Strength Training For Beginners

A basic strength workout for entry-level runners

Strength Training For Beginners

New to running? Don’t skimp on strength training – try these basic moves that every runner should know. Perform two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, twice weekly, to build up your strength, boost your stamina and reduce your risk of injury.

Crab walks

Strength Training For Beginners

Muscles used:
Bottom, outer thighs (glutes, abductors)
Why do it?
The muscles in your bottom and outer thighs help to keep your hips stable. They also improve your balance and running stride.
Technique:
• Stand with both feet on a resistance band
• Cross the resistance band in front of your legs and hold the edges securely in your hands
• Keep your back upright
• Take 10 steps to the right followed by 10 steps to the left
Watch points:
Try different resistance band levels to find the ideal resistance for your strength.

Squats

Strength Training For Beginners

Muscles used:
Front thigh, bottom (quadriceps, glutes)
Why do it?
Strong legs and glutes will help you to run faster and prevent injuries.
Technique:
• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
• Keep your back straight and keep your tummy muscles tight
• Bend your knees to perform a squat
• Straighten your legs
Watch points:
Don’t let the knees go further forwards than the toes.

Seated ABC calf raises

Strength Training For Beginners

Muscles used:
Calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus)
Why do it?
Weak calf muscles can lead to a variety of injuries not only in your calves but also in your knees, hips and lower back.
Technique:
• Sit on a chair with your toes pointing forward
• Lift your heels off the floor
• Slowly lower your heels back to the floor
• Complete one set
• Turn your toes in and complete set two
• Turn your toes out and complete set three
Watch points:
To increase the intensity, place a weight on each leg while doing your calf raises.

Bum kicks

Strength Training For Beginners

Muscles used:
Back thighs (hamstrings)
Why do it?
By increasing your explosive power, you can significantly improve your running speed. It will also help you to use less energy when you run.
Technique:
• Stand with your feet hip-width apart
• Kick your heels up towards your bottom
• Alternate as fast as possible between left and right
• Aim to get your heels to touch your bottom
Watch points:
If your heels can’t reach your bottom, try stretching your front thighs (quadriceps).

Mountain climber

Strength Training For Beginners

Muscles used:
Abdominal muscles, core, shoulders (rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, deltoids)
Why do it?
This is a good exercise to teach you how to use your stomach muscles while moving your legs.
Technique:
• Kneel on all fours on the floor
• Lift your knees off the floor and push your hips up
• Bring your right knee towards your right elbow until it touches
• Return your leg and repeat on the other side
Watch points:
Remember to breathe! Don’t do this exercise if you have high blood pressure.

Squat jumps

Strength Training For Beginners

Muscles used:
Front thighs, back thighs, bottom (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes)
Why do it?
This will improve your fitness levels.
Technique:
• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
• Keep your back straight and your tummy muscles held in tight
• Bend your knees to perform a squat
• Now jump up, swinging your arms above your head
• Upon landing, bend your knees and go straight into the next squat
Watch points:
Keep your knees soft when you land.

Sky diver

Strength Training For Beginners

Muscles used:
Back muscles (erector spinae)
Why do it?
To maintain good posture while you run, you need to have a strong back. This is important to help absorb the impact of each landing as you run.
Technique:
• Lie on your tummy on the floor
• Place your hands next to your shoulders on the floor
• Bend your knees, open your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart and keep your feet together
• Lift your head, arms and upper legs off the floor
• Slowly return to the floor
Watch points:
Ensure that you lift most of your upper thighs off the floor.

Weighted arm drive

Strength Training For Beginners

Muscles used:
Shoulders, upper arms, forearms (deltoids, biceps, triceps, forearm flexors and extensors)
Why do it?
A good arm drive will improve your running technique and speed.
Technique:
• Stand with one leg in front of the other holding a weight in each hand
• Keep a 90-degree angle in your elbows
• Swing one elbow backwards until the weight reaches the side of your body
• Swing the other arm forwards until the weight is level with your shoulder
• Alternate as quickly as possible
Watch points:
Ensure that you keep the same angle in your elbows throughout the movement.

Photos by: Neil Godwin/Future Studios


Women's Running

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