As a runner you know how important it is to have proper leg strength and power.
Strength for runners is about building strong, lean muscles, keeping muscle mass down while maximizing strength. As the duration of any run or race builds you want the power in reserve to carry you through to a strong finish.
Building strength as a runner is often confusing. You likely don’t want to be sore from lifting, or gain muscle mass in fear it will slow you down. You want to run and the thought of strength training inside, in a gym, well, that’s probably not what excites you about running. If you’ve been running for any amount of time you know how important it is to minimize your risk of injury. Strength training does just that. To become a better, stronger runner you really want to become a stronger athlete. Strength training is another piece of your overall run-training plan. The following four exercises can be a simple way for you to build strength specific to running faster, with more power and developing a more efficient stride. So, lace ’em up and let’s build some power!
1 GLUTE BRIDGE TO ECCENTRIC LEG CURL
Develops hip extension and builds strength through hamstring lengthening for injury prevention.
2-3 sets of 8-10 reps
• Using a set of gliding discs under your heels, lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
• Pressing your feet down while contracting your glutes, raise your hips to form a straight line from knees to shoulders.
• Try to maintain level hips throughout the movement.
• Slowly extend your legs and slide your heels along the floor for 3-4 seconds till straightened.
• Return legs to bent knee starting position.
2 HEX BAR DEADLIFT
Develops the posterior chain, allowing for greater use of higher loads to build maximal strength.
3-5 sets of 4-6 reps
• Stand inside the hex bar with feet about shoulder-width apart.
• Lower your body by squatting down to grasp both handles firmly.
• While engaging your lats rotate your inner elbow forward and hold a slight chin tuck.
• Lift your hips up and back to create a slight stretch in the hamstrings (this is the starting position).
• While maintaining a neutral spine, push your feet into the ground.
• Allow your hips to travel forward at the top while contracting your glutes, keeping your pelvis in a neutral, level position.
• Begin lowering the bar to the ground by hinging at your hips and bending your knees, again keeping a neutral spine.
3 DROP JUMPS
Develops increased ground-reaction time. A variety of step heights can be used.
3 sets of 6-8 reps
• Stand on top of an elevated surface, bench, step or box.
• Step out and off the box, dropping to the ground.
• Upon both feet landing, immediately spring off the ground as quickly as possible.
• Both the drop down and jump up should be at a forward angle, not vertical.
• Speed of contact reactivity off the ground is key for enhancing speed and force development.
4 BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
Helps increase neuromuscular coordination and your ability to produce single-leg power.
2- 4 sets of 6-8 reps
• Standing three “foot” lengths in front of a bench or elevated surface, place one foot on the bench behind you.
• Keep feet inline, core engaged and weights at your sides.
• Bend the front knee while lowering to the ground, gently touching the ground with the opposite knee.
• Your torso should be at the same angle as the shin of the front leg.
• While pressing into the ground with the front leg drive upward quickly, using the back leg for support only.
Photography by Jonathan Deschenes
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