Runners are traditionally not known to be weight lifters. However, anyone who understands the biomechanics of running knows that running efficiency and speed can be improved with the utilization of resistance training. But before you go to your local fitness centre, pick up some dumbbells and do some bicep curls, read this list of the top 5 resistance training exercises for runners.
The squat is the mother of all functional exercises. Despite being primarily a quadricep and glute strengthening exercise, the squat also develops the hamstrings, core musculature and other muscles of the lower legs. Using the squat will develop the power in the lower body to propel the body forward in the running gait.
Step up the functionality of the squat to running and perform a single-leg squat variation. Perform sets of 12 – 15 repetitions to improve muscular endurance.
Although thought to be an intense exercise performed by only the biggest of gym-rats, the deadlift can be a very useful tool in the runner’s resistance training tool kit. The deadlift places emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes, and helps to balance the anterior and posterior muscle groups of the upper legs. In addition, the deadlift works these muscle groups in a more similar way to when they operate while running than other exercises, such as the hamstring curl.
Although, a very functional exercise that can make a world of difference, it is extremely important to perform correctly to avoid injury. The important thing is to maintain the integrity of the back and maintain a flat back during the exercise.
Supermans (Alternating Arm and Leg Raise):
Laying on the stomach, and reaching the arms above the head, lift alternating arms and legs up off the floor. You should feel this exercise in the lower and upper back.
This exercise is important in strengthening posture. Poor running posture will very quickly lead to inefficient running technique and injury.
So, next time you take a trip to your local fitness centre you have no reason to walk around the gym once, look at the intimidating equipment and leave the gym feeling confused as what to do. Perform these three key exercises and improve your running efficiency and strength.