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I Run. Why do I need to strengthen, especially the legs?

by Dorothy Cohee1 Comment

As runners, we need to do more than just run. Without strength training, injuries are more likely to occur even when using good running form. Statistics vary but state anywhere from 20-80% of runners are injured annually1. Many of these are overuse injuries and often occur because runners are not listening to their bodies and continually doing prehab.

Many injuries can be prevented with about 20 minutes of strength training several days a week. Performing running specific strength exercises will increase your body’s ability to withstand the impact of running. This is especially important for injury-prone runners putting in a lot of miles. Strength training can also help improve overall performance and make you faster, by adding heavy resistance exercises.

Even better, who wouldn’t want to get faster while also trying to stay injury free?

Running will improve your aerobic engine, while strength work is key to interact the wear and tear of the repetitive movement, help you up hips, and cross the finish line.

1. Compound Movements/Multi-joint exercise

These target functional movement patterns that occur in daily life.

    • Deadlifts
    • Squats
    • Pull-ups
    • Chin-ups
    • Step ups (onto elevated platform)

2. Body Weight Exercises

These can be completed in your living room after your run. These exercises can help you recover while also building strength to prevent overuse injuries. These exercises include but are not limited to:

  • Lunges
  • Planks, side planks
  • pistol squats
  • push-ups
  • bird dogs
  • side lying leg raises

All of these exercises help strengthen your core, which includes your glutes, abdominals, and back muscles. The lack of hip and core strength is often how many injuries begin, especially those to the knee. A few other good exercises to include are band walks, clams, and hip extension.

Lifting may also help improve your overall health and body composition. The muscle and lean tissue will improve your metabolism and decrease your body fat.

Where to begin? Pick 3-5 exercises and complete about 3 sets of 8-15 repetitions. The next time pick 3-5 different exercises. By rotating the exercises, you will be targeting some different muscles and in different ways while keeping you from being bored of the same thing each time.

It may be best to keep strengthening to your easier days and not long run or full recovery days. Our bodies do need rest for recovery as well in order to rebuild and recharge for the next workout and stay injury free.

Here’s to happy, healthy running! Remember to schedule a free injury screen at any of our clinics if you begin to have any aches or pain before the injury becomes worse and chronic.

Click to Schedule a Free Injury Screen

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.


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1 Comment

  1. Barbara Eylers

    thanks, I am 81 yrs. old. I am losing t he muscles in my legs. I try every exercise I can to strengthen them. will try these.

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