Today Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwickPymble and Balmain, and Neutral Bay ask Georgia what her 5 favourite exercises for runners are.

Many recreational runners make the mistake of not including strength training in their weekly routine. Lack of strength, paired with a sudden increase in load (us runners tend to overdo it) often results in injury and being sidelined for an extensive period of time. It’s time to get smarter, become more informed, and stop making the same mistakes an introduce resistance training into your program. Not only will this reduce your risk of developing running related injuries, it will also improve your running economy and efficiency. Which means you’ll run faster!

Our Exercise Physiologist Georgia has been competing in athletics as a middle- distance runner at a national and international level runner for over 10 years. Here are her top 5 best exercises for runners of all levels.

  1. Squat

Not only is a squat an incredibly functional movement that we need to be able to perform in everyday life, it’s also an incredibly effective way to load and challenge our lower limbs. There are several variations of this exercise that will change the way you load your muscles. For example, a front squat is more quad dominant than a back squat. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, and variety in your program play an important role in promoting muscular adaptation.

  1. Deadlift

Like the squat, this is an incredibly functional movement. Deadlifts are a great way to load our posterior chain. Again, you can change your loading pattern and the focus of the exercise by choosing a variation of a deadlift or changing the tempo. For example, a Romanian Deadlift with an eccentric focus (lowering the weight slowly) will challenge the eccentric contraction of the hamstrings more.

  1. Calf raises

Our calves play an incredibly important role during the propulsion phase (when we push off the ground.) Weakness in our calf muscles can often lead to common running injures including shin splints, Achilles’ tendinopathy and calf strains. Calf raises can be performed in a variety of ways. It may be more appropriate for you to perform seated calf raises or an isometric calf raise (muscle is contracting but not producing movement) depending on your injury history. To start, you often can’t go wrong with a standing bilateral calf raise.

  1. Single leg exercises

Running is different from walking because when you compare both gaits, walking has a double support phase (where both feet are on the ground,) where running does not. This means we need to be good at generating and absorbing force in a single stance position. What’s the best way to do this? Single leg exercises! All the above exercises can be performed as a single leg variation, so make sure to include some of these in your program. Single Leg Deadlifts, Step Ups and Lunges are all great examples. Georgia’s favourite (and least favourite) is a Bulgarian Split Squat.

  1. Power exercises/ Plyometrics

Power training plays a crucial role in improving our neuromuscular control and our ability to generate force. To perform power exercises correctly, choose a lighter resistance and focus on pushing or pulling the weight as quickly as possible. You’ll need more rest between sets and complete fewer reps than if the goal of the exercise was strength. Dumbbell Cleans, Explosive Step Ups, Box Jumps and Single Leg Hops are all good examples of power and plyometric exercises specific to runners.

To see significant benefits in your overall strength, muscular endurance, and power, you’ll need to perform a progressive resistance training program at least two times a week. The above is good place to get started, but if you’re looking for a more specific gym program for running that is related directly to your goals, we can help!

Contact Longevity Exercise Physiology and Personal Training on 1300 964 002 to speak with one of our Exercise Physiologists today.

 Written by Georgia Wassall