It’s a well-known fact that improving your strength can make you a better runner. For example, work on strengthening your leg muscles, and you can enjoy more power in your legs while running.
However, both new and experienced runners can struggle to create a workout that targets the right areas for improved efficiency and reduced injury risk. Add the following exercises to your routine, and you might be in a much stronger position than you thought possible.
Chiropractic Physical Therapy
Whether you’ve experienced a running-related injury or you’re trying to prevent one, choosing chiropractic physical therapy from the wide-ranging list of chiropractic services might be worth considering.
Chiropractors can recommend stretches for increased mobility, therapeutic exercises for strength and range of motion, and even postural training to improve your posture and prevent injury. If you’ve experienced an injury you believe is related to your running style, they might even be able to assist with running style recommendations to allow for safer running events in the future.
Push-ups, also known as press-ups, are equipment-free exercises that might have more value in your running exercise routine than you think. While they don’t require any complex movements or techniques, they might assist with posture improvements, strengthening your arms, shoulders, and chest, and even enhancing your arm drive while you run.
Completing the perfect push-up is also straightforward, even if they’ve never formed a core part of your exercise routine before. Lay face down and place your hands on the ground on each side of your chest. Ensure your toes are tucked under and push down into your hands while raising your body off the floor. Make sure your body remains straight, and refrain from stretching your neck.
Once your arms are nearly completely extended, lower your body until it almost touches the floor. Two or three sets of 10 in each routine might be all it takes to benefit from better arm drive and running strength.
Many runners struggle with their cadence and running stride. However, when you master your running stride, you often benefit from speed and efficiency. Squats might be how you achieve running stride efficiency and decrease the risk of injury.
Traditionally, squats are an equipment-free type of exercise, but you can also use kettlebells or a barbell to increase the difficulty level. Stand with your feet slightly wider apart than your hip length and point your toes slightly outward.
Once in this position, you can lower your body, bend at the hips and knees, and pretend as though you’re about to sit on a chair. Make sure your bottom is going back, and keep your chest up and your knees over your ankles.
When you’ve lowered yourself into an almost sitting position, push your body up through your heels and become standing once more. At least 30 squats in a workout session might strengthen your major muscle groups, help you achieve more flexibility, and even help you run faster.
Strengthening your lower core muscles is often a challenging task, but it’s a worthwhile one. When you have tight and strong lower core muscles, you might have a stronger lower back, contributing to a better running posture. Leg raises might be the very exercise to incorporate into your running routine to help.
Lie on your back and position your arms by your sides. Once in this position, bring your feet together and raise them in the air until they’re as vertical to the rest of your body as you’re comfortable with. Lower your legs back down until they almost touch the ground, then raise them again. If you struggle to lift both legs, try one at a time until you strengthen your hip flexors enough to allow you to raise both at once.
If you’re trying to maintain an upright running posture for your next full or half marathon, consider adding tricep dips to your regular exercise routine. This equipment-free exercise is all about strengthening your arms and shoulders and is easy to do in the comfort of your own home or at your local gym.
Sit on the edge of a seat or bench with the palms of your hands underneath your buttocks and your fingers over the edges. Lower yourself down off the chair with all your body weight carried by your arms, and push yourself back up only using your arms. Refrain from using the power of your legs to lift yourself.
Glute bridges are such a straightforward exercise that you might think they don’t have any value when it comes to improving your running abilities. However, glute bridges can promote good running form by activating your core stabilizer muscles and might even increase your glute strength for more running stride power. If you experience back pain while running, glute bridges might help with this too.
Lie down on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your arms by your sides. Raise your hips upward and keep your knees, hips, and shoulders in alignment. As you do this, ensure your shoulders remain flat on the floor to prevent neck pain or discomfort. You can then hold the position before lowering your body and repeating the process.
If a standard glute bridge isn’t challenging enough, try holding your arms above you in an outstretched position.
Any runner trying to improve their running efficiency and posture might benefit from superman pose exercises. This exercise involves lying face down with your hands up by your ears and your palms facing downward.
Once in this position, lift your shoulders and chest off the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades in the process. Lower your body back down again, and repeat. Keep looking down toward the floor with each rep to avoid neck pain.
Many runners use the superman pose as an ‘activation’ exercise before they move on to a total body workout. It can often strengthen your back, build your core, and work your glutes in one movement.
Improving your running abilities can sometimes seem like an impossible task, especially when you feel like you’re set in your ways with your current running style. However, by adding a few new exercises to your pre-run workout routine, you might be surprised by the postural and strength changes you can experience.