Eddie K

Eddie K

Team Mokimor

5 Strength Exercises for Runners (15 Minute Bodyweight Workout)

Let’s be honest, most runners aren’t that keen on strength training. If you are, good for you, but for a lot of people, it’s something that they would sooner skip or rush, than do properly. 

However, not strength training is a risky business. Resistance training helps to reduce injury by strengthening muscles and joints, as well as helping to improve running speed and efficiency. This is a series of 5 exercises that gives a simple, manageable and effective workout. They don’t take too long and can be broken up so you can fit them in around your working day if you want to. Breaks are also good for mental health!

Before you start make sure you are warmed up. 

#1 Bodyweight squats for stronger quads

Squats are great. They work your quadriceps, as well as your glutes and calves. They are simple and can be easily adapted to make them more difficult if needed. 

Key points to remember:

  • Engage your core (tense your abdominal muscles)
  • Don’t let your knees go over your toes
  • Go as low as feels comfortable, aiming to at least get your quads parallel with the floor

Aim for 10-12 reps, for more challenge try single-leg squats. 

How to do a bodyweight squat:

  • Stand with feet a shoulder-width apart, with your toes slightly turned out. 
  • Engage your core, look straight ahead and keep your back straight. 
  • Keeping your heels flat to the ground, slowly bend your knees and drop your hips (like you’re sitting in a chair). 
  • At the bottom of the movement, push back up, through your heel to start position.
Bodyweight squats

#2 Mountain climbers for a stable core

This move targets the abdominals, as well as your shoulders, hip flexors and upper leg muscles. 

Key points to remember:

  • Keep your core engaged
  • Keep your body flat (a straight line from shoulders to feet). 
  • Keep arms straight, with your shoulders directly over your hands. 

Aim for 30 reps (15 on each side). For more challenge speed up and complete more reps. 

How to do mountain climbers:

  • Start in a press-up position with your arms straight and your legs out behind you. 
  • Bend one knee up towards your chest, then bring it back down behind you. 
  • Switch leg and repeat. 
Mountain climbers

#3 Reverse lunge with leg lift

Lunges are a great exercise for runners, primarily working the quads as well as engaging a number of leg muscles including the glutes and hamstrings. The leg lift works the hip flexor and the abs. 

Key points to remember: 

  • Keep upper body straight and upright during movement. 
  • Engage the core
  • Keep front knee behind your toes

Aim for 12 reps on each side. For more challenge use light weights or kettlebell.  

How to do a reverse lunge with leg lift:

  • Start with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Step back with one leg while lowering your body until your back knee nearly touches the floor. 
  • Push up onto your front leg, driving through the floor, while bringing your other knee (previously your back leg) forward and up in front of your body. 
  • Repeat until reps completed. Then switch sides.
Reverse lunge with leg lift

#4 Single leg deadlift for strong hamstrings

This movement works the muscles behind you including the hamstrings and glutes. It is great for runners, increasing whole-body stability and making the hips move more efficiently. 

Key points to remember:

  • Engage core
  • Make the movement slow and concentrate on balance

Aim for 10-12 reps on each side. To add challenge use a light weight on the same side as the working leg. 

How to do a single leg deadlift: 

  • Stand up straight, with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift one leg off the ground.
  • Hinge at the hip to simultaneously bring your raised leg behind you, straightening the leg, while lowering your chest towards the ground. Keep your arms vertical, pointing to the ground. 
  • When your chest and lifted leg are near parallel to the floor, pause, then lift back up to the starting position using your glutes. 
Single leg deadlift

#5 Single leg Bridge for the glutes

This exercise strengthens and stabilises the glutes, which is vital and often forgotten about for runners, as well as working the hamstrings, hips and core. 

Things to remember:

  • Slow and steady movement.
  • Keep shoulders on the floor.
  • Engage core. 

Aim for 10-12 reps on each side. Make it easier by leaving both legs on the ground. Add a challenge by placing feet on a higher surface such as a box, step or medicine ball. 

How to do a single leg bridge:

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees, so your feet are flat on the floor. 
  • Stretch out one leg until it is straight (your knees and upper legs should still be next to each other). 
  • With the other leg, drive through the heel to push your hips up until your body is in a straight line from shoulders to toes. 
  • Pause then slowly lower your body back down and repeat. Then switch side.
Single leg bridge

Please note, this is written as a guide and anyone doing these exercises does so at their own risk.

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