Lower Extremity Strength Exercises for Runners

By: Shana Urban PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS

Including strength training to your workouts can help make you a better runner. Getting stronger will also help prevent injuries. Strength exercises should be performed 3-4 days per week for maximum benefit.

Single Leg Bridge

  • Begin on your back, one knee bent, and the other leg extended with both legs aligned.
  • Tighten your abdominals and lift your hips off the floor, then lower down.
  • Repeat on the same side 10 times then switch legs. Repeat for a total of 3 sets on each side.
  • Make sure to keep your abdominals tight the whole time and do no use your lower back to lift.

Backward Step Down

  • Begin standing on top of a step.
  • Balance on one leg and lower the other leg behind you slowly.
  • Lightly touch your foot to the ground then return to the starting position and repeat.
  • Make sure to maintain your balance on the one leg during the exercises, keeping your knee facing forward.
  • Repeat on the same side 10 times then switch legs. Repeat for a total of 3 sets on each side.

Reverse Lunge

  • Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • While keeping your trunk upright, step back and lower your hips down toward the floor.
  • Return to the starting position then repeat on the other side.
  • Make sure to keep your abdominals tight and keep your knee and toes pointing forward. Never let your knee move forward beyond your toes.
  • Repeat 10 times on each leg. Perform 3 sets.