Lower Extremity Strength Exercises for Runners

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.

 

Glute bridge
Glute bridge

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.

 

Back Step-down

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.
Reverse Lunge

Balance Exercises for Runners

Balance Exercises for Runners

By: Shana Urban PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS

While running, we spend 0% of the time on two feet. Balance and single leg stability are extremely important for proper running form. Adding balance and single leg exercises to your workout will be very beneficial to improve your running.

Single Leg Knee Drive

  • Begin standing on one leg with the other raised and opposite arm in running position.
  • Straighten the bent leg and reach it behind you. Bend trunk slightly forward, bending the other knee slightly and bring the other arm forward.
  • Return to the starting position by driving the knee up and forward, then repeat.
  • Try to maintain balance by keeping the foot, knee, and hip aligned facing forward.
  • Repeat 10 times then switch sides.
  • Perform a total of 3 sets on each side.
Single Leg Knee Drive Start
Single Leg Knee Drive

Single Leg Hip Abduction with a Band

  • Resistance band can be placed around thighs, ankles, or feet.
  • Begin standing on one leg with the other leg hanging off a ledge, platform, or step.
  • Extend your non-standing leg slightly back so that your toes are in line with the heel of the other foot.
  • Slowly move your leg out to the side keeping your knee straight and your toes facing forward. Upper body should not lean.
  • Then return to the starting position while maintaining balance on one leg.
  • Repeat 10 times then switch sides. Perform a total of 3 sets on each side.
Single Leg Hip Abduction with a Band

Single Leg Balance on Pillow

  • Begin standing with knees unlocked on a firm pillow or folded up blanket.
  • Slowly lift one foot off the ground and maintain balance.
  • Make it more challenging by closing your eyes.
  • Attempt to maintain for at least 30 seconds then switch sides.
  • Repeat 5 times on each side. 
Single Leg Balance on Pillow
Scroll to Top