Strength Training for Runners
to Improve Stamina and Performance

Strength training for runners is one of the best supplemental workout plans a runner can use to build extra stamina and stay injury free. 

By adding strength training exercises, you are working your entire body and improving your overall level of conditioning. Unfortunetly this can be an area that frequently gets overlooked.

Many runners tend to focus on their cardio and avoid the weight room as much as they can. Even a small amount of strength training can build extra power and endurance to help you master the grueling long runs. 

Strength Training For Runners

  • The exercises listed below will give you a comprehensive full body exercise plan. They are designed to promote balanced strength through the entire body, prevent injury, and to improve your personal performance.

  • Try and incorporate strength training into your training schedule 2-3 days a week. Make sure not to overdo it by starting with lighter weights that allow you to do 10-12 reps for each set.

  • It's important that you allow rest and recovery time from strength training. The "off" days for muscle recovery are just as important as the weight training days.


Leg Exercises

  • Forward Lunges: These will work your quad muscles. Do 2 sets of 6-12 reps with each leg.

  • Dumbbell Squats: These will work your quad, glutes, and hamstrings. Do 2 sets of 10-12 reps.

  • Deadlifts: The deadlifts do a real good job of stretching out and strengthening the hamstrings. Do 2 sets of 10-12 reps

  • Calf Raises: It is vital for the runner to keep the muscle and strength balance through the entire body to avoid chances of injury. Do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.


Core Exercises

With a stronger core, you can keep your body better balanced. The core area (torso) can stabilize an important link between your upper body and lower body.

In recent years, core strength training has become popular with an increasing number of serious athletes and exercise participants in every sport. 


  • Plank Exercises: These will work your full body; the main emphasis will be on your core. Do 3 sets of 30-60 seconds
  • Ab Crunches: The core is the central power area for the runner and the crunches are a top core exercise for injury prevention. Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps.
  • Hip Extensions: If you don't keep your hips open you are just waiting for an injury. Runners use the same muscle groups throughout the hips. The range of motion can become limited and the muscles can get really tight and prone to a running injury.

  • Kettlebell Swings: This swinging exercise can really get the heart pumping burning calories, stretch and add strength through the total body. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps with each arm.


side plank core exerciseKyle Demonstrating the Side Plank


Upper Body Exercises

Having a strong upper body will help you keep good posture while running. This will improve your breathing and make the running a little easier. 

Having stronger muscles will be especially helpful when you are running up inclines. These upper body exercises will target your arms, shoulders, and back.


  • Push-Ups: These will work all of the muscles in your upper body. Do 3 sets of 5-15 reps.
  • Bicep Curls: These will work your upper arm and forearm muscles. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

  • Bent Over Rows: These will primarily work your upper back muscles. There will also be some benefit for your core and legs. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps

  • Overhead Press: This shoulder press exercise will strengthen the large muscles across your back and provide you with extra power for running hills and swinging your arms. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.



Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

  • Strength and Fitness. Strength training is an excellent supplement for the runner that is already active and wants to take their fitness to a higher level.

  • Core Strength. Your core muscles include your upper hamstrings, hips, butt, and obliques. Runners should objectively work these areas in order to prevent running injuries and maintain good balance.

  • Heart Health. Research shows that strength training doesn't just build stronger muscles and bones, it is also recommended as a means to maintain good heart health.

  • Weight Maintenance. Strength training effectively spikes your metabolism higher to burn extra calories through the day. It also develops extra slimming muscle.

  • Bone Density. As we get older our bones become thinner and more brittle. It has been proven that strength training can increase your bone density and prevent osteoporosis.

  • Mood Improvement. Strength training has a positive effect on your muscles and joints which can improve your posture and body tone. This can create increased confidence and self-esteem. This form of training can also help you to age gracefully and maintain an energetic youthful attitude.


strength training for runners workout

Strength Training for Runners

Studies have shown that close to 50% of runners will be injured in any given year. Additional research shows that runners who participate in strength training programs boost their fitness levels and increase their running performance with a lesser chance of injury. 

Strength training can improve your overall body structure and make sure your body strength is balanced. By working all of your muscle groups, you create a more well-rounded body.


Other pages that might interest you:



I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum



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