Running may be a form of cardio, but cardio training isn’t everything when it comes to being a top-notch runner. Strength training is an absolute must for runners looking to improve their game. Not only can strength training make you faster and more powerful, it can also help you avoid running injuries when training for your next big race.
If you’re looking to balance out your cardio, try these four strength-training moves for runners. Your work will be reflected in your form and times—guaranteed.
1. Hip bridge with extension on Swiss ball
This move works your core, hamstrings, and glutes. Lie on your back with your calves resting on a Swiss ball. Place your arms out to the side for stability. From this position, push your hips up toward the ceiling so that your body is in a straight line from toes to shoulders. Keeping your hips raised, roll the ball in toward your body, bending your knees as you go, until the bottoms of your feet are on the ball. Extend your legs back out, and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
Lie on your stomach with your feet together and your arms extended in front of you. Your elbows should be next to your ears. From here, engage your back and lift your arms and legs off the ground. Hold for a count, and then release back down. Repeat, working your lower back. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
3. Jumping Bulgarian lunge
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, rest your right leg behind you on a bench or step so that you're in an elevated lunge position. With your right leg on the platform, bend into a lunge so that your left leg is at a 90-degree angle. From here, explode up out of the lunge, jumping a couple inches off the ground. Land and lower back into a lunge, and repeat. Do 3 sets of 8 reps, then switch legs.
4. Leg windmills
Windmills will work both your core and thighs. Lie on your back with your legs together, extended up into the air. Keeping your shoulder blades on the floor, lower your legs to the left side as far as you can. Bring them back up to center, and then lower to the right side as far as possible. Bring them back up. That's one rep. Do 3 sets of 8 reps.
Want to get faster? Check out 6 Simple Ways To Run Faster!
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants’ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.