Even the most experienced runners can overlook one integral part to their training: strength!
Incorporating regular strength training exercises into your fitness routine will not only prevent you from injuries, but it will help you be faster, stronger, and more efficient as a runner.
What have you got to lose?
Keeping this in mind, I wanted to create a workout that focuses on two key areas of the body to stay in tip-top running shape.
You don’t need any equipment, so you can complete this bodyweight core and legs workout in the comfort of your living room. If it’s nice out, take it outdoors!
All of these exercise target multiple areas with a focus on the core and/or legs. This would be a great workout to slide into your race training plan on a strength day, or even rotate all year long to keep your running legs on point!
• plank with leg lifts
Start by getting in a plank on your elbows. Make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders, and that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Tighten your core and squeeze your glutes to lift one leg off of the ground, hold for two seconds, then lower back down.
You can tap your toe before you bring it back up if you’d like. Do 10 lifts on one side, then switch legs and do 10 on the other. Aim to keep your back neutral (not rounded or arched) and your hips squared off to the floor throughout the duration of the exercise!
• floor bridges
Start by lying on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. They should be about hip-width apart. Arms should be resting by your sides with the palms facing the ceiling. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips and hold the position for about 2-3 seconds.
Stay on the heels of your feet and keep squeezing your glutes. Slowly lower your hips without touching the floor and repeat for 15 reps.
• single leg squats
Start with your feet hip-width apart and pointing forward. Begin with your back tall, right leg slightly bent, and hands on your hips. Be careful not to arch your lower back here!
With your core tight, keep your legs exactly where they are (left leg is hovering the floor) and lower into a squat position. Think about mimicking the movement of sitting in a chair. Your left leg stays bent throughout the set and your right leg bends and straightens. Make sure your knees are in line with your feet, and focus on keeping both your knees and feet neutral and pointed forward.
Complete 10 reps, then switch sides.
• heel raises
Start in a standing position with your legs zipped up together and body in a straight line. Tighten your core and tuck your seat (<- barre term!) to avoid arching your back. Slowly raise up to the balls of your feet, hold a second, then lower back down with control.
You can hold onto a chair for balance if you need to!
• side plank pulses
I love side planks and include them in the majority of the at-home workouts I put together. Side elbow planks are challenging as it is, and adding even a few inches of movement really takes this exercise to a new and challenging level!
Start in a side elbow plank on your left side. Keep your legs straight and feet stacked on top of one another. You can modify this version of this exercise by unstacking the feet and putting one in front of the other, or placing the bottom knee on the ground. Make sure your elbow is directly under your shoulder and keep your weight there.
Once you’re stable in the plank position, lower and lift your hips in a small movement. Complete 10 reps per side. To challenge yourself further in this exercise, you can also raise your top foot a couple of inches off of the bottom one.
• opposite arm and leg raises
(or, if you prefer: bird dogs)
This is one of my favorite bodyweight exercises to work the abs, lower back, booty, and thighs. It forces you to work on balance and stability by using opposite sides of the body.
Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Knees should be about hip width apart.
With a tight and tucked core, extend your left arm straight front and your right leg straight back. Aim to get both limbs completely straight, hold for about five seconds and then switch sides. Repeat for 10 reps per side.
You can modify or enhance the level of difficulty for this one by starting on the floor with your chest pressed against a mat, then gradually move up to all fours, and eventually move towards starting in a straight arm plank on your hands and toes.
• squat with side leg lifts
Start with your legs together in a squat position. Engage your glutes to slowly straighten up and lift your left leg to the side. Keep your leg inverted (parallel) and your foot flexed, hold for a second, then lower back down to your squat.
Keep your glute in line with your hip in the raised position, your feet pointed forward, and your knees between your second and third toe in the squat position! Complete 10 consecutive raises on each side.
• windshield wipers (metronomes)
Start by lying with your back your mat, arms straight out to the sides and legs perpendicular to the ground. Keeping your legs as straight as you can, slowly lower them down to the left, back to the center, down to the right, then back to the center. This is one rep.
Make sure to keep your shoulders on the mat while you rotate your legs from left to right. Engage those obliques and only rotate as far as you can go with control!
PUMA Ignite Running Shoes
I owe a huge shout out to PUMA for outfitting me from head to toe for this workout.
CoolCELL tank, 3/4 Tight, and PUMA IGNITE running shoe c/o PUMA
When I heard they were rolling out a new running shoe, I jumped at the chance to try it out. I’m so glad I did! The clothes were a great bonus, but the main focus of this shipment was the brand-new running shoe: the PUMA IGNITE. There has been a lot of hype around this shoe, and it starts with the packaging.
Check out the fancy box they came in!
I love the deep blue and peach color combo I received, but I also adore the other options available.
The PUMA IGNITE is made for maximum energy in for maximum energy out. They feel very flexible for a running shoe and also extremely light (8 oz. for a size 7)!
• full length IGNITED foam midsole PU blend that offers high rebound cushioning
• IGNITE foam that provides instant comfort where you need it
• ForEverFoam in the heel to disperse impact and provide extra durability
I have worn my IGNITE sneakers on a few runs through the neighborhood and trails, and I really enjoy the extra spring. They seem to run a little on the bigger side, so you might want to keep that in mind if you decide to try them out yourself. Overall, I am happy with their blend of running shoe meets stylish sneaker!
Thank you so much for the fashionable running performance gear, PUMA.
I hope you all enjoy the workout, and I invite you to give me a shout (and feedback) if you decide to give it a try!
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul
I love those shoes! They look so cool!
Thanks, me too! I love my colors but I’m also eyeing that neon teal and blue combo as well!
Awesome shoes. Also thanks for the tips! I desperately need to work on my strength.
I hope you like the workout if you decide to give it a go. I bet you are stronger than you think!
Lindsey @ Fit Life Pursuits
Love the shoes and the top!
Me too… although I have been wearing the capri tights more than anything!
Emma @ Life's A Runner
I legitimately cannot wait to try this out – it looks so fun! You introduced me to planks with leg lifts, and they are now one of my favourite exercises. 🙂
Love, love those!!! I really hope you enjoy this one 🙂
Gretchen | Gretchruns
Love this! I’ve been trying to focus on strength training more this year. I hope it makes a big difference come race season! Thanks for putting this together, and I absolutely love this outfit 🙂
You’re so welcome, I hope you like the workout! And best of luck with your training and races!
Kathy at Gmaps Pedometer
I’ve found that strength training helps me prevent injury. Looking forward to trying this out!
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