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  • Writer's pictureAlexa

Strength Training for Runners

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

A no equipment strength workout for runners!

For all these exercises start with 8-10 reps and build to 12-15 reps, rest for 30 seconds and repeat twice more. So you do three sets of each exercise. For those where you hold the movement start at 30 seconds and build from there.

Focus on good form, if you are unable to keep to the form cues then stop. Do the exercises slowly and with control, this is more effective than a fast approach and will mean you are more likely to be doing them right!

If you can it’s useful to have a mirror nearby so you can check your form for the exercises.

Calf Raises

  • Rest a hand on a wall or stable surface for stability, lift one leg off the floor.

  • With the other leg lift your heel off the floor and full extend your ankle to straight; going up on your toes.

  • Slowly lower back down and repeat.


  • Take a long step forwards, making sure your feet remain hip width apart (not stepping closer to your centre line so you are wobbling on a tightrope!).

  • Drop your body downwards by bending both knees until you reach a 90 degree bend in both knees. The back knee should just be hovering off the floor.

  • Check you’ve stepped long enough; your front knee shouldn’t have moved forwards of your toes

  • Push off with the front foot to step back to your start position and step forwards with the other side

  • To progress this you can put your arms forwards and rotate away from the front leg at the bottom of each lunge; if your right leg is forwards rotate left. Make sure the front knee stays facing forwards

  • You could also use a backpack full of books, water bottles, cans etc to add weight once you’ve mastered the technique

  • The keys are to keep feet hip width apart and to keep the front knee pointing forwards - no wobbling in and out!


  • Start with feet slightly wider than hip width apart

  • Begin the movement by driving your bum backwards and downwards, ideally until it reaches level with your knees. Imagine you are trying to hover over a dirty loo you don’t want to sit on!

  • Slowly lift back up again

  • The knees should track in line with your toes and should not drive forwards of your toes as you drop down.

  • For each set take the feet slightly wider, keeping the toes pointing slightly outwards

  • If you struggle to drop the hips to knee height try putting two books (the same width) under your heels

  • You could also use a backpack full of books, water bottles, cans etc to add weight once you’ve mastered the technique


  • Lie on the floor on your front. Position your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor and hands together

  • You then lift your hips and move into a plank, the easier option is with the knees still on the floor. The more challenging option is rising up to be on your toes

  • With either option you want the muscles in the bum and tummy to be engaged (imagine pulling your tummy button back towards your spine) and hold the position steady for up to 30 seconds to start with

  • If this hurts in your lower back then stop. Aching shoulders, bum and tummy are fine!

  • Imagine your head and feet driving in opposite directions and make sure your bum is in a straight line with your shoulders, not lifting or dipping. A mirror is handy to check side on.

  • Rest for 30 seconds and repeat twice more

  • When you’ve mastered that you could try side plank!

Side leg lifts

  • Start lying on your side with your torso and top leg in a straight line. You can lie against a wall if it helps to keep you straight.

  • Bend the bottom leg and place the top hand on the floor for balance

  • Lift and lower the top leg, slowly and with control.

  • Make sure only the leg is moving, not the pelvis or anything else. Also make sure the leg is moving straight up and down, not forwards or backwards


  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground near your hips and knees bent. Shoulders and arms are relaxed on the floor

  • Switch on the glute muscles by squeezing the bum and lift your hips so that your knees, hips and shoulders are in a straight line. Slowly lower back down

  • Keep the knees and feet hip width apart, and the knees shouldn’t move side to side

  • The pelvis should keep level, not dipping to one side of wobbling side to side

  • To make this more difficult you can add weight on top of your hips; hold on to it though as it may slide towards your face when you lift your hips!

  • If you have a resistance band you can pop that around your knees

  • Or, once you’ve mastered these, you can start to move one foot further away so the leg that remains close does more work and gradually build up to doing them on one leg. The key here is to keep that pelvis perfectly level!

A video to accompany this blog post can be found here;

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