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Strength training can help build muscles that improve your performance as a runner.

Running can be a great way to stay fit. It can be a great hobby or a way to work out outside. However, if you want to improve your running performance, you may be looking for supplemental workouts to help you improve. Strength training is a popular form of exercise that has several benefits. It can also help improve your running performance by making you faster and increasing your endurance.

What is strength training?

Strength training is a type of exercise where you cause your muscles to contract against outside resistance. You can also call it resistance training for this reason. Contracting your muscles forces them to work harder and build muscle mass to counteract the resistance. This is how you get stronger. Strength training is a big part of a healthy lifestyle because it can have several benefits, including making other workouts easier. It can also have other benefits, like improving your balance.

There are several different ways to strength train. You can use weights to apply more resistance, or you can use your body weight. Many gyms have weight machines that can help apply resistance and guide your movements to ensure you perform the workouts correctly. If you have any questions about performing an exercise, you can always make an appointment with one of our trainers.

What are the benefits of running?

Running is a popular workout activity because it can be easy to pick up without equipment or training. Many people run outdoors or on a treadmill. There are races you can participate in to build community, but many people choose to run as a solitary fitness routine. Choosing your personal preferences is one of the many reasons running is a popular activity.

There are also several health benefits. One of the biggest is that it is excellent for your cardiovascular health. When you run, your heart rate rises. You can think of it like training the muscles in your heart. They get stronger as you work them. Additionally, running regularly can decrease your cholesterol and blood pressure, which puts less strain on your heart and allows oxygen to travel through your body more easily. The more you run, the more likely you will experience these benefits.

Five reasons you should strength train as a runner

If you are an experienced runner or if you are just starting, you may be interested in improving your running form or improving your running stamina. Incorporating strength training into your routine can help you build the muscles you use while running. Here are some additional ways that strength training could improve your performance as a runner:

1. Prevent injury

Strength training can help you prevent injuries that are common in runners. Running can be hard on your knees and hips because each time your foot hits the pavement, the impact creates tension in your joints. You can fortify your joints by strengthening your muscles to handle more impact without injury. Having a stronger body means that it can handle running better. If you are already injured, strength training can help you heal and strengthen the parts of your body that were impacted by your injury. You can work with one of our physical therapists to learn more about recovering from an injury.

2. Improve your form

Running form can have a significant impact on your running performance. Strength training can help you improve your form to run faster and prevent injury. Strength training can strengthen your core muscles, enabling you to keep your back upright and run straighter. Stronger leg muscles can give you a more extended range of motion, allowing you to pick your legs up quicker and keep them up for longer, lengthening your strides.

3. Increase bone density

Throughout a run, you consistently land on your feet, and the impact of several strides of your entire body weight hitting the pavement can cause damage to your joints. High bone density can help limit the injuries of this repeated impact. Luckily, strength training can help increase bone density. Your body reacts to stress on your bones by laying down more minerals that help make them stronger. This additional support in your bone density can ensure that you can continue running throughout your life.

4. More powerful strides

Strength training can help you improve the power of your strides. As your leg muscles become stronger, they can produce more power by lifting your legs higher and pushing off the ground with more power. A stronger stride can help you run faster by propelling your body with more power. If you want to run sprints or run races, having a more powerful stride can help you quickly cover more distance. However, as a distance runner, having more muscle in your legs and core can also help you run longer by increasing your endurance.

5. Improve overall health

Strength training has additional health benefits that can improve your overall quality of life, like reducing blood pressure and cholesterol. It can also help burn fat and increase your metabolism. These health benefits can improve your running performance because the healthier you are throughout your life, the longer you can continue running.

Five strength exercises to try

If you want to begin strength training, here are some strength exercises that you can improve your running performance:

1. Backward lunges

Backward lunges are great for building muscle in your thighs and glutes. These muscles can help relieve too much tension from your hamstring, preventing injury and ensuring that you maintain positive running form. Additionally, a lot of power comes from this part of your body, so strengthening these muscles can help you have a more powerful stride.

You can start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart to complete a backward lunge. From there, you can lift one leg, and place it behind your body, lowering your torso into a lunge while using your abs to keep your chest perpendicular to the ground. After a beat in this position, lift your back leg and return it to its original position shoulder width from your other leg. You can repeat this motion repeatedly on one side, then switch to the other leg to work out both legs equally.

2. Single arm cable rows

A single-arm cable row requires a cable machine if you can access one. If not, you can use a resistance band looped around a pole at chest height. A cable row requires you to engage your core muscles to pull. Your core muscles are essential to building your running performance because keeping your chest up is necessary to maintain proper form and ensure you get the breath you need.

To complete a cable row, take the handle of the machine or the end of the resistance band in one hand. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and staggard so that the leg in front is on the same side as the hand holding the end of the cable. Your arm should be extended and at chest height. From here, pull your elbow back, and be sure not to rotate your hips and keep your lower body still. Release the tension by straightening out your elbow again. After the desired number of reps on one side, you can switch arms.

3. Single leg deadlifts

Single-leg deadlifts make you practice stability and balance, essential for a runner constantly shifting their weight from foot to foot. It also helps build strength in your glute, making your strides more powerful.

To complete a single-leg deadlift, you can stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your feet flexed. Lift one leg off the ground, and bend that knee ninety degrees. Begin pushing the raised foot behind you as you bend your standing knee and hinge at your hips to lower your torso to the ground. Keep your core tight and your shoulders straight to keep your chest raised. Once your torso is perpendicular to the floor with your leg in the air, drive with the lifted leg back into your starting position of the raised leg at a 90-degree angle in front of you.

4. Step-ups

Step-ups help you build stability and increase your glute strength. This exercise can look easy, but the critical part of a step-up is to keep stability and control. Engage your core, and keep your chest up. Maintaining your form in this exercise can also help you maintain your form while running.

To complete your step-ups, you need a stool or a set of steps that you can step onto. The higher the step, the more difficult the exercise. Raise one foot, keeping your chest straight and your core engaged. Step onto the stool with one leg and lift your body onto that leg using your glute muscle. You can return to your starting position and repeat the exercise until you switch legs.

5. Planks

Your core is one of the most used muscle groups. Each exercise requires stability and balance to a certain extent, which is improved by a strong core. Planks are a great core workout and are frequently recommended to anyone looking to improve their fitness and athletic abilities. By adding planks to your exercise regimen, you can improve your running form and your ability to perform the other exercises on this list.

When you want to begin your plank, tighten your stomach and glute muscles to lift your body off the ground. Put your elbows and toes on the floor like you are lying down to plank. Keep your body as straight as possible from your toes to your neck. Hold the plank for as long as you can, or if you are doing reps, hold it for the same amount of time for each rep. Then, release your core muscles and return to the ground.

At Living Well Balanced, we offer a wide range of fitness and physical health services from caring and experienced professionals. We provide personal training that can focus on your personal fitness goals. We also offer exercise classes like boxing and rock climbing to help you try different types of training. You can make an appointment with one of our physical therapists to learn how they can benefit your treatment plan for injury recovery or prevention and chronic pain. If you have any questions, you can always give us a call at 212-579-2858 or send an email to info@livingwb.com. Check out our blog for more information about alternative therapies and our wellness products for practicing self-care at home.