Here we are, week two of my Friday Five series. This week I’m dishing on my five favorite exercises for runners. As the miles increase, so do our chances of injury. Runners spend a lot of time working in a single plane of motion, with repetitive movements. Have you ever browsed through some of the race day pictures of runners? Many times, myself included, we look hunched over with knees buckling in. The miles take a big toll on our bodies. So, here are five exercises that will help keep you running strong, including a link to descriptions and videos:
Romanian Deadlifts – This strength move will focus on the hamstrings, with the secondary muscle groups being the glutes and back. Runners tend to be very quad dominant so this is a great exercise to add!
Rope High Pulls – If you are a runner, or sit at a desk several hours a day, you might find yourself slouching forward. Long distance runners also tend to get very tense in their upper back and neck during long runs. This exercise helps to strengthen the back and pull the shoulders back, opening the chest. This exercise can also be performed standing.
Squats – Most everyone can benefit from including squats in their workouts. Squats can improve knee stability, increase leg power (hello hills!) and speed, and help reduce injuries. Aren’t these the goals of most runners?? There is such a great variety of squats that can be performed. Try mixing it up between the barbell back squat, goblet squat, front squat, and split squats.
Clamshells – This one is great for improving hip mobility and strength. Not only that, but they help foster healthier knees! Knee heath essentially starts in the hip joint. Too many runners experience some sort of knee pain. Adding exercises like clamshells to a comprehensive workout may help reduce the likelihood of injury.
Planks – Core strength is essential for runners, especially those conquering longer distances. Planks strengthen inner core muscles that support joints. They activate the core muscles including the transverse abdominals and iliopsoas, which stabilize the spine and hips. Planking can help prevent or reverse pelvic tilt as well, commonly found in runners. There are so many ways to change up the basic plank position. Try plank taps (alternating left and right foot out wide), plank jacks, alternating one leg raises, or plank up-downs (moving from forearm to palms).
There really are so many exercises that runners could benefit from including in their workout routines. Those listed above are my top picks if I am running short on time.
What are your favorites moves to include in your workouts? Have you tried any new exercises lately that you are loving?