Copyright Lexabean, LLC

Lexabean Fitness

Strength Training

Strength Training For Runners

Strength training is an important component of any training plan. Research studies have shown that proper strength training can help with race pace, endurance and injury prevention. Race Pace: the ability to maintain a fast pace during a race and to properly handle hills is enhanced through strength training. Hills, for example, require different muscles when going up the hill vs going down the hill. The Boston Marathons Heartbreak hill is a legendary part of the marathon, but many runners have problems with the downhill portion of the hill its gotten its own name: “Cemetery Mile”. This is because downhill legs of a race utilizes different leg muscles than flat or uphill portions of the race. Injury Prevention: Studies have shown that proper strength training supplementing your training program can reduce the risk of overuse and stress injuries especially for hips, legs, knees and ankles. This is in part due to strong muscles supporting and protecting their respective joints. Weight Loss: The amount runners should lift also contributes to loss of body fat which would help increase a runners performance.

Common questions runners have

1) How often should I lift? For runners, 20 minutes 2-3 times a week 2) When should I lift? Lift on your easy run days. Avoid days after a long run, speed workout or race. 3) Won’t strength training slow me down? Most people think of weight lifters as very bulky with very large muscles. Proper strength training for runners focus on build muscles you need during running and not making you into a muscular giant. This includes your legs, around your knees and ankles (to prevent injury) and back / core (also to prevent overuse/stress injuries that a common to runners) Runners can improve muscular fitness in a number of ways. These include:

Strength Training workouts while running

Most running coaches will tell you that running itself strengthens many muscles. But, you should introduce a few special workouts to. 1) Hill reps: help you develop muscles you are not using while running on a flat surface. And keep in mind, you workout one set of muscles while running up hill and a different set of muscles while running downhill. 2) Speed Training: Fartlek, tempo and interval runs build muscular fitness beyond what you get during easy runs and helps develop muscles that are important to running. 3) Bleacher workouts: Like hill repeats, bleacher workouts build muscle that you don’t normally develop while running on flat surfaces. They increase leg strength, increase power and can make you a faster, strong runner. These workouts, also known as stair climbs, can be done on bleachers at a local high school track or college stadium while intermixing it with sets on the track and other strength workouts next to the bleachers. See our Bleacher Workout Guide for workout recommendations

Weight Training

Most runners think they’ll get everything they need from running. This is not necessarily the case as there are muscles you need to develop that are easier to build with the right, targeted weight training. Here are a few good workouts. Be sure to watch the video to see proper form.

Leg Press

Benefits: Leg presses strengthen the quads, glutes and hamstrings. These are critical muscle groups to help protect you from the impact that running causes and improve your running form. Description: Get into a comfortable position with your feet shoulder width apart and your back firmly against the pad. Push upward with your feet straightening both legs. Once your legs are straight, allow the weight to come back down, bending your knees to point where you can comfortably push the weight upward again. Push the weight back up to complete the stroke.

Back Extension

Benefits: Strong back muscles, which this exercise develops, help tone your lower back, core and glutes which can help with run faster and protect your body against the stress from running. Description: Lie face down on the back extension device with your hips over the support pad and your feet tucked underneath the foot rollers. Slowly lift your torso above horizontal (so your back arches slightly), then lower your torso well below horizontal. Start with 15-20 repeats and work your way up to 30 or more reps as your back strength improves.

Squats

Benefits: Squats are an important exercise which strengthens the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and lower back. Strengthening these muscle groups helps you withstand the stress running puts on your body and improves your ability to lift & drive your leg forward with each stride. Description: The video on the left demonstrates proper form for a total body workout that includes a squat. Be sure to do this with proper supervision from a fitness professional to ensure you are doing this properly and to prevent injuries. A basic squat utilizes a weight you are comfortable lifting. Hold the weight with both hands while keeping your back straight. Then slowly bend your knees, squatting to a point where you can stand back up. This action is as if you are about to sit in a chair and then stand back up again.
Legs, Lower Body
Back, Core, Upper Body

Quad Lift

Benefits: This exercise strengthens the quadriceps, which is a very important muscle group at the top front of the leg. Strong quads stabilize the knee and help protect this joint from common runners injuries. Description: Sit on the quad-lift machine with your feet hooked under the roller pads. Lift your legs until they are nearly straight out and then gently, slowly bring them down to the starting position.

Lat Pulls

Benefits: This workout strengthens the large muscles of the upper back, which helps with your arm swing and makes your overall running stride smoother and more economical. Description: Most runners who use lat machines in the gym pull the weight down behind their head. A better way to target the lats is to pull the bar in front of your head down to your chest while straightening the arms slowly. This puts lets stress on the neck and shoulders

Leg Curls

Benefits: Leg curls strengthen the hamstrings and glutes, which in turn helps protect the hip and knees from injury. It also helps improve forward propulsion of the body. Description: On the leg-curl machine, lie on your stomach your knees just over the edge of the bench and your Achilles tendons pressing against the roller pads. Hold the side grips with your hands to prevent your body from slipping. Curl your legs upward bringing the roller pad close to your buttocks. Lower your legs back down slowly to complete the stroke.

Crunch / Sit-up

Benefits: Crunches are targeted to strengthen the abdominal muscles. Sit-ups work the abs and the surrounding muscles. Both stabilize your trunk during running and are important for building core strength. Description: Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 45 degree angle. Cross your arms and raise your torso a few inches off the floor toward the knees. You should work up to 30 reps of this exercise.
YouTube Strength Training Playlist

Lunges

Benefits: Lunges are a great compliment to Squats. Lunges strengthen the glutes, quadriceps and lower back. Strengthening these muscle groups help runners withstand the stress running puts on on the body and improves your ability to lift and drive your legs forward with each stride. Description: The basic technique is to stand with your feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot and bend your knees until they are at a 90 degree angle. Then bring your back foot forward while standing upright. Repeat with the opposite foot. Lunges can be done with weights to supplement your body weight.
YouTube Strength Training Playlist Visit our YouTube channel to see video demonstrations of the workouts discussed in this section.
Copyright Lexabean, LLC
Strength training is an important component of any training plan. Research studies have shown that proper strength training can help with race pace, endurance and injury prevention. Race Pace: the ability to maintain a fast pace during a race and to properly handle hills is enhanced through strength training. Hills, for example, require different muscles when going up the hill vs going down the hill. The Boston Marathons Heartbreak hill is a legendary part of the marathon, but many runners have problems with the downhill portion of the hill its gotten its own name: “Cemetery Mile”. This is because downhill legs of a race utilizes different leg muscles than flat or uphill portions of the race. Injury Prevention: Studies have shown that proper strength training supplementing your training program can reduce the risk of overuse and stress injuries especially for hips, legs, knees and ankles. This is in part due to strong muscles supporting and protecting their respective joints. Weight Loss: The amount runners should lift also contributes to loss of body fat which would help increase a runners performance.

Common questions runners have

1) How often should I lift? For runners, 20 minutes 2-3 times a week 2) When should I lift? Lift on your easy run days. Avoid days after a long run, speed workout or race. 3) Won’t strength training slow me down? Most people think of weight lifters as very bulky with very large muscles. Proper strength training for runners focus on build muscles you need during running and not making you into a muscular giant. This includes your legs, around your knees and ankles (to prevent injury) and back / core (also to prevent overuse/stress injuries that a common to runners) Runners can improve muscular fitness in a number of ways. These include:

Strength Training workouts while running

Most running coaches will tell you that running itself strengthens many muscles. But, you should introduce a few special workouts to. 1) Hill reps: help you develop muscles you are not using while running on a flat surface. And keep in mind, you workout one set of muscles while running up hill and a different set of muscles while running downhill. 2) Speed Training: Fartlek, tempo and interval runs build muscular fitness beyond what you get during easy runs and helps develop muscles that are important to running. 3) Bleacher workouts: Like hill repeats, bleacher workouts build muscle that you don’t normally develop while running on flat surfaces. They increase leg strength, increase power and can make you a faster, strong runner. These workouts, also known as stair climbs, can be done on bleachers at a local high school track or college stadium while intermixing it with sets on the track and other strength workouts next to the bleachers. See our Bleacher Workout Guide for workout recommendations

Weight Training

Most runners think they’ll get everything they need from running. This is not necessarily the case as there are muscles you need to develop that are easier to build with the right, targeted weight training. Here are a few good workouts. Be sure to watch the video to see proper form.

Squats

Benefits: Squats are an important exercise which strengthens the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and lower back. Strengthening these muscle groups helps you withstand the stress running puts on your body and improves your ability to lift & drive your leg forward with each stride. Description: The video on the left demonstrates proper form for a total body workout that includes a squat. Be sure to do this with proper supervision from a fitness professional to ensure you are doing this properly and to prevent injuries. A basic squat utilizes a weight you are comfortable lifting. Hold the weight with both hands while keeping your back straight. Then slowly bend your knees, squatting to a point where you can stand back up. This action is as if you are about to sit in a chair and then stand back up again.
Legs, Lower Body

Leg Press

Benefits: Leg presses strengthen the quads, glutes and hamstrings. These are critical muscle groups to help protect you from the impact that running causes and improve your running form. Description: Get into a comfortable position with your feet shoulder width apart and your back firmly against the pad. Push upward with your feet straightening both legs. Once your legs are straight, allow the weight to come back down, bending your knees to point where you can comfortably push the weight upward again. Push the weight back up to complete the stroke.

Quad Lift

Benefits: This exercise strengthens the quadriceps, which is a very important muscle group at the top front of the leg. Strong quads stabilize the knee and help protect this joint from common runners injuries. Description: Sit on the quad-lift machine with your feet hooked under the roller pads. Lift your legs until they are nearly straight out and then gently, slowly bring them down to the starting position.

Leg Curls

Benefits: Leg curls strengthen the hamstrings and glutes, which in turn helps protect the hip and knees from injury. It also helps improve forward propulsion of the body. Description: On the leg-curl machine, lie on your stomach your knees just over the edge of the bench and your Achilles tendons pressing against the roller pads. Hold the side grips with your hands to prevent your body from slipping. Curl your legs upward bringing the roller pad close to your buttocks. Lower your legs back down slowly to complete the stroke.
Back, Core, Upper Body

Lat Pulls

Benefits: This workout strengthens the large muscles of the upper back, which helps with your arm swing and makes your overall running stride smoother and more economical. Description: Most runners who use lat machines in the gym pull the weight down behind their head. A better way to target the lats is to pull the bar in front of your head down to your chest while straightening the arms slowly. This puts lets stress on the neck and shoulders

Back Extension

Benefits: Strong back muscles, which this exercise develops, help tone your lower back, core and glutes which can help with run faster and protect your body against the stress from running. Description: Lie face down on the back extension device with your hips over the support pad and your feet tucked underneath the foot rollers. Slowly lift your torso above horizontal (so your back arches slightly), then lower your torso well below horizontal. Start with 15-20 repeats and work your way up to 30 or more reps as your back strength improves.

Crunch / Sit-up

Benefits: Crunches are targeted to strengthen the abdominal muscles. Sit-ups work the abs and the surrounding muscles. Both stabilize your trunk during running and are important for building core strength. Description: Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 45 degree angle. Cross your arms and raise your torso a few inches off the floor toward the knees. You should work up to 30 reps of this exercise.
YouTube Strength Training Playlist
YouTube Strength Training Playlist Visit our YouTube channel to see video demonstrations of the workouts discussed in this section.

Lunges

Benefits: Lunges are a great compliment to Squats. Lunges strengthen the glutes, quadriceps and lower back. Strengthening these muscle groups help runners withstand the stress running puts on on the body and improves your ability to lift and drive your legs forward with each stride. Description: The basic technique is to stand with your feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot and bend your knees until they are at a 90 degree angle. Then bring your back foot forward while standing upright. Repeat with the opposite foot. Lunges can be done with weights to supplement your body weight.

Lexabean Fitness