Strength Training Exercises for Runners

If you’re out to set a new PR, finish your first marathon strong and be the best runner you can be, running isn’t going to be enough. Adding strength training to your routines can help you become a stronger, faster, less-injury-prone athlete.

Lifting weights can also improve mobility, flexibility and can help maintain lean body mass. Mix in these strength training exercises into your regular routine for total body strength.

If you’re ready to take your workout to the next level, try some of these strength training exercises that are especially beneficial for runners:


Planking is a great bodyweight move that can be done in the gym without the use of any equipment. Core exercises help strengthen your midsection. Planking can lead to better posture, greater flexibility of the posterior muscle groups and can help tone your midsection. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), planking also helps reduce back pain.

Plank exercises can also help strengthen inner core muscles that support joints, according to Livestrong. Core exercises, including planks, can be just important to your training as speed drills and long runs. Check out these plank variations to get started.

Single-Leg Squats explains running as hoping from foot-to-foot for miles and miles. The running website also goes on to recommend building a solid balance in your pelvis, stating, when your pelvis is stabilized, your entire body and stride become balanced too.

Once you’ve perfected your two-leg squat you’ll be able to move to the one-leg squat. Start by balancing on one foot and then squat down by bending one knee and sitting your hips back as if you’re sitting down on a chair. Once you’re down to about 90 degrees extending your leg back up into a standing position. Try a set of eight to 12 of these and then move on to the next leg.

Single-Leg Deadlifts

Glute specific exercises can help power your runs. Assistant head doctor for the Ironman World Championships, John Martinez, told that a lot of runners are hamstring dominant and don’t use their glutes, instead, these runners find a way to run without using their glutes to their full potential.

For this exercise you’ll need free weights. To begin, hold the free weights in front of your body, bend one of your knees, hinge forward at the waist and lift your opposite leg behind you. Lower the weights and keep them very close to your legs as you reach just below your knees. Engage your hamstring and glue and come back into a standing position. suggests doing eight to 12 reps of this exercise per each leg.

Push Ups

Work your chest, triceps, core, biceps and back with this bodyweight exercise. Begin in a plank position with your hands two to three feet apart. Bend at the elbows and descend down until your chest nearly touches the ground. Rise back up to the plank position and continue doing the same repetition 10 to 12 times.

Pro Tip: Doing push ups slowly ignites your muscles even more.

Lateral Lunges

Begin your lateral lunge by stepping three to four feet out to the side with one foot while keep your hips back, chest up and abs tight. Make sure that your knee stays back over your ankle and your standing leg remains straight. When coming back into standing posture, engage the glute to power off the ground. To maximize this exercise, use a 10 pound weight. Repeat this exercise 10 times on each leg.


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