SHORT ANSWER: the ones you'll actually do.
BETTER, short answer: the ones that look like running.
We ALL have to start somewhere.
There's NO shame beginning with:
body weight lunges
If you're brand NEW to the combo of strength training and running: START HERE with these exercises, please!
BUT, if you're NOT brand new to this magical training duo and if you've been running + strength training for YEARS...
and you're STILL doing predominantly body weight, we need to have a chat. ASAP.
It's time you got MAJORLY UNCOMFORTABLE.
But in the best way possible ;)
Let's dive in.
(Play list linked below!)
Best Strength Exercises to Help Your Run Stronger
For the longest time, I did NOT strength training in addition to my running.
...and I paid a heavy price for it.
Not being able to run past 3-4 miles.
Every time I flirted with 5miles I'd get some sort of ache and pain that would set me back weeks and I'd lose all momentum.
Or if I did finally strength train, it was so haphazard...did it really count?
It wasn't until PT school, that I followed a plan.
And it was SO simple.
The kindest gym bro in our PT class took 2 of us runners over to the school gym because she and I begged him to show us the weight room and teach us...
And he did.
I still remember the exercises because I did the same 2 workouts OVER and OVER again for an entire year!
(if you want to know what they were, click the drown menus below)
Work out #1:
a squat variation (I switched between a back squat and a landmine squat, often doing both in one session)
weighted farmers lunges (i hated these)
weighted curtsey lunges (definitively hated these)
land mine row in a deadlift position
lat pull down
bench press (bar or dumbbells)
rear delt fly
pull up vs chin up (i did so many the first day I couldn't straighten my arm for 2 days)
cable pec fly
The lesson: Even when you're just getting started, let it be easy. And to run stronger, LOAD UP!
The SAME applies for your strength exercises that will inevitably help you run faster.
These exercises need to look like running to make you strong for running.
The problem I see a lot of runners have, is they don't know HOW to move on from body weight. They've gotten that far.
Maybe this is YOU: you've figure out HOW to get started; but progressing exercises is a whole other animal.
Top 10 Strength Exercises to Run Faster
So let me make it easy for you.
Let me give you my 2nd FREE STRENGTH PROGRAM for RUNNERS.
All the demo videos are in that playlist link above, but let me write out my top 10 strength exercises to fun faster and stronger down below so you can actually SEE how it flows and how it looks like running.
*Note: you don't do this entire program in one day! and by the way, these are definitely intermediate level exercises. But I know you're up the challenge.
High, explosive, fast STEP UPS
SPLIT SQUAT with chop/lift
SINGLE LEG BRIDGE with an Overhead Weighted Pull Over
Backwards bear crawl
Supine Sprinter Crunch
Sprinter Alternate Toe Touches (don't worry, check out the demo video)
Elongated runner's lunge Bicep curl (I'm telling you: the demo videos)
Elongated runner's lunge chop lift
Runner's push up
These exercises on their own look eclectic.
...and frankly like a hot mess.
But if we break it down...
Can you see how the first 3 are your basic leg exercises, but runner-fied?
And the middle 4 exercises are all core exercises that either look like running OR work on the sequencing (movement) of running?
And DON'T discount the last 3.
If you do them correctly like I demonstrate in the videos, you will be feeling these in your upper body (duh, but more importantly in your quads...and your bum. Promise.
Don't be afraid to go to the next level!
I've done the hard work for you, creating an entire workout program in that playlist.
All you've got to do is decide.
Are you ready to see what kind of amazing you can become?
It only takes one workout at a time and I can't wait to hear all about your journey.
Keep me updated in my DMs, email, or comment right here on this blog.
I'll always be cheering for you.
And until next time, running fit fam....
Dare to Train Differently,
Marie Whitt, PT, DPT //@dr.whitt.fit