6 Exercises to Boost Your Next Run

by Premier Personal Trainer Andrea Bradley

Are you ready to run faster and more efficiently? Then run straight to the weight room! Runners are often worried that lifting weights will slow them down or make them bulk up. Not true. Lifting weights will improve your speed and increase your VO2 max, meaning that you can run faster and longer all while using less oxygen. Lifting also prevents injuries by strengthening muscles and connective tissues. Sounds like a new PR and less down time dealing with injuries. The best time to start a new lifting routine is in the off season, but if you are currently lifting, keep it up. Here are a few of my favorite exercises to try out.

1. Goblet squats: targets core and legs

(A) Place feet hip-width apart, holding a medicine ball or dumbbell at chest height.
(B) With a flat back, hinge at the hips and knees and lower yourself like you’re sitting on an imaginary chair. Keeping the core engaged, squeeze the glutes and drive through the heels as you stand.

2. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL): targets core, posterior- chain, arms, and shoulders.

Balance on one leg while holding a weight in the opposite hand.
(A) Keeping the standing leg straight but not locked, begin to hinge forward with a flat back until the weight has reached mid-shin level. Squeeze your glutes, press your hips forward, and raise your torso back up to standing

(B1) Add a hammer curl (B2) and overhead press to challenge your balance.

3. Curtsy Lunges With a Medicine Ball: targets quads, glutes, and core

(A) With knees slightly bent, lift one leg up.
(B) Dip the corresponding hip down while reaching the lifted leg behind the posted leg. Keep your foot off the ground to challenge balance. Engage the glutes and core while pulling the knee back up and in front of your body. Try to keep the hips facing forward to avoid twisting at the knee.

4. Shoulder Tap Planks: targets core

(A) Place hands on the ground under your shoulders and walk your feet back until your body is parallel to the floor. Position feet slightly wider than your hips.
(B) Engage your core by drawing your navel towards your spine, then pick up one hand and tap your opposite shoulder. As you tap your shoulder, try to keep the hips from moving. Posting your feet further apart creates more stability; posting your feet closer together will be more challenging.

5. Lunge With a Twist: targets legs

(A) Standing with feet hip-width apart, take a step back far enough to be able to drop the back knee to a 90-degree angle. Focus on pressing through the heel of your front leg as it also bends to a 90-degree angle.
(B) Holding a medicine ball in both hands, twist over the front leg, then twist back to face forward. Return to the standing position by pushing off with the back leg while maintaining pressure through your front heel.

6. Pistol Squats: targets legs and core

(A) Lift one leg in front of your body. Keep the lifted knee straight but not locked, and hold your foot just above the ground.
(B) Hinge at the hips, bend the supporting knee, and lower yourself onto a bench or chair. Keep your back as straight as possible, and try not to let your shoulders round forward. Squeeze your glutes while pressing through your heel and lift yourself back up.

The height of your seat will change the difficulty of the exercise. If you want to impress everyone, don’t use anything and lower yourself all the way to the ground (but be safe)!

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