Strength Training For Runners To Help Reduce Injuries

The Best Bodyweight Workout for Runners

“This circuit works one leg at a time, which will strengthen the glutes, hamstrings and quads of each leg equally,” says Estragó. “It also increases the hamstrings’ ability to produce force, which contributes to power output. The final two moves are core-focused so you can better support your torso when running.”

When runners get together you can be certain two topics of conversation will arise. The first is their personal bests, the second the various injuries they’ve suffered chasing those times. Indeed, a Danish study found that out of 930 new runners — those who had only started in the last year — 254 suffered a running-related injury within 12 months of training.

“Bad movement patterns and muscular imbalances can cause damage to ankles, knees and hips and contribute to injury, which is why all my running clients lift, jump and squat,” says Arnot. Try Arnot’s at-home drills to injury-proof your body.

Runners don’t always have the best, ahem, track record when it comes to avoiding injury. Part of the reason? Runners run—and that’s pretty much it.

“When you do the same motion over and over, odds are you’ll develop strength and flexibility imbalances as you overwork some muscles and ignore others,” says USA Track {amp}amp; Field Level 2 endurance coach Carl Leivers

As those imbalances increase, so does your chance of injury, whether it’s shin splints, tendonitis, runner’s knee, or any other common running ailment. That’s where this workout comes in handy.

The exercises here will target movements that are neglected when you run to help correct any muscle imbalances you’ve created over time. But, other exercises in the routine will do the opposite—they’ll emphasize running-specific movements to train your body to recruit the correct muscles when you run to maximize your performance.

Duration: 10 minutes in all. Once you’re comfortable with the exercises, work up to three total circuits for a 30-minute strength workout that’ll leave you healthy, strong, and ready to tackle training for your next big race (even if that’s just the race to the bagel shop).

Directions: Move directly from one exercise to the next with little to no rest in between. When you work up to three circuits, take one min max rest between sets. 

Prescription: Leivers recommends doing this routine three to four times per week, usually on the day of a harder workout or long run. That may seem counterintuitive, but Lievers says: “You can help jump-start the recovery process from your workout and allow your easy, recovery days to be truly easy.”

Ready to become a faster, stronger, more dynamic runner? Let’s get started.

1. Bodyweight Squat (repeat for 30 seconds)

Expert tip: Focus on form and let depth come naturally as you get more experienced with the exercise.

2. Eccentric Calf Raise (repeat for 30 seconds on each leg)

How to do it: Begin by standing on both feet and raise yourself on to your toes. Lift one leg off the ground and slowly (4-5 second count) lower yourself back to your starting position using just one leg. Place both feet on the ground and repeat. 
Expert tip: Start this exercise on flat ground, then progress to doing it off a stair or curb. If you’re struggling to maintain your balance, use a wall or rail for support.

3. Backward Walking Lunge (alternate legs and repeat for 1 min total)

Expert tip: Push through your front heel as you come out of the lunge. Also, it’s OK to bring your feet together before starting the next lunge to help maintain your balance.

4. 1-Leg Balance Drill (repeat for 30 seconds on each leg)

How to do it: Stand on both feet with your hands on your hips. Lift one leg and bring your foot in front of you (think of a 12 o’clock position). Swing it back to the center, hovering above the ground. Then, lift your leg to your right side (3 o’clock). Swing it back to the center, then immediately behind you (at 6 o’clock). Again, bring your leg back to the center, then go to your left side (9 o’clock).
Expert tip: Focus on staying balanced and keeping your elevated leg off the ground as you work through the movements. This exercise will challenge your arch and strengthen your ankle strength and alignment.

5. Double-Leg Hop (repeat for 30 sec)

How to do it: Imagine you’re using a jump rope. Take quick, low hops and focus on landing on the balls of your feet with short contact-to-ground time.

6. 1-Leg Squat (repeat for 30 sec on each leg)

How to do it: Stand on one leg with the other straight out in front of you or with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower yourself into a squat position, stopping and coming back up if you see your knee start to “dive” inside of your toes (good form is key for this exercise), Leivers says.
Expert tip: Hold on to a rope wrapped around a sturdy pole, he says. You’ll be able to go much deeper with proper form as you build up strength in your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and lower leg muscles. 

7. Front Plank (30 second hold)

How to do it: Balance on your elbows and toes with your back straight.
Expert tip: Don’t arch your hips up and keep your neck straight by looking in front of you, not at the ground. 

8. Side Plank (30 second hold on each side)

Expert tip: Make sure your shoulders, hips, and ankles are aligned and that you don’t have any bend in your waist.  

9. Reverse Plank (30 second hold)

Expert tip: Keep your back straight and don’t let your hips drop.

10. Lateral Leg Raises (repeat for 30 seconds on each side)

How to do it: Lie on your side with your bottom knee in front of your body, bent at roughly 90 degrees. Make sure your shoulders, hips, and the knee and ankle of your top leg are all aligned. Without rotating your hips back, raise your top leg and bring it back down.
Expert tip: “This is not a range of motion exercise, so don’t worry about how high you raise your leg, focus instead on keeping your hips stable,” Leiver says. 

11. 1-Leg Bridge (30 second hold on each side)

How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hug one knee to your chest with both arms, and bring that leg off the floor. Bridge your hips (with one leg on the ground, the other in the air) up and hold for 30 seconds. Come back down and hug your opposite knee to your chest. Bridge for another 30 seconds. 

12. Clam Shells (repeat for 30 seconds on each side)

How to do it: Lie on your side with both knees bent at 90 degrees in front of your body. Your shoulders, hips, and ankles should be aligned. Keeping your feet together and making sure your hip doesn’t rotate backwards, raise your top knee. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then return to the starting position. 
Expert tip: Like the lateral leg raise, don’t worry about how far your bring your knee up. “Focus on keeping your hips in the correct position as you raise your knee,” Leivers says. 

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for more stamina and a higher exercise tolerance

A running circuit workout is the perfect way to add variety to monotonous endurance training. The body is confronted with a number of challenges within a very short time, which improves your condition.

A running circuit training can include exercises for all muscle groups. Integrate all of your surroundings and options into your run: use benches, stairs, walls, and playgrounds for a strength session. Your breaks are while you’re running; this way your body is constantly challenged.

A running circuit training could go like this:

  • Warm-up
    An easy 10-15 minute run is an appropriate warm up.
  • Main workout
    Now do three to four sets of five to six bodyweight exercises: try Push-ups, Squats, Lunges, Crunches or stair sprints. You can find all these exercises and more with video descriptions in the adidas Training app.
  • Duration
    Do each exercise for 30 seconds and take a 30 second break between them.
  • Break between sets
    Run for 5 to 8 minutes at an increased but manageable speed in between the strength training sessions.

Good to know:

Try to do the exercises rapidly. This way you will achieve a more intense interval workout. The running sequences should be easy to complete so you can focus your attention on the strength training.

  • Cool-down
    A very easy 10-minute run is a good way to cool down.

3 Bodyweight Workout Routines For Runners

Next time you’re in an unfamiliar location with little time to spare, give one of these workouts a shot.

Duncan LarkinAugust 18, 2015

3. Running with workout intervals

…to build up overall endurance

The best combination to increase your running endurance is a run with workout intervals. Run at a slightly faster pace and integrate regular workout intervals. Define the duration and number of your strength-running intervals beforehand and try to stick to the plan. Divide the workouts between your core, upper body, and legs.

Do two sets of 10 to 15 reps per muscle group in each interval. The cumulative workout for strength and endurance forces the body to continue performing even though it is tired. This helps you start developing greater aerobic endurance and strength after just the first session.  

How to set up your running-workout session:

  • Warm-up
    An easy 10-15 minute run is an appropriate warm up.
  • Main workout
    Break up your run every 5 to 8 minutes and do a mini circuit training with three bodyweight exercises (one exercise per muscle group). 
  • Routine: 2 sets with 15 repetitions per muscle group
  • Exercise suggestions: Upper body:  Push-ups, Triceps Dip, Pull-upsCore: Bridge, Russian Twist, Crunches; Legs: Forward, Side, or Backward lunges, Squats
  • Cool-down
    A very easy 10-minute run is good to cool down.

Good to know:

These methods are particularly good for building up your general endurance and strength. The longer the session lasts, the better. But increase the duration of the workout gradually, so your body has a chance to continue developing. The focus here is on doing the exercises properly, which is why the intensity should be rather low.

Are you looking for the perfect training plan for your next run?
Get the adidas Running app.


6 Lying back extension

Strength Training For Runners To Help Reduce Injuries

Reps 15

Lie on your back with legs straight and fingers at your temples. Use your lower back to raise your chest. Pause at the top, then lower back to the start.

Air Squats (20 reps)

Tip: “Thighs parallel to the ground” should be possible, Gonzales says, if you can put your knees and hips through their full range of motion. “If it is not, make sure you only use range of motion that is not painful.”

Back Plank (20 seconds)

Tip: Keep your back straight and try not to go to your knees.

Tip: For this variation, rock your body forward so that you put pressure on your toes. Go until your shoulders are past your hands and then rock back to your starting position.

Tip: Alternate lifting your legs in the air behind you. Hold each lift for three seconds.

Tip: Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles up to your shoulders.

Tip: Focus on squeezing your glutes and bracing your abs.

Tip: Keep your back straight during this challenging variation that tests your balance.

Tip: Make sure your palms are facing out. Look up at the ceiling and keep your body in a straight line.

Burpees (15 reps)

RELATED:How To Execute A Proper Burpee

Tip: “Don’t sag the belly, don’t jump too high and don’t flop to the ground,” Gonzales says. “All of this should be in control. Remember all we want is the heart rate up.”

Hollow Rocks (20 reps)

RELATED:Fill In  Your Core With The Hollow Rock

Tip: “This is not a crunch,” Gonzales adds. “This is a isometric ‘hold’ into a pose with some motion.” You should be ridged and take breaks when form is breaking down.

How to do it

Do all the moves in order without resting, only resting for 60 seconds after the last move. Do four circuits in total.

For the first four moves do the first set and third set with your right leg, and the second and fourth with your left leg. For the side plank do the first and third set on your right side, and the second and fourth on your left.

Strength Training For Runners To Help Reduce Injuries

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