Running is cardio so why do we need strength training? When we run we use all kinds of muscles. Legs (duh!), glutes … but also arms, abs, shoulders – the lot! This is because of the intense range of movement that runner requires. Cardio seems to take the spotlight when running because our lungs have to work super hard. But our muscles are working too, so to increase your running fitness and help prevent injury, becoming strong is very important. Here are some great exercises to do alongside your kilometres! Add weights and resistance bands where you can.
This is great for getting your shoulders and arms working with the rest of your body. Hang from a pull up bar with your hands shoulder width apart. Pull yourself up so that your hands are at least shoulder height, then lower back down and repeat.
The plank works your abs, back, arms and quads. Make sure you keep your pelvis tucked under, your butt down, back straight and your abs tight!
This is great for core strength. Lie on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly under your shoulder. Tighten your abs and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line. Hold this position. To step it up a notch, lower your hips down and push back up in a pulsing movement.
Bums, tums and legs! You can deadlift with a bar, kettle bell or even dumbbells! Start with the weight on the floor. With your back straight and your knees bent, grasp the weight and with tight abs, lock your knees and hip so that you’re standing upright. Then lower back down to the starting position, moving with your butt first then bending your knees.
Single leg squats (with TRX if you have it)
This one is pretty straight forward but takes some practice. A single leg squat works all those lower body muscles that are essential to running. Do a normal squat but on one leg! Balance is key here. If you feel like you’re not strong enough to get down to the correct position, it’s actually your flexibility. When you become more flexible you will find these easier.
Step one leg in from of the other and bend that knee. Keep your body upright and your back big toe on the ground. Don’t let your back knee touch the floor and your right knee shouldn’t come further than your toe.
These are great for whole body strength! In a plank position, lower yourself to the ground but don’t touch it. Push yourself back up to the starting position, keeping your abs tight, tucking your pelvis under and avoid arching your back.
This ab movement is similar to the one you do in running. Sit in a v-shape so that your abs are working but your back isn’t compromised. Your legs should e straight and off the ground. Twist from the shoulders and waist to one side and tap down on the floor with both hands together. Then return back to centre and reach to the other side.