Strength Training for Runners

Strength Training for Runners

28 May 2021

By – Carter Krueger – Health Coach 

You hear it all of the time, “you should be lifting as a runner.” It will help to limit injury, and strengthen all of those muscles that aren’t involved while you are running. But let’s change that conversation, because yes, you are most likely a runner, but more importantly you are a human that loves to move. On top of that, you would love to continue to move as you age.

Instead of just adding exercises that will strengthen your running specifically, let’s add movements that will strengthen your entire body and keep you moving your entire life. Let’s think about the movements that we will want to be able to do as we age. We will need to push things, pull things, get up, sit down, and walk/run. 

Those are the exact movements that I suggest adding into your every week routine, and you don’t need to head to the gym to do them. Everything that I will suggest in this post will be using body weight and will support the functional movements that we, as humans, want to be able to do as we continue to age. If you are looking for a suggestion on how frequently to these movements, my suggestion is 2 days a week, 2 sets each, for maximum repetitions until you can no longer do another repetition or you are unable to hold proper form. 

Push Ups - 

Proper Form: 

  1. Get in a plank position (straight line from head to heels, hands flat on the ground and shoulder width apart, elbows locked and fingers flexed and pointed forward).
  2. Bend your elbows back and lower your body until your chest (or nose) touches the ground.
  3. Keep your core and glutes (your butt) tight and your spine and neck neutral.
  4. Push through the ball of the hand back up to plank position.
Newton Running Strength Training

If you are looking for an easier progression, try a Bench Push Up. 

Proper Form:

  1. Get in a plank position with your hands resting on a bench or another elevated object from the ground. 
  2. Maintain plank position as you lower your body towards the bench. 
  3. Push through the ball of the hand back to plank position.

If that is too difficult, try a Wall Push Up. 

Proper Form: 

  1. Stand in front of a wall and extend straight arms so your palms touch the wall. 
  2. Keeping a plank position, bend your elbows, bringing your body closer to the wall. 
  3. Push through the ball of the hand back to standing position. 
  4. You can move your feet backwards to make this variation more challenging.

Squats - 

Proper Form:

  1. Place your feet at or a little wider than hip width with your toes pointing forward or slightly outward.
  2. Push your butt back like you are sitting in an imaginary chair, until your butt and thighs are at least parallel.
  3. Keeping your weight on your heels, push through the heels to standing position, squeezing your butt at the top. Keep a neutral spine throughout the movement.
  4.  Stand back up to the original position.
Newton Running Strength Training

If you are looking for an easier progression of squats, try a Chair Squat. 

Proper Form:

  1. Place a chair or bench behind you. 
  2. Lower into a squat, until your butt touches the chair, then sit. 
  3. Without using momentum, push through your heels back to standing position.

If that is too difficult, try an Assisted Squat.

Proper Form:

  1. Hold a pole or other supporting object while lowering into and rising up from a squat position. 
  2. Use the support object as little as possible.

Pull Ups - 

This exercise may be a challenge to complete, because you need either a pull up bar or a sturdy branch to hold your bodyweight. 

Proper Form:

  1. Grip a bar or tree branch at about shoulder width with your hands facing away from you.
  2. Start by hanging, and then leading with your chest, pull your body up until your chin is above the bar.
  3. Lower yourself down until your arms are straight.
Newton Running Strength Training

If you are looking for an easier progression, try a Chin Up. 

Many find the chin up to be slightly easier than pull ups, particularly if you have wrist, elbow or shoulder issues. 

Proper Form: 

  1. Simply invert your grip on the bar so your palms face you, and then pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.

If this is too difficult, try a Chair Assisted Pull Up.

Proper Form:

  1. Start with your legs loosely positioned on a support chair underneath the bar. 
  2. Raise yourself up to the bar. Use just enough leg force to assist getting your chin over the bar. You probably only need to use one leg, but can use two if necessary.

Planks - 

This is a key exercise to help stabilize the core, and unlike the previous exercises instead of repetitions, you will hold for maximum time. 

Proper Form:

  1. Starting on your hands and knees, place your forearms flat on the ground with palms down.
  2. Straighten your legs and rise up on your toes creating a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Hold this position while keeping your core and glutes (your butt) tight.
Newton Running Strength Training

If you are looking for an easier progression, try a Hand and Foot Plank.

Proper Form:

  1. Start on hands and knees, hands shoulder width apart, elbows locked, and fingers flexed and pointed forward. 
  2. Straighten your legs and rise up on your toes creating a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Hold this position while keeping your core and glutes tight.

Note: To keep good form in your shoulders, keep elbows locked and push the ground away by pushing into the balls of the hand.

If this is too difficult, try a Forearm and Knee Plank. 

Proper Form:

  1. Assume plank position with forearm and knees resting on ground. 
  2. Hold this position while keeping your core and glutes tight.

Those are the four exercises to add to your weekly routine, twice a week, for two sets of maximum repetitions or time. Make sure to give yourself adequate recovery in between each set. Keep track of your progress, and only move on to a more difficult progression when you feel comfortable and confident in that exercise. Now you will be on your way to building a strong, healthy body that will be able to push things, pull things, squat up and down, and have a strong core!

My name is Carter Krueger, or Health Coach Carter. I am a Primal Health Coach, who empowers men to build a strong, healthy, energetic body they’ll love and be proud of, as well as a high school health teacher in the Denver Area. I have been racing triathlons for over 9 years now. 

If you are ready to build the strong, healthy body you deserve by getting back to the basics of eating clean, moving more, and sleeping better, download the FREE PDF of 5 Simple Habits to build the body you deserve. https://www.healthcoachcarter.com/5simplehabits

You can also find more information by following my Instagram, @healthcoachcarter, or on my website at www.HealthCoachCarter.com