Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday! Each week I share a new strength training or running workout. This week I put together a quick circuit that includes some of the strength training moves that are beneficial to runners. If you run (no pun intended) through this circuit twice it should take you about 15 minutes. If you think you don't have time to include strength moves in your training schedule, I challenge you to add this circuit to the end of an easy-effort running day when you run 40 minutes or less.
SQUAT: 45 SECONDS WORK/15 SECONDS REST
Squats are a great exercise for runners because they help increase the strength needed to run faster on flats, power up hills and lengthen your stride.
Starting with your feet hip width apart push your hips back and then lower your body by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor or as low as your flexibility will allow. In the low position, engage your core, squeeze your glutes and push up to standing Take a deep breath in as your lower to the squat and breath out as you explode up to standing. Repeat for 45 seconds before resting for 15 seconds, then moving on to the next exercise.
PLANK ROW: 30 SECONDS RIGHT SIDE. 30 SECONDS LEFT SIDE/15 SECONDS REST
Core strength for runners is very important. Strengthening the muscles that make up your abs, hips/glutes, lower back and pelvis are critical to helping you become a stronger, faster, less injury-prone runner.
Start in a high straight arm plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your legs wider than hip width for stability. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to ankles while engaging your core. Do not allow your hips to hike up or sag down.
With your core tight and your glutes engaged lift your right elbow to row as you bend your elbow up toward the ceiling.
LUNGE WITH TWIST: 45 SECONDS RIGHT, 45 SECONDS LEFT/15 SECONDS REST
The lunge is a great exercise for strengthening glutes, hamstrings and quads. We add a twist because runners move in only one plane of motion (Sagittal plane: front to back) so it is necessary to gain strength in the other planes of motion.
With your feet hip width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead, hold your core stable with your back straight Take one large step to lunge forward until your front knee is lined up over your ankle and your back knee is nearly touching the floor. Do not allow your knee to go past your toes. Once you are in the lunge position, twist your torso in the same direction as your front leg. Push back up to standing and change legs. Repeat for 45 seconds then switch legs.
SIDE PLANK: 30 SECONDS RIGHT, 30 SECONDS LEFT/15 SECONDS REST
Move into a side plank position stacking your shoulder, elbow and wrist in a straight line. If this feels good, reach your arm to the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides.
SINGLE DEAD DEADLIFT: 45 SECONDS RIGHT, 45 SECONDS LEFT/15 SECONDS REST
When you run you are essentially balancing on one leg at time repeatedly for the duration of your run. If you perform exercises unilaterally (one side at a time) it will help reduce muscle imbalances, improve core strength & stability and increase runner-specific strength. The single leg deadlift is an ideal exercise for runners.
Standing on one leg, keep your knee slightly bent and perform a deadlift by bending at your hip while keeping your back straight and neck neutral. Extend your free leg behind you in line with your body. Lower until your back is parallel to the floor. With your back straight return to the upright position. Repeat for 45 seconds then switch legs.
BRIDGE WITH OVERHEAD LIFT: 45 SECONDS WORK/15 SECONDS REST
The hips and glutes generate the power to propel you forward during your stride. This exercise is fantastic for building hip/glute strength for runners.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Reach your arms over your head towards the ceiling while raising your hips off the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause at the top then slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat for 45 seconds. Rest for one minute and repeat the circuit.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
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I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help.
While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.