Skip to content

5 Strength Moves For Runners

5 Strength Moves For Runners Amy Woods Fitness Run Tri Bike Magazine

One of the best ways for runners to get faster, stronger, and become more resilient is to strength train.  As we know, it’s hard to fit strength training into an already busy training schedule. Add in family and work commitments, and strength training often moves to the bottom of the list.

With this in mind, here are 5 strength moves for runners. These exercises emphasize the posterior chain, your core, and your balance.  If you are new to weight training, start with body weight (or light dumbbells) and more repetitions (12-15).  Then, as you become stronger and more comfortable with the movements, you can add heavier weight and lower the reps (8-10).

Remember that form is most important, so watch the video to see how it’s done!

5 Strength Moves For Runners

Front Squat

Hold two dumbbells in front of your chest, with the ends resting on your shoulders and your triceps parallel to the ground (so elbows raised to shoulder height). Brace core and squat, keeping weight in the heels and making sure you squat back, not over your toes. This places more force on the upper body while still working the glutes, hamstrings, and hips. (quads, glutes, core, hip flexors)

Side Plank

Lie on one side, legs extended and stacked from hip to feet. Bottom arm is bent at 90 degrees with the weight on the forearm.  Raise your bottom hip off the ground and hold (core, shoulders, hip flexors, glutes)

One Legged Deadlift

Stand with your feet slightly apart and a slight bend in the knee. Without changing the bend in your knee, hinge at your hips, and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Keep your hips square. Think about bracing your core and working from the glute and hamstring.  Then, slowly raise back up.  You can use a weight or not. (hamstrings, glutes, core)

Bulgarian Split Squat

Stand 1-2 feet in front of a chair or bench. Place one foot on the raised bench or step behind you, so your back leg is elevated. This exercise is supposed to target your front leg; the back leg is just there to support you. Bend your front knee, allowing your back knee and ankle to bend as you move through the downward phase of the exercise without taking on the load with your back leg.  Hinge slightly forward at the hips. Remember, the weight is primarily on the front leg, especially the quad.  Slowly lower and then raise up.  Do these without weights first and then add a set of dumbbells as you become more comfortable with the exercise. (hamstrings, quads, glutes)


Using two dumbbells,  bend forward at the hips, and keep the back straight with a slight bend in the knees. Move dumbbells out at a 45 degree angle from the body and then pull straight back, elbows toward the back wall (like a two arm lawnmower pull).  Then move them back out (again, at an angle, not straight down). (upper back, core)

Amy Woods Fitness Ironman Physical Therapist

Amy Woods is a triathlete, Level 1 USAT Coach and fitness instructor who lives in Cape Cod, MA, with her husband, two teenage children, a poodle, and an old gray cat. She was a classroom teacher for 22 years and recently left the classroom to focus more on her family and her passion for all things fitness.

Amy teaches indoor cycling and strength classes in-person and virtually. She recently launched her own app (Amy Woods Fitness) and an on-demand video workout library, featuring everything from cycling and strength to yoga and barre. It’s a one-stop shop for fitness and includes other local instructors.

When Amy is not in the studio, you can probably find her swimming, biking, and running.  She is an Ironman All World Athlete, a Boston Marathon qualifier, and part of the I Race Like A Girl team and her local Cape Cod Triathlon team.