5 Strength Training Exercises for Runners – Fit Armadillo

5 Strength Training Exercises for Runners

strength training for running

Certified Personal Trainer Megan Flanagan is also an avid runner. Today, she shares her Top 5 Strength Training Exercises for Runners and explains why you want to add them to your fitness routine. 

Whether you just started running, signed up for a 5k or have run several marathons, strength training is an incredibly important, but often neglected component of exercise for runners.

Improving efficiency, correcting imbalances, and activating these lower body muscles will improve your race times and prevent injury.

Learn the Top 5 Strength Training Exercises for Runners:

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These are all bodyweight-based exercises that you can do at home or in the gym using free weights or a resistance band.

Performing this circuit just 2-3 times a week will go a long way for your running, and might just be the missing piece for that next PR!

Form Tips for Each Strength Training Exercise:

Strength Training Exercise #1: The Bodyweight Squat

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, extend arms out in front of you. Keeping a neutral spine, bend the hips back and come down into a squat position with knees bent. Rise back up into your starting position. That’s one rep. Be sure to keep the weight in your heels throughout the movement. This is the basis for adding weight, doing a single leg pistol squat, or even a jumping squat! Complete 8-12 reps.

Strength Training Exercise #2: Lunge Matrix: Front, Side, and Reverse Lunge

Begin by standing tall with your hands either on your hips or in position to balance yourself. Taking a step forward, lunge fully, making sure your knee stays behind your toe. Complete the lunge matrix by stepping to the side with both toes pointed forward, followed by stepping behind you to a reverse lunge. Make sure to hit both sides 3-6 times.

Strength Training Exercise #3: Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Standing on one foot, hinge at the hip and bring your opposite leg straight back behind you. Reach forward with your arms out in front of you. Keep your back straight, your hips squared, and your torso tight. You should feel this in your hamstrings and glutes. This is a great exercise to add weight to using a dumbbell or kettlebell, and will certainly test your balance! Complete 6-10 reps on each leg.

Strength Training Exercise #4: Monster Band Walk

Wrap a theraband around your legs just above your knees, if you have one. If not, you will still benefit from using your own bodyweight. Begin in a squat position. Proceed forward, walking side to side while moving forward, always keeping one foot off the ground. You should feel this in your outer thighs (abductors). If you want to target your glutes as well, walk backward. Take 10-15 steps forward and 10-15 steps backward.

Strength Training Exercise #5: 3-Way Single Leg Scales

Standing on one foot and keeping a tall, forward stance, raise your opposite leg out in front of you and back down, followed by to the outside, and then kicking it back behind you. Think about keeping your hips square to the front and focusing on that rather than how high your leg goes. 3-Way Single Leg Scales challenge your balance while improving hip mobility and glute activation, both of which are key to balanced running. Run through the 3-way scale with each leg 6-8 times.

There you have it - the top 5 strength exercises for runners that will improve your mobility, balance, and overall strength!

Complete this circuit before or after a run, or on one of your off-days. Regardless of when, it will improve your running economy, efficiency, and help prevent injury by keeping your body in balance.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, add weight, go for a single leg variation, or increase the number of reps.

Happy Running!


About Megan:

Megan Flanagan has been a competitive cross country runner for 8 years and is a certified trainer with Fit Armadillo. If you’re looking for help bringing your running game to the next level, book a session with Megan today:

Have a question about these moves or your running routine? Excited to start using these tips to become a stronger runner? Leave your question or comment below:

Catherine Turley

Hello! I'm the founder of Fit Armadillo® and I'm so glad you're here. If you've been looking for a way to start your healthy lifestyle, but you don’t want to join a gym or spend thousands of dollars on supplements and fad products, you’ve come to the right place. On the blog we share fitness tips and healthy recipes to get you started. For more 1-on-1 help head here to get matched with an awesome certified fitness professional. Looking for motivation to start or stick to your routine? Check out my *bestselling* book HERE

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