If you want to take your running to the next level, whether you’re a newbie or seasoned marathoner, trail-runner or roadie, incorporating gym exercises can help you improve your running performance by building strength and endurance. Read on to learn more about some of the best gym exercises to help improve your running. And no, you don’t necessarily need a gym membership or equipment to do these, many can be done at home and using body-weight only.
Many coaches will tell you that if you do one gym exercise only, it should be squats … Squats are an excellent exercise for strengthening your legs and core. They target your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, which are all essential for running. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower your body down as if you are sitting in a chair. Keep your back straight, and your knees aligned with your toes. Return to the starting position and repeat for several sets. There are many variations, including body-weight only. Learn how to do the perfect squat, here.
Lunges are another great exercise for strengthening your legs. They work your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, as well as your calves and core. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and take a step forward with your right foot. Lower your body down until your right thigh is parallel to the ground, keeping your left knee just above the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other leg. To add another level to this, hold a dumbbell (steady) in each hand, keeping your arms straight.
This one requires proper equipment (a barbell and weights) … Deadlifts are an excellent exercise for building overall strength and endurance. They target your hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and core. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and bend forward, keeping your back straight and your knees slightly bent (form is crucial). Grasp the bar with both hands and lift it up, keeping your arms straight and your back straight. Lower the bar back down to the ground and repeat for several sets.
To take it up a notch, add single-leg deadlifts. These are an excellent exercise for building balance and stability in your legs. They target your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and lift your left leg off the ground. Bend forward, keeping your back straight, and lower your body down while extending your left leg behind you. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other leg.
The leg press machine is an excellent exercise for building strength in your legs. It targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Start by sitting on the machine with your feet on the platform. Push the platform away from your body until your legs are straight, then slowly lower it back down to the starting position. Repeat for several sets.
Planks are an excellent exercise for building core strength, which is essential for maintaining good posture while running. Start by getting into a push-up position, then lower your body down onto your forearms. Keep your body straight and your abs tight. Hold this position for as long as you can, then release and repeat.
Calf raises: Calf raises are an excellent exercise for building strength in your calves, which are important for running. Start by standing on a raised platform or step, with the balls of your feet on the edge. Raise your heels as high as you can, then lower them back down to the starting position. Repeat for several sets.
In short, incorporating these gym exercises into your training routine can help you improve your running performance by building strength and endurance in your legs and core. If you aren’t familiar with these sorts of exercises, it is unwise to go in too hot without a good idea of what volume to do and techniques to use. We recommend reaching out to a trusted fitness instructor for some guidance. Also consider adding some cross-training workouts to your routine to become a more rounded runner, click here for some inspiration.