Key Strength Exercises for Runners
by Abi Okell, Senior Physiotherapist
In my last blog I wrote about how to reduce your risk of injury if you are new to running or training for an event. One of the recommendations was to commence a strength training programme that targets the hip and lower limb. Research suggests a focused strength and conditioning programme can reduce risk of injury and improve running economy. So here are 5 key exercises to get you started. I recommend you repeat the circuit 2 – 3 times, and aim to complete it twice weekly, on non-run days. You should not experience any pain whilst performing these exercises. If you do, please stop and seek further advice from a physiotherapist or health professional.
- Heel raises on a step
Stand on a step/stair on the balls of your feet.
Lift yourself up onto your toes as high as you can, then lower your heels until you feel a stretch in your calves.
Try not to let your ankles roll in or out during the movement.
Repeat 12-15 times
2a. Simple squats
Stand up tall with your feet hip width apart and facing forwards.
Lower yourself down to a squat position, as if you were going to sit down on a chair. Keep your knees aligned over your second toe and the whole of your foot on the floor.
Push back up through the legs to the original standing position.
Repeat 15-20 times
2b. Single leg squats – Progression from simple squats
Stand on one leg with your foot facing forwards.
Slowly lower your body, bending forward at the hip slightly. Keep your knee aligned over your second toe.
Push back up to the starting position.
Repeat 8-10 times on each leg
- Side lunges
Stand tall with your feet hip width apart and facing forwards, and your hands together in front of you.
Lunge out to one side, keeping your knee aligned with your second toe, and both feet facing forwards. Push up through the leg to return to the start position.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Repeat 10 times to each side
- Forward lunges
Stand tall with your feet and knees hip width apart.
Take a large step forward and bend your knee and hip to 90 degrees. Keep your trunk upright and the knee aligned with the foot and hip.
Return in control to the starting position and repeat on the opposite leg.
Repeat 10 times on each side
5. Side plank
Lie on your side with your legs straight and in line with your body. Lean through your elbow and forearm, making sure your elbow is directly below your shoulder.
Lift up your pelvis and push up in to a side plank, holding your body in a straight line.
Try not to roll forward or backward – keep your hip and shoulder pointing up to the ceiling.
Hold the position for 30-45 seconds. Repeat twice on each side.
If you would like any further advice on individual strengthening or running programmes, please call CoActive Physio on 07919 411845 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Appointments are available with Abi and Sarah 7 days a week.