Top 3 Strength Movements for Runners

Running is hard on your body. The continual, repetitive forces over long durations and large distances are certain to add up for anyone. Strength training should be mandatory if you plan on logging miles this summer. It’s the best way to fight off injuries, improve your technique, stability and control.

Here are 3 of our favorite strength movements for runners and endurance athletes alike.

  1. Squatting

I’ve written about this before. Squatting gets a bad reputation in the fitness world. The truth is, you need to know how to squat though, and a lot of people are taught poorly (or not at all).

When done correctly, a squat, no matter the variation, had endless benefits for endurance athletes. It teaches you to use and load your hips properly. Requiring you to get range of motion from your hips, while keeping your spine locked in and stabilized.

Since there are so many different variations and progressions/ scaling options – we can always find a variation that is appropriate for your skill level, strength and any restrictions you may have. Not only will these build up strength to go the distance and power up hills, taking your hips through a full range of motion will have you feeling looser and smoother with your running.


  1. Push ups


Push ups, one of the most poorly executed movements. They don’t get the credit they deserve! A push up is a technical exercise in which you must display a strong trunk (core), stable shoulders and control though a range of motion that we see in running. Your running position, elbows bent, hands near ribcage, is analogous to proper push up form.

The ability to express this strength by doing strict push ups, can save your shoulders during long runs and prevent you from getting what I call “runner’s shoulders,” with the scapula’s upwardly rotated and the shoulders internally rotated. Along with control of the shoulders, you must show control of your hips by using your core to prevent hips sagging – which will pull your shoulders out of position too.


  1. Deadlifting


Deadlifting is my go to with runners who need to improve the strength of their posterior chain. The glutes and hamstrings can get neglected when runners rely on their quads to propel them forward. Using these muscles in the back, will give you better power up hills, improve your top speed and help prevent any overuse injuries from putting too much stress on your quads and knees.

Much like the other two movements, deadlifting requires you to express a stiff trunk and stable spine. This teaches you about moving through your hips and maintaining stability though your spine while moving.


Now, this is certainly not an exhausted list of strength movements for runners. But, these exercises are great fundamental movements to master. They all have functional carryover to running because they make similar shapes to the shapes we see while running. They all take core and trunk position into account, which is imperative for carryover to the road or trail. Bracing yourself and your spine is overlooked and important to keep you running healthy and running far.



*Check back soon for our top 3 single leg movements for runners.


Launching in August – GAIN endurance – a weekly 90 minute drop in class focused on improving strength, mobility and conditioning. This program is an add on to your current training plan. You know you need to start strength training, come get some coaching.

Top 3 Strength Movements for Runners

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