Wellness

9 Basic Strength Training Moves Every Runner Should Know

Cross-training FTW.

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Want to take your running game to the next level? Strength training a few days a week will do the trick, says STRIDE’s Steve Stonehouse. Here, fitness pros share their fave strength training for runners exercises to help you boost muscles, improve your stride, and prevent injury.

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Squats

Squats are a classic for a reason, says Barry’s At-Home trainer Taryn Brooks. Hips, hamstrings, quads, glutes, core — squats work all your major lower body muscles, which is why they’re perfect for building the strength and stability you need for a more efficient stride.

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Single-Leg Squats

When you’re running, you’re balancing on one foot at a time — so doing single-leg training is a must, says Stonehouse. Three sets of 10 per side helps you build balance and coordination while boosting strength. His tip? Prioritize balance over depth.

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Lunges

There’s no better way to work all your leg muscles at once than with lunges, says Brooks. Try three sets of 10 to feel the burn. Even better? Lunges also challenge your balance and stability, which helps keep you steady while you pound the pavement.

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Deadlifts

Strong legs are key to a strong stride, and deadlifts work your all-important posterior chain, says Brooks. Try three sets of 5 to 8 deadlifts to strengthen your hips, glutes, and back. Hinge at the hips while keeping a flat back, then squeeze your glutes to stand up.

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Hamstring Curls

Strengthening your hamstrings is important to balance out leg strength and avoid injury, says Stonehouse. For three sets of 10 curls, place your heels on an exercise ball. Squeeze your hamstrings to draw your heels in towards your glutes, then repeat.

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Glute Bridges

Brooks’s favorite drill to work the back line of your legs? Glute bridges. Try three sets of 10, hold at the top, or do a single-leg variation to spice things up while you build strength in your glutes, hamstrings, and core.

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Planks

A strong core is key for maintaining good running form and preventing injury, says Stonehouse. Planks build total core strength: Hold for three sets of 15 to 60 seconds, and add shoulder taps for an extra burn. Bonus? Planks also work your back and arm muscles.

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Russian Twists

Your upper body rotates with every step, and Stonehouse says having strong obliques keeps this rotation from getting out of hand and throwing you off balance. Russian twists keep your side abs strong: Try three sets of 10 to help your stride stay in top form.

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Back Extensions

Fun fact: Your core includes your back, says Stonehouse. Try three sets of 10 back extensions on the floor or on equipment to strengthen all 360 degrees of your core. Squeeze your glutes and low back to lift your chest up, then return to the starting position.

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