8 Bodyweight Exercises Every Runner Must Do For a Stronger And Faster Run

by Dawn Chen
FITNESS  |  April 02, 2018
  • Stay strong and run better by doing these moves
    1 / 22 Stay strong and run better by doing these moves

    Many runners tend to neglect strength-training exercises, preferring instead to focus on just clocking longer distances and working on endurance. However, strength-training is equally important. “It helps to protect your joints and increase muscle awareness so that you’re activating the right muscle groups during your run,” says yogi, model and fitness enthusiast Stephanie Bovis. Here are the top eight moves that every runner should do in order to finish faster and stronger.

    Do as many reps of each move in good form for 30 seconds per side. Do this sequence at least three times a week for best results. Additionally, make sure you stretch and include neck, shoulder and ankle rotations to warm up and protect your joints before runs as well. Aim to do five rotations per side slowly every day.

    (Also Read: 9 Exercises That Burn More Calories Than Running)

    All photos: Tan Wei Te 

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  • Twisted lunge
    2 / 22 Twisted lunge

    Engages the glutes, quads and core while improving balance and stability. This helps to activate the muscles in the lower body before a run.

    [A] Step backwards into a lunge.

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  • Twisted lunge
    3 / 22 Twisted lunge

    [B] Twist upper body towards the direction of the front knee.

    [C] Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.

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  • High knees
    4 / 22 High knees

    Works the entire body. This is a great warm-up exercise for any runner to wake up the hip flexors and hip extensors, and train endurance in the quads. This exercise can help lengthen a runner’s stride as well.

    [A] Position your hands at a 90 degree angle from your body.

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  • High knees
    5 / 22 High knees

    [B] Lift legs one at a time so that your knees touch your palms. Repeat as fast as you can.

    (Also Read: 5 Common Running Injuries You Need to Watch Out For)

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  • Butt kicks
    6 / 22 Butt kicks

    Works the entire body. This warm-up exercise is especially good for the hamstrings.

    [A] Put your hands behind your butt.

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  • Butt kicks
    7 / 22 Butt kicks

    [B] Kick legs backwards one at a time to touch your palms. Repeat as fast as you can.

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  • Side lunges
    8 / 22 Side lunges

    Strengthens the adductors and abductors and helps with stability. This activates the muscles in the legs that are often neglected in traditional lower body exercises.

    [A] Start in a side lunge position.

    (Also Read: This is How Running Can Improve Your Complexion)

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  • Side lunges
    9 / 22 Side lunges

    [B] Repeatedly switch sides as fast as you can.

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  • Leg swings
    10 / 22 Leg swings

    A dynamic stretch and mobility exercise, leg swings are important for runners because it warms up the hip joints and can prevent future injury.

    [A] Kick leg forward and…

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  • Leg swings
    11 / 22 Leg swings

    [B] …back as high as you can in one movement. Swing arms as you do so to maintain balance.

    (Also Read: 6 Stretches You Must Do Before & After a Run)

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  • Leg swings
    12 / 22 Leg swings

    [C] Next, kick legs side to…

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  • Leg swings
    13 / 22 Leg swings

    [D] …side, and as high as you can.

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  • Push-up with T-rotation
    14 / 22 Push-up with T-rotation

    Strengthens the arms and core, and improves motor coordination skills and balance. This helps to activate the muscles in the upper body before a run.

    [A] Start in plank position.

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  • Push-up with T-rotation
    15 / 22 Push-up with T-rotation

    [B] Do a push-up.

    (Also Read: Do These 3 Exercise Moves to Master A Full Push-Up)

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  • Push-up with T-rotation
    16 / 22 Push-up with T-rotation

    [C] Transition into side plank. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.

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  • Dive bomber push-up
    17 / 22 Dive bomber push-up

    Strengthens the muscles in the upper body and activates the core. This is a great exercise for runners to warm up the upper body. Even doing as little as two or three reps will yield benefits.

    [A] Get into downward dog position.

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  • Dive bomber push-up
    18 / 22 Dive bomber push-up

    [B] Shift weight forwards and flow into upward dog without letting your body touch the floor.

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  • Dive bomber push-up
    19 / 22 Dive bomber push-up

    [C] Push back into downward dog, again without letting your body touch the floor.

    (Also Read: Why Yoga is Especially Good For Runners)

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  • Shifted squats
    20 / 22 Shifted squats

    Strengthens quads, hamstrings and glutes. Do this if you want to target and load weight on a specific leg.

    [A] Start in a squat position.

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  • Shifted squats
    21 / 22 Shifted squats

    [B] Shift body weight onto left leg so that your hips are above your ankles, and then stand.

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  • Shifted squats
    22 / 22 Shifted squats

    [C] Lower body into a squat again and shift weight back to centre. Repeat on the other side.

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