Strength & Conditioning Exercises for Runners
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Ok you mustachy mo-runners. Hands up if you’ve been training for Mo-Run. Now hands up if you’re going to wing it? Come on now - be honest.
Just because you aren’t running a marathon, doesn’t leave you exempt from training. Actually, a lot of injuries we see (Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, hamstring issues etc.) are from lack of training for shorter distance fun runs. You push through the first few miles before your body begins to fall apart.
If you haven’t started training, never fear. The below strength and conditioning exercises will help get you across the finish line injury free.
Single leg squats from a chair – 4 x 20 reps on each leg.
From a sitting position, stand on one leg. Keep your pelvis level and be careful not to twist it back. When people do this exercise, they have a tendency to rotate the non-weight bearing hip back. This means you’re opening out your hip, instead of engaging your glutes properly. And we want those buns to work. Keep your shoulders and pelvis square and knee in line with your second toe. Be mindful to stand straight and not side bend or arch your lower back.
Standing hamstring curls (done well) – 4 x 20 reps on each leg
Standing hamstring curls are rarely done well. Most people tend to sway their hips forward when curling their leg back, so the weight moves to the ball of their foot and they have to grip with their toes. The aim is to keep your pelvis in line so the weight is evenly spread through your foot. Make sure your lower back is flat and your tummy is engaged. If you are doing it correctly you should feel your glute and hamstrings working together.
TIP: do this exercise holding onto something in front of you and with a mirror to your side to make sure you’re doing it correctly.
Seated leg extension with a football – 4 x 20 reps
From a seated position sitting upright, squeeze the ball between your ankles and start to lift your legs to straighten your keens. When your hamstrings are tight you are going to want to round your back – so fight against this urge. Maintain the pressure on the ball throughout the movement up and down. This will work your quads and VMO which is important to combat anterior knee pain. Only extend the legs as far as you can maintain a straight back.
Four-point kneeling torso rotation – 4 x 20 reps on each side
On all fours, your hands should be directly below your shoulders with straight arms, and your knees should be directly below your hips. Make sure your back is nice and straight with your head in line with your torso. Be careful not to drop your head towards the floor. Place one hand on your hip and rotate your torso towards the non-weight bearing side so you open up your shoulders. Hold for a count of 5-seconds on each side.
By Alex Smart