Too often, runners make the mistake of not doing any other form of physical activity besides running.
But there’s plenty to be gained from basic bodyweight exercises for runners. By strengthening key muscles, you’ll be less prone to injuries, increasing your power and improving your running speed overall.
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These exercises focus less on brute strength and more on balance and endurance. Here are our top five exercises for runners to do when they’re off the track or treadmill.
Ah, trusty planks. Planks are an excellent full-body workout to help improve stability and core strength. To do this exercise, get in a push up position, then drop down to your forearms, and hold the position for 45 seconds, or as long as you can without your form suffering. Be sure to keep your core tight the whole time.
You’ll need a bench or a stability ball for this one. Get into push-up position with your feet on the bench. Then bring your right knee up toward your left shoulder, rotating your hips. Next, reverse and rotate your hips to the right. As you do, imagine trying to touch your left shoulder with your right foot behind your back. Continue alternating directions for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
3. Overhead Lunge
You can do this as a bodyweight exercise, with dumbbells or with a kettlebell. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your hands directly up in the air above you, palms facing in. Step into a lunge, keeping your hands up in the air. Push through your forward heel back to the starting position, and repeat 10 to 12 times for one set.
4. Stability Ball Hip Extension
This exercise is great for runners, as it targets the hamstrings and glutes. Lie on your back on the floor with your calves on a stability ball. Extend your arms out to your sides on the ground as support, then push your hips up until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Bend your knees to roll the ball as close to your hips as you can, then roll it back out. Repeat 10 to 12 times for one set.
5. Stability Ball Jackknife
Start in a push-up position with your shins on a stability ball. Raise your hips slightly and pull your knees into your chest to roll the ball forward, then roll the ball backwards again. Repeat eight to 10 times for one set.
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