Runners, This Physical Therapist’s Leg and Butt Strength Workout Is Calling Your Name

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As runners, we know how important it is to log miles and improve our endurance, but you might be surprised to learn that strength workouts are just as crucial to keep you running strong. Building strength can help you get faster, ramp up your stamina, and avoid overuse injuries (the bane of a runner’s existence).

That’s why we’re presenting you with this glute and leg strength workout created specifically for runners by physical therapist, certified strength and conditioning coach, and RRCA-certified Level 1 and 2 running coach Lauren Wentz. You don’t need racks of dumbbells for for this routine; instead, we’ll be focusing on functional strength and preventing the “muscular imbalances and injuries that occur from the repetitive nature of running,” Wentz said. Because running is a “single-legged” activity (first one leg bears your weight and propels you forward, then the other), you’ll do exercises that work one leg at a time, helping you develop equal strength and balance in your lower body. These moves are meant to help you correct imbalances between your right and left sides as well as between opposing muscles (muscles that work in opposition to each other, like your quads and hamstrings). Altogether, this workout “can assist in improving running gait mechanics and prevent mobility issues,” Wentz explained.

So grab your water, and swap your running shoes for some resistance bands! Check out the full workout below to help you improve your functional strength and stay injury-free on your runs.

Butt and Leg Workout For Runners

Equipment needed: Resistance bands, small yoga block or ball, two medium-to-heavy dumbbells or one kettlebell, and an exercise ball. Modifications will be provided if you don’t have an exercise ball.

Directions: Start with the warmup and glute activation exercises below. Then begin the workout, completing all the sets for each exercise before continuing to the next move. (For example, do both sets of the single-leg bridge with ball squeeze, then do both sets of the banded split squat, and so on.) Take short breaks as needed. Finish the workout with the short cooldown below.

Warmup:

Exercise Sets and Reps
Squat to overhead reach 1 set of 10 reps
Good morning 1 set of 10 reps
Lunge with knee to chest 1 set of 10 reps

Glute activation exercises: put a looser looped resistance band around your ankles and tighter (higher resistance) band above your knees.

Exercise Sets and Reps
Standing clamshell 2 sets of 12 reps
Monster walk 2 sets of 10 reps
Side step 2 sets of 10 reps
Diagonal step tap 2 sets of 10 reps
Jab step 2 sets of 10 reps
Glute star 2 sets of 8 reps

Workout:

Exercise Sets and Reps
Single-leg bridge with adductor ball squeeze 2 sets of 8 reps on each leg
Banded split squat 2 sets of 10 reps on each leg
Lateral lunge 2 sets of 12 reps on each leg
Single-leg deadlift 2 sets of 8 reps on each leg
Exercise-ball hamstring curl 3 sets of 12 reps
Banded hip extension 2 sets of 8 reps on each leg
Goblet squat 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
Alternating elevated heel tap 2 sets of 5 reps on each leg
Slider reverse lunge 2 sets of 12 reps on each leg
Single-leg exercise-ball squat 2 sets of 6 reps on each leg
Eccentric heel raise 2 sets of 12 reps on each leg

Cooldown:

Exercise Sets and Reps
Half Pigeon pose 3 holds of 30 seconds on each leg
Lizard pose to half split 3 holds of 30 seconds on each leg
Runner’s gastrocnemius stretch 3 sets of 30 seconds on each leg
Half-kneeling hip flexor stretch 3 holds of 30 seconds on each leg

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