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Hip Strengthening At-Home Glute & Hamstring Strength Workouts for Runners: Building Strength, Speed, and Injury Prevention

Have I told you this one before?

That I wasn't born a physical therapist?

Yup, I've scoured the internet just like you wondering what magical exercise would save me and prevent runner's knee this time.

I didn't understand how previously, I could go season after high school season without getting injured.

But as an adult runner with work and life responsibilities, how come I couldn't get past 4 miles without getting injured??

I spent HOURS researching what exactly do I need to do?

I looked to Runner's World.

Scrolled through blog posts.

Tried to using instagram posts and videos...

Nothing worked.

Obviously, going to PT school helped fix that problem.

But you don't (and shouldn't) have to do that.

How about I pull back the curtain and give you the strength exercises you've been looking for to build stronger hips...AT HOME?

Because your at-home workouts can still be incredibly effective, building stronger glutes and hamstrings which keep you running stronger and injury.

But to prevent these from just being another circuit you bookmark and never get back to.....

You're going to need these 3 Strength Training for Runners Tips to really reap the benefits.

Let's hop in!


It's true; you need strength exercises that look like running and help you build the exact strength you need for running. But eventually, those exercises you first started with become easy. Sure, you can just add more and do 100 walking lunges on each leg, but is that really practical? Are you really building more strength or do you just like to suffer?

2. The real challenge is RPE.

RPE is Rate of Perceived Exertion, a well researched and documented tool both in the strength training and rehab world that helps gauge how much weight you should use based on effort. Does the 20# dumbbell feel super easy? it get's a low RPE rating. Does it feel like you can barely eek out 8 reps? Then it get's a high RPE rating.

Here's a quick reference chart below:

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!

RPE is an objective way to measure your strength training and lifting effort which tells you if you're lifting heavy enough. Which leads to the last point...

3. You can know all the correct exercises but don't forget about progressive overload

It's like knowing you should do your speed workouts to help hit your goal pace, but only thinking about the workout instead of actually doing it.

And then getting upset when you don't get the results you want.

Same with strength.

You can KNOW all the "right" strength exercises, but unless you:

do them regularly

and apply progressive overload...

they're just nice fluffy unicorn and kittens thoughts.

Progressive overload is applying more weight and/or progressing the difficulty of the exercise.

example: air squats > weighted goblet squat > heels elevated and weighted goblet squat

Unless you make things harder, you don't grow and get better.



3 sets each // medium to heavy weights

Single Leg Elevated Bridge with Weighted Hip Thrust

  • 12 reps ea leg X heavy weight

Elongated Runner's Lunge Deficit Split Squat

  • 8 reps ea leg X medium-heavy weight

Deficit Split Squat into High Knee Step Up

  • 10 Reps X heavy weight


Single Leg Elevated Bridge with Weighted Hip Thrust

  • I know these sound complicated; I promise they're not

  • THE SECRET: we're combining both a bridge to target your hamstring with a hip thrust to target your glute. Work smarter; not harder.

  • All this is: a regular bridge, with one foot on a foot stool or a chair. If you've got a bench at home, let's use it! Place and hold your dumbbell over the hip joint of the leg planted on the bench, and do your bridge.

  • This exercise places you in a position that looks like running, but on your back. It also targets your glutes and hamstrings in a movement that replicates your stride. You're going to LOVE this one if you struggle with chronic hamstring issues.

Elongated Runner's Lunge Deficit Split Squat

  • Remember what I said about progressive overload?

  • TOP TIP: progressive overload doesn't always have to mean heavier weight. It usually does, but occasionally, you can make one exercise a whole lot spicier with ONE simple change. This one: get on those front TIP TOES!

  • If you leg shakes: this is ok! Most likely this a new position for you and your nervous system is just saying hello. (Your quads might be on fire, too) You might not need ANY weight at first either. This lunge doesn't have to be huge; tiny motions are ok. I would rather you go for quality than quantity.

  • Don't have a weight plate at home? Easy. Use a Yoga block, an exercise step or bottom of a flight a of stairs, or even an old textbook lol.

Deficit Split Squat into High Knee Step Up

  • This is the definition of an exercise that looks like running and helps you build the exact strength you need for running.

  • THE KEY: this exercise targets your ENTIRE STRIDE. How many exercises do that? Most runners are excellent at incorporating some type of step-up exercise. But the real magic happens when you remember to strength your hamstrings, glutes, and quads through their entire range of motion during your stride.

  • Strengthening your muscles in elongated positions is KEY. Because this is where most running injuries happen. Prevent that by training like a runner.


Your work has been laid out for you!

How to use this circuit:

If you like to follow the premise of "keep your hard days hard":

this is a strength circuit that will deliver.

Slap this on to the end of your hard running workout...but wait 4-6 hours so you can avoid the interference effect, meaning undoing all the hard work you're going to do because your muslces haven't had enough time to recover.

If you're just starting to regularly incorporate strength into your running:

Let this circuit count as your hard day one week.

Ease yourself into this and maybe run one less day.

Don't be afraid to experiment with weight but more importantly, keep coming back to this circuit to see and feel your progress over time.

If you've enjoyed this circuit and you want MORE LIKE IT especially to get you ready for your FALL RACES,....I really hope you're on my email list.

Because RACE READY, my 16 week strength training and coaching program for marathon runners is OPEN to my email list this WEEK!

5 spots only this season so I can give 5 runners my full attention.

So if you're on my email list, don't worry.

Go check that inbox ;) I promise those emails are there.

If you're can joint by grabbing a FREE strength guide for runners.

I can't wait to see YOU on the inside of RACE READY!

Dare to Train Differently,

Marie Whitt, PT, DPT //

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