No-kit exercises for stronger legs
Power up your training runs with stronger legs and glutes – no gym required!
Every runner should do a bit of strength training. But how many of us have time to get to the gym or learn how to lift weights? The great news is there are plenty of legit strength training exercises you can do at home, with no equipment.
Why runners should strength train
Running is your workout of choice. We get that (and totally support it). But adding in some strength training, as well as stretching and mobility work, will hugely benefit your running. Strength training for the lower body means stronger, more powerful legs, hips, and glutes. Say hello to easier hill runs, faster pace, and more PBs!
5 big benefits of lower body strength training
Uphill power – stronger legs and glutes will translate in to better uphill running with less fatigue
More endurance – because muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance are different and need specific training
Sprint finishes – have more power and energy in your legs for a faster finish
Faster base pace – stronger legs will help you improve the pace at which you run all your training runs
Personal Bests – add some simple strength moves into your training and watch your race times tumble!
Equipment-free strength training
Air squats (body weight squats) – for stronger quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings, and glutes
Walking lunges – to build power in your legs and hips that translates well to running
Glute bridges (lie on your back with legs bent, push into the feet to raise your glutes high) – to strengthen your hips and lower back to reduce fatigue during running
Single leg split squats (like a lunge with your back foot up on a raised surface) – to focus strength in your quadriceps
Clam shells (lie on your side, legs bent and knees stacked, pivot top leg at the hip to open and close the knees) – great for strengthening the small muscles of the hips and glutes
Calf raises (easy to do on the bottom step) – for better muscular endurance in your calf muscles and associated tendons
How to add strength training to you week
How often should you do these simple strength training exercises? The idea is to support your running sessions, not add an extra job to your to-do list.
We suggest doing 2-3 10-minute sessions per week. This might be first thing in the morning, in a break if you work from home, whilst watching TV, or before bed. Try this for a circuit:
20 x air squats
12 x calf raises
16 x walking lunges (8 each side)
10 x split squats each side
8 x glute bridge with a 20 second hold on the 8th rep
10 x clam shells each side
Finish with a 30-60 second plank
Repeat the circuit 2-3 times.
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