7 Body weight Exercises For Runners To Keep Damage-Free

Running is an excellent sport. It’s good for your heart, for maintaining weight, for energy, and even for living longer. But it will also get you injured — if all you do is run. Strong muscles are important, giving you the strength to propel yourself forward with each step and to protect your joints in the meantime. Which muscle? Your core, one of them. “A strong core is the foundation for safe, efficient and comfortable movement while running,” says Christine Luff, certified personal trainer, running coach, and owner/founder Run for Good. “A solid core also helps stabilize your spine as you run, which can help prevent a wide variety of injuries, from low back pain to knee problems to leg problems.” What’s more, a strong core increases running efficiency, says Luff, which helps your overall running performance.

But it’s not just about your core. “A lot of runners have weak glutes and a lot of the strength comes from that area, so it’s really beneficial to develop strength there,” adds Luff. Your quads and hamstrings are key (obviously), as are your chest and arm muscles — often referred to as your second set of legs at mile 20 in a marathon. (The theory: Powerful pumping of your upper limbs back and forth sends physiological cues to your lower body to follow suit.)

With that in mind, we’ve created an ideal bodyweight workout for runners. It’s heavy on the core, with a few added exercises to build overall strength in the areas runners rely most on. “A 15-20 minute routine two to three times a week is enough to reap the benefits,” says Luff, who recommends doing this exercise on non-running days to get the most out of the workout.

Movement: Front And Side Board

Why you want it: “Plans hit a lot of muscles at once, so it’s a very effective and efficient exercise,” says Luff.

Method: Start in an extended push-up position, then lower to your elbows. Engage your core and keep your body in a long, straight line (not sagging or climbing the hips). Hold for 60 seconds. Transfer your weight to your right leg and elbow and rotate your left hip and shoulder toward the ceiling. Let your left arm drop off the floor and lift it up into the sky. Stack your left foot on top of your right foot so that your entire body is facing forward in a long line. Hold 60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

How many: One board in each position.

Movement: Lunge and Lift

Why you want it: Work your glutes, quads, and hammies in one motion that hits all the muscles you need to land, raise your legs forward, extend your gait, and push as you run.

Method: Stand straight with feet together. Take a big step forward with your right foot, bend your right knee and let your back (left) knee almost touch the ground. Keeping your weight forward, push your left toes, straighten your right knee, and allow your left leg to swing forward until your left thigh is parallel to the floor, left knee bent. Pause for a moment, then take a big step forward with your left foot and repeat.

How many: 10 lunges on each side x 2 sets

Movement: Hip Bridge

Why you want it: This move works your glutes and hamstrings along with your core.

Method: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms at your sides. Tighten your glutes and lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your neck. Hold for 20 seconds, then relax. “There are variations too—you can stick one leg out and hold it, for example,” says Luff.

How many: 8 x 20 seconds

Movement: Run Sit-Ups

Why you want it: This movement, which engages the core and psoas muscles, mimics the movement you use to lift your leg while running.

Method: Lie on your back, arms by your sides, legs straightened. Sit down and as you do so, bend your right knee and left elbow, lifting them toward your midline. Align them as you like back down. Repeat on the opposite side.

How many: 20 reps x 2 sets

Movement: Wood Piece Stand

Why you want it: “Some people really hate floor work for the belly,” says Luff. “It’s good that it gets a lot of core muscles involved.” Bonus: Your pecs, biceps and triceps come into action too.

Method: Grab a water jug ​​or small heavy box with both hands. Stand with feet hip-width apart and stagger, left foot slightly in front of right. Keeping your arms straight, rotate your torso and hips to the left and raise your arms over your left shoulder. Let your right foot rotate to the left. Next, rotate your torso and hips to the right, lowering your arms outside your right hip (bend your right knee for stability if necessary). Repeat.

How many: 15 to the left; 15 to the right x 2 sets

Movement: Single Leg Alphabet

Why you want it: This exercise works your core, improves your balance, and improves your ankle dexterity and mobility — key to running but often overlooked.

Method: Stand straight with your feet together, arms by your sides. Keeping your legs straight, lift your left leg a few inches off the floor in front of your body. Engage your core to maintain balance as you begin tracing the letters of the alphabet in the air with your left foot. Work your way up from AZ, then switch legs and repeat with your right leg.

How many: One full alphabet on each side

Movement: Jug Swing

Why you want it: Adding resistance while pumping your arms builds the strength in the muscles you need to cross the finish line in style.

Method: Take a jug of water in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your elbows and begin to pump your arms back and forth as fast as you can for one minute, making sure you complete the forward and backward swings.

How many: Count how much you did in 60 seconds; rest 30 seconds. Repeat two more times, each time trying to make a few more swings in a 60 second fight.

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