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5 Effective, Minimal-Equipment, At Home Strength Training Exercises to Injury-Proof and Improve Your Running

No more of:

"I don't have an hour to do strength"
"I'm too busy to make time to DRIVE to the gym"
"I don't have space in my home"

Believe me: I feel you. I see you.

I've been in your running shoes.

I want to help.

I've heard so many runners ask:

"How do I fit strength training into my life in a way that WORKS FOR ME?

I need....

something 30mins or less

that I can do AT HOME

on my own time with my own equipment. I'll even go buy more dumbbells!"

I got you.

In fact, I want to show you something.

This week I want to give you a circuit from RACE READY,

my 16 week strength program for runners that's made for the runner who wants to run their best race yet.

But more importantly, the RACE READY Runner wants:

  • a strength program that works into their life, not consumes their life.

  • A strength program that's filled with very specific exercises made for runners, not generic body weight fluff that leaves you feeling disappointed that you paid for this.

  • A strength program that actually helps them run stronger and better and so much so, they begin to blow their own mind at how EASY their long runs become.

I know, pretty cool right?

I want to show you that all this, IS POSSIBLE.

And you get to try it out for yourself.

Let's go.


Corrective Circuit:

2-3 sets each // Medium weights

Runners Lunge with Overhead Press

  • 10 Reps ea side X medium weight

Lateral Bear Crawl

  • 5 yards each direction

Plank: Knee to Opposite Elbow *don't snooze on this! I've added a twist!

  • 20 Reps ea side

Strength Circuit:

3 sets each // HEAVY weights

Kettlebell or DB Goblet Squat

  • 5 reps X HEAVY weight @ RPE 8-9

Dumbbell Rearfoot Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat

  • 5 Reps ea side X HEAVY weight @ RPE 8-9


Corrective Circuit:

Runners Lunge with Overhead Press

  • I love this exercise. and you will to ;)

  • THE TRICK: runners NEED upper body strength. I'm not talking crazy body builder upper strength and bench pressing 200lbs. But without it, you're flopping around like a wet noodle by the time you get the finish line.

  • An overhead press done with "running legs" is a sneaky way to yes, train your upper body, but also teach your legs how to stay strong in the potentially most dangerous part of your stride. It also challanges your core to stay upright, tall and strong, something you're going to need to reach your next PR.

  • so don't snooze on upper body strength; make it look like running.

Lateral Bear Crawl

  • You all know (and probably dread) that I love bear crawls.

  • THE POINT: runners like to take short cuts (don't shoot the messenger!) but if there's way to get over an injury sooner, run faster quicker, run longer better, we're all ears. Think of bear crawls as your ultimate core strength "hack"

  • a bear crawl position works your upper body, core (duh), but also asks your glute + core + hamstrings to work TOGETHER in an unexpected way.

  • In sequencing, or putting together all the movements of this exercise, your glutes, hammies, and core have to communicate with each other. If you've ever had a hamstring strain, then this is for you.

  • The better your glutes, hamstrings, and core communicate and work together, the stronger they get together. Which sets you up for an injury-free training cycle. So while this exercise may look and feel silly, you're doing highly specialized, running-specific movement-prep work.

Plank: Knee to Opposite Elbow

  • Not all planks are booorring. Hear me out...

  • THE DIFFERENCE: this exercise quickly becomes an over-used snoozed fest. I know you've seen it 1 billion times on the internet. That's why I made a subtle change to it to not only torch your core in a position that replicates your most high speed stride, but also helps your hip mobility.

  • We all know: hip mobility is mega important for runners and most runners are missing some hip internal rotation (one of 2 rotations your hip joint performs).

  • This version of this plank encourages you to reach your knee to the furthest part of the opposite elbow, reaching so far you almost sit down on your bum cheek. Because of this extra reaching, you get a spicier core experience and you internally rotate on the straight leg. Don't believe me? watch the video and try for yourself ;)

Strength Circuit:

Goblet Squat AND Bulgarian Split Squat

  • These exercises are "basic" for a reason. Because I want you focused on RPE

  • RPE: means rate of perceived exertion. RPE is a well-studied and researched way of lifting (or exercising) according to effort. This is great for runners because it helps you pick a heavy enough weight based on the effort you can give that day. Because lets be honest, some days marathon training leaves you with heavy legs.

  • THE TRICK? you can't be afraid to go HEAVY. Use the chart below to help you out.

  • But what I want you to pay attention to: there are only 5 REPS each set! Which means: YOU HAVE TO GO ALL OUT. those 5 reps need to be hard, but not impossible, which means, you may need to get yourself some heavier weights.

RPE 5: warm up weights

RPE 6: you could do 4 more reps

RPE 7: you could do 3 more reps

RPE 8: you could do 2 more reps

RPE 9: you could do 1 more rep

RPE 10: you hit failure and cannot do another rep!


You got this.

I want to encourage you to genuinely CHALLENGE yourself.

Pick up the heavy weights for the strength circuit.

Think about it: I'm basically bribing you.

2 strength exercises.

T. W. O.

They're even probably ones you've done before, brushed them off because they were boring or too easy, and program-hopped to another strength circuit.

(I told you; I've been in your running shoes before).

Let me tell you: repetition may be boring, but it is key.

Mile repeats.

tempo repeats.

Long runs with repeating miles and miles...

The same applies to strength training.

But I promise you: if you lift HEAVY....these exercises will be anything but boring.

But you have to try it to believe it.

And if you found YOU LOVED this circuit..

You thrive on these quick, time efficient, effective, running specific strength circuits, then this is your sign that you're a RACE READY Runner.

  • When this blog post goes live, the 5 open spots for RACE READY will already be available to the super secret check your email.

  • If you're NOT on the super secret waitlist, there's still hope! Sign up for my regular email list and officially join the Running Fit Fam, because they get next dibs before the rest of the internet gets a stab at the remaining spots. G rab any of the running freebies on THIS PAGE, and you'll automatically get notified when RACE READY is open for you ;)

If NONE of that is your jam....

Still grab one of the strength-running freebies HERE.

And welcome to the running fit fam.

I'm so happy you're here :)

Dare to Train Differently,

Marie Whitt, PT, DPT //

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