One thing I’ve learned over the years is that runners are prone to strength imbalances. These imbalances put extra stress on joints, muscles and ligaments that can cause injuries like runners knee, IT band syndrome and more. Just a couple of years ago I developed knee issues caused by a lack of lateral leg, hip and glute strength that landed me in physical therapy for a month.
To keep me injury-free during my marathon training, my friend & personal trainer pal, Jacquelyn of Fitsouffle, put together not one but two awesome strength workouts for runners––and she’s here today to share them with you!
Hey ATE followers! I am so excited to help Elle train for her first marathon, what a goal. I have run quite a few half marathons and two full marathons and have learned a few things along the way. As a Pilates teacher and personal trainer working with lots of runners, I have found that we can preventinjury and stay healthy by making sure we balance out the musculature in our body’s and that we create strong muscles and stable joints.
Running puts a lot of force and impact on our body’s so we need to be ready for that by working incorporating bodyweight exercises, Pilates, and stretching. I have put together two workouts for Elle to help keep her healthy and feeling great, one focusing on the lower body and another for the core. If you’re a runner, try to work these exercises into your cross training program 1-2x per week. As you go through the moves, focus on slow and controlled movements and good form––an exercise is only as good as the form you perform it with!
The first workout is a lower body strengthening and stabilizing program. Aim for 10-15 reps and repeat 2-3 times.
- Stationary Curtsy Lunges
- Lateral Lunges + Knee Raise: Keep your core engaged, pause until balanced on one leg. Complete on the right side, then left.
- Single leg balance to touch: Keep your standing leg softly bent and your hip square to the front
- Clams: Keep hips stacked
- Sidelying leg raises in parallel: Keep feet flexed
- Sidelying leg raises in turnout: Keep feet flexed
- Prone leg raises + bend and extend: Lie on belly with hands under your forehead and relax your upper body. Lift both legs off the ground keeping knees raised, bend and extend your legs engaging your hamstrings and glutes
The 2nd workout is more Pilates based to work your core, that includes your back to make sure you are supporting your spine, upper body, and hips while running. Complete 2-3 sets of each exercise for 30-60 seconds each, or 8-10 reps.
- Walking plank
- Double Bent Knee Leg Lower: straight legs for a more advanced progression
- Abdominal curl: curl up, chin raised, elbows back and wide don’t crunch the spine
- Bicycle curl: Slow and controlled, focus on curling up and then rotating. Keep elbows wide and turn your body from your waist not your neck.
- Bridge: Roll up and down through the spine one bone at a time
- Swimming: Laying on your stomach, lift your upper and lower body off your mat by engaging upper back muscles & the entire back line of your legs. Alternate lifting and lowering your opposite arm and leg.
- Swan: Laying on your stomach, press up only as much as you can by engaging your upper back muscles rather than compressing your lower back.
- Opposite arm and leg raise: from a hands and knees position
A huge thanks to Jacquelyn for this awesome strength and stability workout. For more great workouts and healthy living inspiration, you can head on over to her adorable blog and connect with Jacquelyn on Twitter and Pinterest.