Maximize Your Runs with the Best Strength Exercise for Runners

The best strength exercise for runners is the squat or deadlift. These exercises strengthen the lower body muscles used in running and help prevent injuries.

As a runner, your primary goal is to improve your running performance and prevent injuries. While running is great for your cardiovascular system, it can cause strain on the joints and muscles of your lower body. This is where strength training comes in as a crucial aspect of any runner’s training program.

By incorporating strength exercises that focus on the lower body, runners can build strength, improve running mechanics, and reduce the risk of injury. In this article, we will explore the best strength exercises for runners and how they can benefit your running performance. We will also discuss how to properly execute these exercises and incorporate them into your training program.

Maximize Your Runs with the Best Strength Exercise for Runners


Benefits Of Strength Training For Runners

As a runner, strength training might not be at the top of your mind when it comes to training routines. However, incorporating strength training into your running regimen can offer numerous benefits.

Improved Performance And Endurance

Strength training can help you improve your running performance and endurance. When you run, your muscles generate force, and strength training helps you build up muscle mass and strength to produce more force. This increased force production can help you run faster and for longer periods without getting tired.

  • Resistance training can increase your muscle power, which is crucial in race situations when you need extra oomph.
  • Strength training also helps with the efficient use of oxygen, providing you with more endurance and stamina.
  • This type of training increases the lactate threshold, which is the time it takes for you to feel muscle fatigue.

Injury Prevention And Faster Recovery

Running is a high-impact activity that can take a toll on your body. Strength training helps protect your joints and muscles from injury.

  • Resistance training strengthens your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, resulting in a decreased risk of injury.
  • Injury is not always avoidable, but strength training helps your body to recover faster from an injury.

Enhanced Running Form And Technique

Strength training can improve your running form and technique by improving muscle imbalances, mobility, and stability.

  • Strengthening your core and lower body helps you maintain proper posture and alignment, improving your running form and technique.
  • Strength training can help fix muscles imbalances, ensuring your body moves the way it should while running.
  • It enhances your joint mobility thereby increasing your stride length and improving your gait.

Increased Muscle Mass And Bone Density

Strength training can also help build muscle mass and bone density.

  • Resistance training increases muscle mass, which translates into a leaner body, faster metabolism, and overall better health.
  • It helps in the growth and repair of bones, thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Strength training ensures an increase in the production of growth hormone, which is crucial for overall fitness.

Incorporating strength training into your running routine can help prevent injuries, improve your running form and technique, and help you reach your peak performance. This type of training also has long-term benefits for your overall health and well-being. Remember to consult with your doctor or coach before starting any new training program.

Top 5 Best Strength Exercises For Runners

Running on its own offers numerous benefits, such as improved cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. However, incorporating strength exercises in your training routine can elevate your running game to a whole new level. Here are some of the best strength exercises for runners:

Squats And Lunges

Squats and lunges are compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, targeting your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. They improve balance, stability, and mobility, which are essential for efficient running.

  • Squats: Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your hips behind you as if sitting in a chair. Keep your spine straight and core engaged. Rise back to your starting position and repeat for 10-15 reps.
  • Lunges: Stand straight and take a step forward with your right foot. Bend both knees to lower your body. Your right knee should be above your ankle, and your left knee should be hovering just above the ground. Push back to your starting position and repeat on the other leg. Do 10-15 repetitions on each side.


Deadlifts are another compound exercise that enhances your posterior chain muscles, including your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. Strengthening these muscles will help you maintain an upright posture while running, prevent injuries, and boost your speed.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and your toes pointing forward. Hold a dumbbell or a barbell with an overhand grip. Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your spine neutral. Lift the weight by squeezing your glutes and hamstrings. Lower it down slowly and repeat for 10-12 reps.

Hip Bridges

Hip bridges are a great exercise for targeting your glutes and improving your hip extension. Strong glutes can help you generate more power and strides while running.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, and arms by your sides. Raise your hips off the ground by squeezing your glutes. Hold at the top for 1-2 seconds and lower down slowly. Repeat for 10-12 reps.

Planks And Side Planks

Planks strengthen your core, including your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles. A strong core can help you maintain proper running form and improve your efficiency.

  • Plank: Hold a push-up position with your forearms on the ground, elbows under your shoulders, and feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your entire body in a straight line. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat for 2-3 sets.
  • Side plank: Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder and your legs straight. Raise your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side and repeat for 2-3 sets.

Plyometric Exercises

Plyometric exercises involve explosive and rapid movements that engage multiple muscle groups and improve your power, agility, and coordination. Some of the best plyometric exercises for runners include:

  • Jump squats: Start with a regular squat and explode upwards, jumping off the ground. Land softly and go back into a squat. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
  • Single-leg hops: Stand on one leg and hop forward, backward, and sideways. Land softly on the ball of your foot and repeat for 20-30 hops on each leg.

Incorporating these strength exercises into your training routine a few times a week can help you become a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner. So, lace-up your running shoes and give them a try!

Tips For Incorporating Strength Training Into Your Running Routine

Best Strength Exercise For Runners

Strength training is a vital part of a runner’s training regime, as it helps to improve running form and increases muscle endurance. By incorporating strength exercises into your running routine, you can improve your overall strength and reduce the risk of injury.

Below are some essential tips to help you integrate strength training into your running routine.

Frequency And Duration Of Strength Training

The frequency and duration of a runner’s strength training should be personalized, depending on their fitness level and training needs. Typically, strength training should be done two to three times a week, with each session lasting 30-45 minutes.

Some key points to keep in mind are:

  • Beginners can start with one or two strength training sessions per week and gradually increase the frequency as they get accustomed to it.
  • Strength training sessions should be spaced out at least 48 hours apart, to allow the muscles enough time to recover.
  • The duration of strength training sessions can be gradually increased to improve muscular endurance.

Best Time To Strength Train

Runner’s should incorporate strength training into their routine during the off-season or base training phase. The off-season or base training allows runners to build a solid fitness foundation and focus on strength building before entering race-specific training.

Some key points to keep in mind are:

  • Strength training should be done after a runner’s easy run.
  • It is best to avoid strength exercises immediately before or after a hard running workout.
  • Runners can also strength train on their rest days.

How To Stay Motivated

Staying motivated and consistent with strength training can be challenging. However, it is essential to stay focused and maintain consistency to get the desired results. Below are some ways to stay motivated:

  • Set goals- have measurable goals to work towards
  • Mix it up- incorporate different exercises to avoid boredom
  • Find a partner- having a partner can help you remain accountable and motivated
  • Track progress- keep track of the improvements to stay motivated
  • Cross-train – cross-training can help reduce the monotony of strength training

How To Monitor Progress

Keeping track of progress is essential to gauge improvement in strength training and running. Some simple ways to monitor progress include:

  • Keep a workout journal- record exercises, weights, reps, etc.
  • Monitor running performance- track running performance to see improvement
  • Assess strength- reassess strength periodically to track improvement
  • Listen to your body- pay attention to the body’s response to strength training

Incorporating strength training into a runner’s routine can show significant improvements in speed, endurance and reduce the risk of injury. The key to achieving results is to stay consistent, motivated and make gradual improvements over time.

Frequently Asked Questions On Best Strength Exercise For Runners

What Is The Best Strength Exercise For Runners?

The best strength exercise for runners is squats. They build strength in your lower body and improve running efficiency and endurance. Squats also reduce your risk of injury by strengthening your knees and hips.

How Often Should Runners Do Strength Training?

Runners should do strength training 2 to 3 times a week, with at least one day in between workouts to allow for recovery. Strength training complements running by improving your muscle strength, power, and endurance, making you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner.

Can Strength Training Improve Running Speed?

Yes, strength training can improve running speed by building muscle strength and power. Exercises like lunges, deadlifts, and plyometrics can help you increase your stride length and turnover rate, which leads to faster running speeds. Stronger muscles also help prevent fatigue during long-distance runs.


As runners, it is crucial to include strength exercises in our workout routine to improve our overall performance and prevent injuries. In this article, we have looked at some of the best strength exercises for runners, including lunges, squats, deadlifts, and planks.

These exercises work on different parts of the body, including the core, legs, and back, helping to improve stability, balance, and power. By adding these exercises to our routine, we can improve our running form, speed, and endurance. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to strength training.

So, make it a habit to include these exercises in your workout routine and watch as your running performance goes to the next level. Happy running!

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