Running is one of the most popular sports around the world. It is practiced by millions of people whether for improving their general health or to participate in races and competitions.
If you want to become a better and more efficient runner, here are 7 strength training exercises that will help you improve your performance:
How to Improve Your Running Performance?
1. Running-specific strength training.
The most important strength training exercise for runners is running itself as it allows you to train all the muscles involved in running while also improving your running style. However, it is also recommended to do some more specific strength training exercises for runners too. For instance, exercises such as wall sit and single-leg squats allow you to strength train the muscles around the hip (namely, glutes and hamstrings) which are responsible for a large part of your propulsion.
This strength training exercise is one of the best exercises to strengthen your core muscles. Although it is an abdominal exercise, you also train the back, arms, and glutes. When performed correctly, planks help you improve your balance and reduce the risk of injuries on your knees and lower back (these are some of the most common running-related injuries).
3. Calf Raises.
This strength training exercise targets your calf muscles which are responsible for pushing yourself forward once more during each step. Stronger calves will help you propel yourself further with every stride hence making running a lot easier! The best way to perform this exercise is by doing it in front of a big table or similar surface that allows you to put all your weight onto one leg at a time while keeping everything else tight.
This strength training exercise is mainly done in order to strengthen your thighs but it also affects your hip flexors which are very important in running. To perform this exercise, step forward with one leg while the other remains behind and lower into a lunge position before bringing up both legs at the same time. You can also add dumbbells for an extra workout!
5. Abdominal Exercises.
As mentioned earlier, planks are great ab exercises for runners but it doesn't mean that you shouldn't do other abdominal exercises too. The best way to train your abdominal muscles is by doing crunches or different types of sit-ups which strengthen all the muscles around your core. If you also include a leg raise, it will allow you to work your lower abs too.
6. Dumbbell Flys.
This strength training exercise is great for runners as it targets your chest muscles which are needed in order to swing your arms faster and more efficiently. They will also help you maintain a proper upper body posture while running. The best way to perform this exercise is by lying down on a bench and bringing the dumbbells up in an arc movement towards one side of your body before lowering them again. Just make sure to keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the whole movement.
7. Cable Cross-Overs.
This strength training exercise mainly targets the shoulders but it also affects the arms, chest, and back. It is important to perform this exercise correctly in order to reduce the risk of injuries as you want to avoid overstretching your shoulder joint. To perform this exercise, stand a few feet away from a cable machine and grab the pulley with your hands about shoulder-width apart then slowly move them towards each other as you rotate your body to one side.
The Bottom Line
Strength training exercises for runners are great because they allow you to improve your strength and endurance while also reducing the risk of injuries.
It is important that you perform the exercises correctly in order to avoid injuries and that you use a suitable weight so as not to have too much of an impact on your running performance.