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Strength Training Workouts To Try (With And Without Weights)

Winter Weight

No, this is not about gaining weight–it’s about lifting it! Start making the most of being inside by doing running-specific strength training.

Strength training is a proven method to improve your running: it strengthens muscles and joints, which in turn results in better race times and a lower risk of injury. If you have not added strength training to your weekly workouts, or if you have perhaps skipped them for the better part of 2017, now is the time to start back up with these workouts.

Bodyweight Workout

Start by doing one set of 12 to 15 repetitions (unless otherwise noted) and then build up your sets as you build your strength.

Lateral Lunge

Take a big step to the side with your right foot, bending the leg at the knee and sitting back into your heels while keeping your left leg straight. Push off with your right foot, brining both legs together before repeating the move.

Anterior Lunge

Step forward into a lunge on your right side. Next, bring both legs back together before switching to repeat the exercise with your left leg.

Posterior Lunge

Step backward into a lunge on your right side, then bring both legs back together before switching to the left side.

Lateral Lunge With Reach

Perform a lateral lunge, reaching your arms forward as you step into the lunge.

Anterior Lunge With Reach

Perform an anterior lunge, reaching your arms forward as you step into the lunge.

Posterior Lunge With Reach

Perform a posterior lunge, reaching your arms forward as you step into the lunge.

Upper Body Step Up

Find a stair or stable box on which you can put your upper body weight. Get into a high plank/push-up position in front of the stair or box. Lift one arm at a time and place your hand on top of the stair or box, then bring it back down before doing the same on the other side. Repeat.

Prone Plank

Get into a low plank with forearms on the floor and your lower body held up on your toes. Hold with perfect form for one minute. Repeat.

Side Plank

Lying sideways on the floor, align your ankles, legs, hips and shoulders as you press up onto your forearm in a side plank position. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch to your other side and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat.

Weighted Workout

Medium Weight Lateral Lunge To Stability

Perform a lateral lunge (see description above) while holding dumbbells. As you push off your right foot to return to position, bring your knee up and hold before placing it down and moving to the other side.

Medium Weight Posterior Lunge To Stability

Perform the move as described above–but this time, lunge backward instead of to the side.

Medium Weight Single Leg Squat And Reach To Three Targets

Set up three “targets” using anything from pieces of paper to cones, positioning them in a semi-circle in front of you (one to your right, one to your left and one directly in front of you). Grasp a light weight in your right hand as you stand on your left leg and reach toward each target before putting your foot back down and starting again. Repeat 15 times, then switch feet.

Medium Weight Single Leg Single Arm Overhead Press

Standing on one leg, bend the other at the knee as you push a light weight over your head.

Medium Weight Single Arm Split Stance Cable Row

Kneeling in front of a cable machine, pull downward and back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Be sure you are far enough away from the cable to make this an effort for at least 10 repetitions.

Medium Weight Step Up

Find a stair or box to step onto while holding a medium weight. Step up with one side first and then switch. Repeat 15 times per leg.

Medium Weight Single Arm Cable Chest Press

If you don’t have access to a cable machine, you can press dumbbells and even use a stability ball instead of a bench for an added challenge.

Seated Russian Twist

Sitting on the floor with one or both feet lifted, use a dumbbell or medicine ball to twist across your body, almost touching the floor as you rotate across your abdomen. Perform the twist 30 times.

Leg Lowers

While lying supine, raise both feet straight up with straight legs. Slowly lower one at a time (or both at the same time, depending on preference) until they almost touch the floor. Lift your foot or feet back to the starting position and repeat.

The key for runners is to use strength training to work your body in all three planes of motion and build a solid core for stability and balance. Try some of these moves just once per week for 15 to 20 minutes and you will be on your way to better, stronger and longer running through the winter and beyond.

Related:

The Dos And Don’ts Of Strength Training For Runners

Strength Training Soreness And How To Prevent It

5 Strength Training Moves That Won’t Stress Your Joints

Allie Burdick

Allie Burdick

Allie is a freelance writer, athlete and mom, but not in that order. Her work has appeared in Runner's World, Triathlon Magazine and ESPNW. On her blog, VITA Train for Life, she chronicles her life as a runner/triathlete and hopes her successes and failures help to motivate and inspire others, even the over-40 crowd she somehow found herself in! The rest of her time is spent raising her twin boys with her husband in the Northeast where they live a big life! See it all on Twitter and Instagram.