership. There are plenty of bodyweight exercises that you can do at home to improve your strength for running.
With any training, it’s crucial to start with the basics and take the time to dial in your form. Bad form can cause pain and injury. Practicing proper movement in your strength exercises will improve neuromuscular coordination to improve your running form and power.
Here are some of the best leg exercises for runners to build strength and endurance:
Strengthen quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves
Strengthen quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors
Strengthen adductors, quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves
Strengthen Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves. Improve balance and coordination
You’ll need: A sturdy chair, bench or couch
Strengthen hips, quads, glutes, hamstrings. Improve balance and coordination
Modification: Use your couch or a chair, to come down into a seated position with one leg lifted, and then push off to stand.
Strengthen calves, feet, achilles, improve lower leg stability
This exercise can be done on the floor, without the eccentric drop.
Increase the intensity of the previous exercise. Strengthen calves, feet, achilles, improve lower leg stability
Modification: If you feel any discomfort in your achilles, use both feet to lift your heels from the eccentric drop, rather than just the planted foot. If this exercise causes pain in your achilles, don’t do it.
Activate glutes, hamstrings and core with less stress on joints than a forward lunge
Activate and strengthen quads, hips, glutes. Improve stability and coordination
This movement is like walking lunges but with a jumping transition to increase intensity. If you’re new to lunges, master the walking lunge before you attempt the jumping lunge.
Build explosive power in glutes, raise heart rate strengthen quads
Box or high step needed.
Strengthen back, core, hamstrings
Activate glutes, hamstrings and lower back
Strengthen quads, glutes, calves.
You’ll need: A wall
Improve leg power, stability and balance, strengthen glutes, hamstrings, quads