Fitness Articles

4 Must-Do Strength Training Exercises for Runners

Build Strength and Power, Decrease Injury Risk


Lateral Movements
Runners seem to only move in one direction: forward! That's why it's important to train your body through other planes of movement, like backwards or sideways (laterally). Lateral moves help you train often-neglected muscles like the abductors (outer thigh) and adductors (inner thigh), helping increase stability at your joints, improve your balance, and prevent injury. Here are some examples you can try.
Beginner Advanced

Runners often neglect their upper bodies when training, but a strong upper body is essential for overall fitness and powerful runs. Pushups help strengthen the arms, chest, and shoulders, as well as the core, in one move, and you can do them anywhere, too. Various types of bench presses or chest presses also work many of the same muscles, but there are plenty of ways to continue challenging yourself with pushups (see options below).
Beginner Advanced

As a runner, you are only as strong as your core is—your abs, obliques, lower back and hips. These muscles, which wrap around your torso like a corset, help you balance and support every step you take. Strong abdominals and lower back muscles also help you run with better posture, which aids in breathing. The plank is one of the best ways you can train every muscle in your core. Here are a few variations to try.

Beginner Advanced

Now you know the key muscles and movements that runners should include in their strength training programs. When you're short on time, try just one exercise from each of the categories above, or include a few from each section into your current strength-training workouts. To take the guesswork out of your workouts, try one of the full-body strength training plans listed below.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • I'm out of the running game for the next few months, but I stopped by to remind myself of the exercises I should be doing to make it easier to get back into it again. Yay, runners! - 6/18/2014 1:20:58 PM
  • Thank you for all the info. It has been very helpful - 10/27/2013 10:02:04 AM
  • I stop doing alot of these. Have to get back into them. I saved it so I can do some that I wasn't doing. - 9/29/2013 9:43:19 AM
  • Good moves to do throughout the day. Thanks - 7/23/2013 7:35:23 AM
  • I'm not a runner, but I used this article for a workout today by doing some of each one. Ooh, I can tell I haven't been consistently working out! - 7/21/2013 4:06:20 PM
  • Oh, I also wanted to say that your cardio doesn't have to come from 'running', you can use these exercises to strengthen your stamina for WALKING too, which everyone can do!
    I started walking my dog last year, and she was a younger pup, so before I knew it, I was running with her and though I've 'hated' running for 35 years, I love it now! a brisk walk is still a really good workout! - 3/6/2013 5:58:24 PM
  • Thank you for letting us know how to save articles! I never even looked at that tool on the far left side of the screen! - 3/6/2013 5:55:57 PM
  • Hey don't forget to do chest and shoulders! Keeping good posture is a must, especially when running. Every step during a run pulls down on your upper body. - 12/9/2012 9:44:42 PM
  • Very interesting. I had not thought about this before. - 12/9/2012 1:26:17 PM
  • We don't all run. I am a swimmer. What is the best strength training program for me? - 9/27/2012 6:40:27 PM
  • 2 sets of 15 planks? That seems like overkill, as does 2 sets of 15 supermans. I think that must be a mistake. Those set/reps make sense for squats, lunges and crunches, but not the other 2 exercises. - 9/27/2012 12:03:20 PM
  • I thought all the exercises were great suggestions. And they're good for everyone. But it seems like all the articles lately are on running. There are a lot of us that can't run or don't enjoy it. It's almost like you're saying "if you can't/don't run, what are you doing here?". - 9/27/2012 10:36:02 AM
    I just Saved this article. Love all the information! - 9/27/2012 9:39:14 AM
    On the left side of the page, you can 'save' the article (the button with the heart). Then it will show up in your SparkFavorites. - 9/26/2012 9:39:44 AM
  • Yes, how can we mark it for easy reference? - 9/25/2012 9:10:32 AM
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