Q&A: What Strength-Training Exercises Are Best for Runners?
Strength training plays a fundamental role in any running program. The research has shown that strength training can improve your running economy and reduce your ground contact time, helping you become a faster, more efficient runner. Additionally, strengthening your muscles will help protect and support your bones and joints, preventing common overuse injuries such as tendinitis and stress fractures.
Therefore, it is crucial that some form of resistance training be incorporated into a training schedule for runners. That being said, not all runners are accustomed to strength workouts, so it is important that each individual finds a “type” of strength program that they enjoy and that they want to partake in.
When proposing outside-the-box ideas for strength training for runners, aquatic exercise comes to mind. Aquatic therapy has become increasingly popular in the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries. The buoyancy of the water helps to control joint compressive forces, and the viscosity of the water increases resistance for a great workout, offering a safe and effective environment promoting normal movement patterns, strength building, and injury prevention.
Pilates and yoga are fantastic modes of targeting the core stabilizers, which are vital for running. Barre is a great alternative low-impact strengthening approach, whereby the general concept is high-repetition, low-resistance training for all muscle groups. It is much harder than it looks, so don’t knock it ‘til you try it!
Group fitness classes are great and motivational, but often the instructor-to-participant ratio is quite disproportionate. Focus on yourself and your own form, as opposed to keeping up with the pace of the class or the amount of resistance others are using.
Regardless of which type of strength program you choose, proper form is key and variety is paramount. Choose something you like, something that you will want to do, and something that will keep you strong!