Despite focusing on muscle endurance, runners also need to perform strength exercises. Constant running training strengthens the muscles of the legs and lungs’ capacity, but it has almost no effect on the other muscles of the body. Basic resistance training for 30 to 45 minutes once or twice a week will improve the general condition of the body and reduce the likelihood of fatigue injuries. Days off from running in the main training plan is the best time for strength training. So, let’s consider leg workout for runners.
Leg Workout for Runners – Is It Necessary?
That said many runners do not like strength training and prefer to do without them as long as possible (some of them may be afraid of sore legs after workout), but when it comes to more serious goals, they should include weight training in their workout program. Some people also believe that they should practice yoga that makes our body more flexible, and provides elasticity and power to ligaments. But our article is not about yoga, so let’s focus on resistance training.
Strength training also effectively train the muscles and gives athletes additional endurance, which is very important in running as we have written at the beginning of this article. In general, if you really want to develop your body, then develop harmoniously, which means that a lot of interesting training should be added to running. We don’t know of any runners who would reach a certain level and would stop only on one run / jogging. Probably it is not very interesting. People should fill their lives with other things, not mention harmonious body development.
It should be noted that some runners use illegal steroids to improve their athletic performance. For instance, there are speculations that a famous track and field athlete Carl Lewis has used steroids like Anavar, not mention a well-known steroid user Lance Armstrong, who has lost of his achievements due to the revealed information about his doping test showing he used HGH and testosterone in 1990s and 2000s.
Free Weight and No Weight Leg Workout for Runners
The power load for running varies depending on what distance the athlete is going to run: sprint, middle distances or long distances (marathon). Explosive leg workouts are basically the same, but differ in the number of repetitions and the weight used.
Sprints are characterized by training with a small number of repetitions, but with large weights. Approximately also train powerlifters. The task of the sprinter is to have the strongest legs possible, which will allow you to develop and maintain the highest possible speed. The sprinter does not need high-developed total endurance, since the maximum distance of running does not exceed 400 meters.
For the middle runners, who runs from 600 to 3-5 km, the task is to find a proper balance between endurance and strength. Therefore, the exercises are performed with smaller weights, but with a large number of repetitions.
For the runners, who run long distances, ranging from 5 km to the ultra-marathons, it is necessary that the legs have perfect endurance (but strength does not have big importance). Therefore, these athletes usually use small weights, and sometimes even the exercises are done only with their own weight (no weight leg workout). But the number of repetitions should be as high as possible.
To improve your results in running for medium and long distances, you need to know the basics of running, such as proper breathing, technique, warm-up, etc. But resistance training, especially leg and glute workout, also matters.
Leg and Butt Workout – List of Exercises
Here’s a list of basic strength exercises that runners may perform for leg and butt workout:
1. Deep Squats with or without a bar. The difference between this type of squats and ordinary squats that powerlifters do is that in the final phase of lifting the athlete needs to went up on his toes to strengthen the foot. Unlike weightlifting, in running, calf muscles and the muscles of the foot play a big role. Sprinters use the maximum possible weights, doing 5-10 repetitions, middle-distance and long-distance runners use less weight, but the number of repetitions is much greater. Sometimes squats are done without extra weights. In this case, the number of repetitions may exceed thousands of times per set!
2. One Legged Squat. This is one of the most popular exercises for running athletes. Holding to balance for any support, the athlete squats as deep as possible, and then stands on one leg. Sprinters always use additional weights, for example take a free hand dumbbell. Middle-distance and long-distance runners also use additional load, but with less weights, and do more repetitions. The principle of standing on the toes in the final phase of squat should be observed as in the case of conventional squats.
3. Barbell Lunges. Professional runners do as many reps as possible to work all the muscles of the legs.
4. Foot training. It’s when an athlete holding a heavy weight in his hands is standing on one leg and lifting himself up using the toe muscles. The leg should not bend in the knee. Exercise perfectly trains the calf muscles too.
5. Kettlebell Exercises. These exercises are popular among runners, as kettlebell movements help to develop power endurance, and also perfectly train the legs. By the way, famous singer Carrie Underwood also likes kettlebell exercises. Read more about Carrie Underwood leg workouts.
Additional Exercises for Runners
- One Legged Deadlift. Take a 5-10 kg dumbbell in the right arm, stand on the left leg, slightly bending it in the knee. Lower the dumbbell to the floor, without bending the arm. The right leg is pulled back. Keep your back straight. Keep your head straight, try to pull your right leg in line with your right shoulder. When the dumbbell drops almost to the floor, raise the arm to its original position, and lower the leg. Repeat ten times, change your leg.
- Pull-Ups. The idea of working out the top of the body in order to increase the running speed may seem strange, however, one should understand that acceleration begins precisely from the top of the body. Pulling-up builds the strength not only of the upper body, but also strengthens the abdominal muscles, which compensate for lower body turns during running.
- Barbell Press. According to practical experience, coaches know that barbell presses can make athletes faster. A recent survey of university trainers showed that about 85% of them used chest workouts in their athletes’ programs. In the NFL, this figure was 88% (you might be interested in steroids in the NFL). These exercises increase athletic power, that is, they teach the athlete to work out quickly. This was proved by one study among twenty players of the third division of university football players. One group of athletes performed powerlifting exercises, while another did weightlifting, such as pulls. It seemed that weightlifting exercises doubled the results in the 400-meter race.
Strength training should be done twice a week. This will provide the necessary muscle load, but there will not be a significant increase in muscle mass, which could affect your results. In order to avoid fatigue or overtraining, plan your routine as follows: strength training, then a day of rest or an easy running session.
Sports supplements for endurance (like BCAA) may be helpful for you.