HomeFitness & ExerciseGet Stronger and Run Faster: The Best Strength Exercises for Runners

Get Stronger and Run Faster: The Best Strength Exercises for Runners


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Are you a dedicated runner looking to take your performance to the next level? Then it’s time to consider the benefits of incorporating strength exercises into your routine. Not only will this help you run faster and for longer, but it can also improve your overall fitness and prevent injuries. To get started, let’s dive into the best strength exercises for runners to help improve your performance and prevent injuries.

Running is an excellent activity for improving cardiovascular fitness, but strength exercises for runners can optimize running performance while lowering the risk of injury. One of the five components of physical fitness, strength exercises are essential to compete harder to set personal bests in time and distance. Strength exercises for runners are imperative to preventing injuries and improving fitness levels, speed, power, endurance, and running efficiency.

Strength exercises for runners should be specific to the movement patterns of running. Running is a unilateral activity, so strength workouts must focus on unilateral exercises with compound exercises mixed in to develop substantial power.

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Get Stronger and Run Faster: The Best Strength Exercises for Runners is an original (HerHealthWatch) article.

Best strength exercises for runners:

Upper body

Running is considered a lower-body activity, but resistance training for the upper body is necessary for running form, speed, and balance. Increasing strength, power, and muscle endurance can improve arm swing, which directly increases stride frequency. A quicker stride equals better times and further distance covered.  

Proper training of your upper body can also improve lung expansion to breathe in more oxygen. The more oxygen the body takes in, the more fuel the body has to go faster and further than it has gone before. The following exercises will create the proper balance between opposing muscle groups to improve running performance. It is important to mention that, like while running, proper form while exercising is critical to maximizing benefits.

  • Plank dumbbell row is a great total-body exercise targeting the shoulders, core, and back muscles to increase arm swing speed and improve running economy.
  • Alternating single-arm chest press specifically develops chest and shoulder strength rhythmically mirroring running mechanics.
  • Single-arm overhead press is a good unilateral exercise to develop shoulder strength necessary for arm swing improvements.
  • Alternating single-arm Y on a stability ball is a great way to develop trunk stability while strengthening the lower trapezius, providing trunk stability so the hips can generate maximum power.
  • Pull-ups are a bilateral compound movement that targets the latissimus dorsi, providing better stability for the pelvis, which gives the hips a stable base for an explosive stride.
A black lady pulling the rope.

Best strength exercises for runners:

Lower body

Lower body strength exercises for runners are indispensable to increase the explosiveness of lower body muscles. Lower body strength also improves running economy by increasing speed and distance, enabling you to push the body further and faster with each stride.

  • Squats are one of the best exercises for the body, working the core and every lower body muscle to develop explosive power.
  • Single-leg bridges are a great exercise for runners to develop strength and the hip extensors and core in order to help the body accelerate faster with each stride.
  • Reverse lunges improve running economy and form by activating the core and core muscles.
  • Single-leg deadlifts address core and hip extensor strength to promote explosiveness during push-off.
  • Step-ups with opposite leg drive build lower extremity strength in a way that mirrors the reciprocal arm-leg swing of running, increasing power and improving running form.

Best strength exercises for runners:


The core is one of the most neglected muscle groups, yet probably the most important. Core strength stabilizes the pelvis so the hips generate power, propelling the body further and faster. Greater stability of the trunk and pelvis also results in less loss of energy transfer, thereby improving running efficiency.

  • Three-part plank transitions the body from a side plank to a standard plank design to create a stable trunk which helps the body accelerate better with each stride.
  • Plank with knee to chest develops trunk stability and strengthens the hip flexors and extensors important for leg swing.
  • Bird dogs target the abdominal muscles while strengthening the hip flexors and lower trapezius to enhance arm and leg swing.
  • Dead bugs work the core muscles while the arms and legs are moving in an alternating pattern that mimics running mechanics.
Exercise for reducing the hip fat.

Natural performance enhancement:

Supplements to meet nutritional needs

Countless hours and miles of training require extra fuel to propel the body and help it repair from a vigorous workout. Carbohydrate loading may be important before a run, but protein is the most important macro-nutrient post-run or workout.

Protein is the building block of muscle. Research indicates that athletes need approximately 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight (approximately 0.7 grams per pound). To meet these increased needs, a complete protein supplement can be a difference maker.

Fuel the best strength exercises for runners with Frog Fuel supplements

Traditionally, athletes are loyal to whey protein since it is a convenient complete protein. However, Frog Fuel has introduced a collagen-based complete protein, Frog Fuel Power Protein, that offers additional benefits compared to whey and pea proteins. Collagen is naturally produced by the body and helps repair injured connective tissues, making Frog Fuel Power Protein a “lifestyle supplement to stay in the game.”

With its origins as a medical collagen company, Frog Fuel’s credibility is supported by third-party scientific evidence proving its product is best for repairing and strengthening connective tissues. Considering the repetitive nature of running, collagen protein may be the missing ingredient in improving performance and lowering the risk of injury. In addition, the nano-hydrolyzed production method Frog Fuel utilizes allows a convenient 1-ounce serving to be completely absorbed in less than 15 minutes.

Lady having protein supplements.

Best strength exercises for runners:

Final thoughts

Dedicated runners are always looking for a competitive edge. Strength exercises are the best way to not only gain that edge but also lower the risk of injury. Considering 30-75% of runners deal with an injury every year, strength exercises and proper nutrition may greatly benefit your training regimen so that you can keep healthy and active while the competition is busy rehabilitating from an injury. Two to three 20-minute strength sessions are all the body needs to run further and faster, but unlike running, you want to go slowly. Between 8 and 15 repetitions per set is optimal to train for strength and muscle endurance.

Foot injury.

For further information:

American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM’s Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual.

American Lung Association: Exercise and Lung Health.

University of Washington: Protein: how much do runner’s need?

Harvard Health: Where runners go wrong.

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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