Why strength train?
So you don’t have constant injuries. Injury prevention. Power so you can increase the speed and reach pace goals. Coordination so you run more efficiently. Most importantly….So you can do what you love. Running.
Because that is the main goal right? I know that my goal as a coach is to have my clients do the sport that they love and be able to perform in the way they want.
Women have a greater need to perform hip and glute strengthening exercises because we are predisposed to knee injuries.
What to do?
Here they are, my top 10 take about a minute between exercises:
1. Lateral Band walks. These are great because runners tend to only move forward and our bodies need a little movement going in a different direction every so often. Am I right? Use mini resistance bands and place right above your knees. Keep tension the entire time and take little steps laterally. I love the Resistance Bands from Pro-Tec Athletics. They are awesome! Doing 2 sets of 30 seconds of walking each direction is great a few times a week.
2. Glute Bridges. Because they are part of our power house. So why not strengthen that part? Use Resistance Bands to make more difficult. Place them above the knee, lie on your back, feet hip distance apart and raise your hips up as much as you can, at the top squeeze those glutes! Hold for a second while at the same time not letting the band lose any resistance. Great. Now lower slowly. Repeat. 2 sets 10-12 reps. Burn, Baby Burn.
3. Calf Raises. Hold on to something for balance if needed or not, either way just keep your balance. Standing hip distance apart now raise your heels, weight those toes and repeat. 2 sets 15 reps, try to lower slow and controlled.
4. Physioball glute curls. Okay these are one of my favorites! These are similar to the glute bridges except when you raise up you will also pull the physioball in while still keeping those hips up. Hamstrings yesss. They are the biceps of our legs and oh my, they also help with the speed when running. 3 sets 8-10 reps
5. Plank. I know everyone knows this one, but it is so good! Do you do it regularly? It’s just one you can do anywhere. Our trunks are what hold us up, so make them strong! Start in good push-up position and lower to your forearms with shoulders over your elbows. Make sure shoulders are back and down, lower back is tense and you are rigid. 2-3 sets 45-60 seconds.
6. Side plank. Well…this is the same as plank except different. You are in a similar position except on your side. Start on forearms, shift weight to one arm and one leg so you are stacked up. Make sure whichever side you start with that the hip towards the sky is raised and exaggerated. Like you are holding a side crunch. Great. 2-3 sets 20-30 seconds on each side.
7. Superman. This one is fun and you can pretend you are sky diving, but you are flat on the ground. So very far away from the sky. Lie on the ground face down. Raise arms and legs off the ground at the same time, quads too and hold for about 5-10 seconds while tension is both in quads, glutes and back, point those toes. Relax and repeat. 2-3 sets 60 seconds.
8. Split Squat. You will start in a 90-90 lunge position and start with body weight if you have never lifted. If you have, you are welcome to use weight, just be careful and make sure you keep good form. From lunge position you will stand up and really drive with the front foot making sure it is weighted evenly, and hips are both facing forward even as well. 2-3 sets of 8 reps on each leg resting 45-60 seconds between each set.
9. Box Step Ups. Start with a low box if you have never done these. You will step up and down, repeat, making sure your knee is right over your ankle the entire time not moving in. Then you will repeat with the other leg after you have finished one set on one leg. If you know this exercise, doing it with barbells or dumbbells is a great way to increase strength. 2 sets of 6 reps on each leg. As you get stronger you can add weight or increase the height of the box.
10. Pushups. Because why ignore your arms? Start with knee push-ups if you have never done them. This will increase total trunk strength and again you can do this even when you are traveling. Start on all fours, arms should only go to 90 degrees if you are new to this. Keep shoulders away from your ears, also back and down. Lower down. If this still feels too hard you can do it on a raised surface or table top!
Really being consistent is key. It’s your ticket to doing your sport without pain.
It is so hard to stay on top of everything, including everything else life can throw at you. So here are some that you can split up and do regularly. Most of all have fun! Don’t take it too seriously and make sure you treat yourself like an athlete!
- “Gender Differences in Lower Extremity Mechanics during Running.” Clinical Biomechanics, Elsevier, 28 Mar. 2003, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0268003303000251.