Top 3 Exercises For Runners

Want to improve your running performance? Personal Trainer Steve Bonthrone talks about exercises for runners and how they can benefit you.

Exercises for Runners

We all want to become better runners. I suspect most of us would happily take a pill if we knew it would help us run faster, run for longer and be free of injuries eh? Sadly, there is no magic pill but what if there were exercises we could do to help us improve our running?

While one way of helping us become better runners is to run more or introduce speed or hill rep sessions, the improvements we can see from this can be marginal. It can also take a while before we start seeing the benefits.

A quicker way would be to start performing exercises to compliment our running. They will also reduce our risk of injury which may be occur as a result of increases in volume of running.

“Running is a skill and so we need to develop our ability to run in order to see an improvement in our performances”

Related: Overtraining Syndrome & Spotting Overtraining Symptoms

Strong Doesn’t Mean Better

When we look for exercises for runners to help us become stronger, we naturally look at exercises that will strengthen the muscles we use in running. While Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts and Calf Raises will strengthen our leg muscles, having stronger muscles won’t necessarily help us become better runners.

Instead, we should look at exercises that replicate the running movement so that we can have the muscles working better in the way we need them to.

With this in mind, here are my top 3 exercises for runners that have made the biggest difference to me and to the runners I work with:

1) Knee Drive

I always start with this one. This exercise ticks every box for runners. Improves stability at the ankles and hips, strengthens the glutes, hip flexors, core muscles and much more!

The key to this exercise is to begin by doing it in slow motion. The slower the more effective it will be. It will challenge your balance but that is good as the more you practice, the better your balance will be and the stronger your ankles, hips and core will become.

Do this very slowly until you lose balance then do other side. Practice every day.

Related: Yoga for Runners: Warm Up Exercise & Flexibility Training Tips

2) Back Rotations

Most of us spend our days sat working at computers or driving (or both). This reduces the mobility we have in our backs.

If our back is stiff, then we are likely to have less movement with our arms while we run. Being able to use our arms more can make us go faster without putting any more effort through our legs.

This is a simple exercise to do. I recommend using a broomstick as its light and you will get more movement than doing it without.

Do 15-20 repetitions each side, do one set every day and before a run.

Related: How to Improve Your Running Technique

3) Hopping

This is a powerful exercise that will improve the efficiency of your foot strike and also generate more power from the hips. It’s not important which part of your foot you strike the ground with but time spent on the ground is. The less time your foot is on the ground, the better.

This is also an advanced exercise. I would recommend mastering the knee drive before attempting this one so you get the best out of it.

Do this exercise as part of your warm up before a run.

Doing the first two exercises on a daily basis will help get the joints moving better generally and so you’ll feel a difference doing other things as well as when you run.

Happy running! 🙂

Related: Personal Trainer Zone: Q&A with Steve Bonthrone

About Steve Bonthrone

Top 3 Exercises for Runners | Steve Bonthrone | Linked FitnessSteve become a Personal Trainer in 2000 and 6 years later, he started his own business – Steve Bonthrone Fitness.

Steve firmly believes that everything is possible and helps his clients overcome limiting beliefs, improves their lives, and is totally inspired by them.

To find out more about Steve, check out his website

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