Runners often think that to run faster, you need to run more. However, strength training can help you run faster, longer, and prevent injuries.

A primary concern of strength training for runners is assuming muscles can add heavy mass which slows down their runs. This is not true. As a runner, you are weight training for strength, not to bulk up. People who are trying to bulk up eat a specific diet that helps them gain muscle. Unless you are on a high caloric diet, you will probably not build high muscle mass.

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that runners who add three days of resistance training exercises to their weekly program increase their leg strength and enhance their endurance.

The following exercises can be beneficial to your weight training routine as a runner. The exercises listed do not require weights.


Upper Body Exercises


A push-up is a total body movement that requires you to flex your body. The exercise primarily works your chest, triceps, and core.

How-To Perform a Push-Up

  1. Start in a plank position. Your wrist would be over shoulders. Engage your core.
  2. Lower your body by bending your elbow. Rise back into plank position. Drop your knees if you cannot hold the proper form.
  3. Repeat 3 sets of 12.



Tricep Dips

We rarely think of strengthening our arms for running but a strong upper body is essential to achieve great running form. Tricep dips are a compound movement that also strengthens your chest and shoulders. The exercise can help you maintain form that is essential to improve your runs.

How-To Perform a Tricep Dip

  1. Sit on the edge of a bench. Position your hands shoulder width apart.
  2. Slide your butt off the bench with your legs extended in front of you.
  3. Slowly bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Hold for 5 seconds. Lift back to starting position.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets of 12

tricep dips

Plank Jacks

Most of you have practiced jumping jacks, but have you ever combined a jumping jack and plank? Plank jacks work your arms and core with cardiovascular benefits of jumping jacks. Plank jacks are a great arm exercise for runners who do not feel complete without cardio in their workout routine.

How-To Perform a Plank Jack

  1. Start in plank position. Your shoulders should be over your wrists. Keep your abs engaged.
  2. Jump your legs into a wide “V” position. Jump back to starting position. You can do one foot at a time.
  3. Repeat for 3 sets of 12.

plank jacks

Core Exercises


A strong core can increase endurance during a long run. A plank tones the cores and strengthens the back muscles.

How-To Perform a Plank

  1. Start in plank position.
  2. Drop down to your forearms. Your hands should be spread out on the floor in front of you.
  3. Hold for one minute. Release to your knees. Repeat 3 times.



Russian Twist

A Russian twist fires your muscle fibers to create a toned waistline and stronger back. There are many variations of a Russian twist which includes adding a medicine ball, lifting your feet off the ground, or straightening your arms.

How-To Perform a Russian Twist

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your feet. Twist your torso to the right and switch sides. Hold a medicine ball to make the exercise more challenging.
  3. Repeat 12 times on each side. Do 3 sets.

russian twist

Lower Body Exercises


A running strength training routine would not be complete without leg exercises! Squats works the glutes, quads, hips, and hamstrings.

How-To Perform a Squat

  1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Roll your shoulders back and down.
  2. Bend your knees to lower your hips to 90 degrees. Hold for 5 seconds. Rise back to starting position.
  3. Repeat 3 sets of 12.



Front Lunges

Most of realize that we have a dominant arm but did you realize that you also have a dominant leg? Lunges even out muscle imbalances to prevent you from relying on one leg to propel your runs.

How-To Perform a Lunge

  1. Start with your feet hip width apart.
  2. Take a big step foot forward. Bend the front knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure your knee does not go beyond your ankle
  3. Press back to starting position.
  4. Repeat 12 on each side. Do 3 sets.



Single Leg Bridge Pulses

Single Leg Bridge Pulses isolates your glutes to maintain balance through your lower body.

How-To Perform a Single Leg Bridge Pulse

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  2. Stretch one leg directly above your body so your foot is flexing toward the sky.
  3. Raise your hips, keeping your leg stretched above you.
  4. Repeat 12 on each side. Do 3 sets.

one legged bridge