Strength Training Exercises
A runner should gain strength since it plays a major role in building the runner’s speed and efficiency. Most runners are lean and lanky, but this does not mean that they are weak. The running machines that are most effective are those which are packed with a lot of solid muscle. The stronger a runner is, the more efficient, the faster and more resistant to injury the runner becomes. Gaining strength does not only mean exercising the legs only but the whole body. Jenny Schatzle, a personal trainer and athlete in Santa Barbara, California, states that “I really believe in exercising your whole body because running is a full-body activity.” Strengthening one’s principal muscles for running such as hamstrings and glutes is as important as performing exercises which strengthen one’s upper body and core. A runner with a strong lean physique can tolerate muscle fatigue and remain effective for long compared to a lean weak runner. The following exercises help the runner to be stronger, less prone to injury and have more efficiency.
Bulgarian Split Squats
The Bulgarian split squats involve muscles such as the glutes, the quads, the calves and the core. The runner standing in a lunge state should place the back foot toes on a box or bench that is around one-two foot. The runner should lower his/her torso down straight by bending the knee of the front leg, making sure it does not plunge forward past the toes. While the forward thigh is in parallel to the ground, the runner should hold for about two seconds then slowly go back up to a position that is neutral. The runner should repeat this for around 10-15 times for each leg. The runner benefits from Bulgarian Split Squats in that they strengthen the muscles involved making the runner more efficient and fast.
Planks involve the shoulders, the core, and the back. A runner should lift each leg for six inches above the ground for about eight times in alternation, holding for about 30-60 seconds. This engages glutes too. Planks help a runner to engage and strengthen the core entirely. A wellness coach and owner at www.wellness.com says that “The Planks is the perfect exercise for strengthening the whole core”.
The lateral step-up involves muscles such as the hamstrings, the core, the glutes and the quads. The runner should hold a weight of 10 pounds and there while standing next to a box or bench that is 2-3-foot high. The runner should the step up onto the box or bench using the inside foot. The runner should step up all the way while making a 90-degree angle with the outside knee. They should then hold in that position for about two seconds then go back down with control. The Lateral Step-Up helps engage the runner’s glute and core muscles and making the muscles involved resistant to injury.
Push-ups involve the chest, biceps, triceps, the core, and back. While in the plank position, hands held to the ground about 2-3 feet apart below the chest line, the runner should bend his elbows and move downwards for two times until the chest almost comes into contact with the ground. The runner should then rise to the plank position for the same two counts. Do this for 10-12 times. Push-ups help strengthen a runner’s upper body.
Lateral lunges involve muscles such as the quads, hip flexors, core, calves, glutes, and hamstrings. In this exercise, the runner should step about three-four feet out using one foot to the side. This should be done while keeping the chest up and the abs tight yet sending back the hips. The runner should ensure to keep the knee back over his/her ankle without plunging frontward and keeping the standing leg straight. When returning to a standing position, the runner should use the glutes to power off the ground. Perform this for ten times for each leg. This exercise strengthens the quads, hip flexors, core, calves, glutes and hamstrings of the runner helping them become faster and more efficient running machines.
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Sato, K., & Mokha, M. (2009). Does core strength training influence running kinetics, lower-extremity stability, and 5000-M performance in runners? The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 23(1), 133-140.
STØREN, Ø., Helgerud, J. A. N., Støa, E. M., & Hoff, J. A. N. (2008). Maximal strength training improves running economy in distance runners. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 40(6), 1087-1092.