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4 Must-Do Strength Training Exercises for Runners

Build Strength and Power, Decrease Injury Risk

-- By Nicole Nichols, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor
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Strength Training Workouts for Runners
Here are three workouts I created exclusively with runners in mind. These should offer plenty of variety while also helping you strengthen the muscles that are most important for runners. Try two sets of 12-15 repetitions for each exercise, and follow your workout of choice twice a week for best results. If you're new to strength training, start with the beginner's program and master the moves without added weights first, and gradually go up from there. And don't forget the warm up, cool down, and stretches!

Beginner Strength Training Workout for Runners
Intermediate Workout for Runners
Gym Workout for Runners


Strong muscles and joints are less prone to strains, pulls, and other damage, so consider strength training a part of your injury-prevention plan as much as a performance-enhancing one!

This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople Coach Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer.
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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

  • 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
  • PEACENCARROTS
    I just Saved this article. Love all the information! - 9/27/2012 9:39:14 AM
  • ANNABEL_LEE
    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
  • Very helpful article. Would like to have it ready for instant referral. Wish it was available to mark as "favorite." - 9/25/2012 7:34:33 AM
Popular Calories Burned Searches: SparkPeople Cardio Blast DVD: Jump Rope (Coach Nicole)  |  SparkPeople Cardio Blast DVD: Cardio Bootcamp (Coach Nicole)  |  Wii Fit exercise (beginner or low intensity)