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Our running physio’s top 4 exercises for Runners


Are you new to running or have you been running for a while and find yourself unsure about which exercises would be best for your running journey? If this sounds familiar, then this article is for you!

Running is a fantastic way to improve aerobic fitness, clear your mind outdoors, and it’s cost-effective and easily accessible. However, in my experience, many runners tend to neglect the importance of strengthening their muscles while training to reach their goals.

Strength training offers numerous benefits, including injury prevention, increased power, improved agility, and enhanced muscle efficiency while running. Therefore, it’s crucial not to overlook it in your running training program.

You might be wondering, “Where do I start?” This is a common concern among beginners. Strength training can sometimes feel overwhelming with the vast array of exercises to choose from and the need to perfect proper technique. You might not feel comfortable in a gym or find the machines intimidating. These concerns are valid, but let’s find a way to reduce anxiety and improve physical performance safely and effectively.

Below, I’ve listed a variety of exercises that focus on running-specific strengthening. You don’t need to go to the gym if you feel uncomfortable, and if you’re short on time, you can easily integrate these exercises into your daily activities.

1. Calf Raises

calf raises










How to:

– Find a step or ledge with external support nearby to help with balance.
– Stand up straight and position your feet so that your heels are hanging off the edge of the step.
– Hold onto the external support for balance and lift yourself up onto the balls of your feet.
– Ensure your ankles are tracking over your big toes at the top position.
– Slowly lower your heels below the level of the step, feeling a mild stretch in the back of your calves.
– Count to 3 on your way down to maintain control.
– Repeat the exercise.


– 3 sets of 12 reps
– Complete 2-3 times a week

2. Bulgarian Split Lunge

bulgarian split lunge









How to:

– Find a step, chair, or ledge nearby and clear space in front of you. Have external support within reach for balance.
– Stand up straight and lift one leg to rest on the surface behind you.
– Ensure enough room between your feet to drop down between them without your knee traveling beyond your toes.
– Bend your front knee and drop your hips straight down between your feet while maintaining balance.
– Keep your lower back in a neutral position, chest up, and head lifted.
– Stop when your knee is at a right angle, with your weight evenly distributed and your knee directly above your ankle.
– Engage your front leg muscles to press into the ground and lift yourself back to the starting position.
– You should feel a stretch in the back leg and the muscles in your front leg working the most.


– 3 sets of 8 reps each side
– Complete 2-3 times a week

3. Glute Bridges

glute bridges









How to:

– Lie flat on your back, with your knees up and feet flat on the ground close to your hips.
– Tilt your pelvis back towards your head, flattening your lower back onto the ground and lifting your tailbone slightly.
– Engage your buttocks and lift your hips off the ground, maintaining a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
– Avoid arching your lower back at the top position; keep your pelvis tucked.
– Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground to reset.
– Repeat the exercise.


– 3 sets of 10 reps
– Complete 2-3 times a week

4. Clam

clam exercise











How to:

– Start by lying on your side with your knees tucked up so that your feet are in line with your hips.
– Ensure your hips and shoulders are stacked on top of each other.
– From this position, separate your knees while keeping your feet touching.
– Maintain stability in your hips, making sure there is no rotation occurring at the lower back.
– Hold the position for 3 seconds at the top, feeling the activation of the muscles on the side of your hip.
– Slowly lower your knees back to the starting position.
– If you find this exercise too easy, you can either hold the top position for a longer period or straighten your top leg while keeping your feet together.
– Remember to maintain proper technique throughout the exercise.


– 3 sets of 10 reps
– Complete 2-3 times a week

These exercises are designed to provide you with a starting point for your strength training. If you have any previous or current injuries, I recommend booking a consultation with a health professional for a full assessment and a management plan to guide you through a safe and comprehensive training program.

For more information on the benefits of strength training for runners, you can refer to the following source:

[1] Maclaren, D., & Morton, J. (2019). Strength & Health. Sports Medicine, 49(6), 835-850.
Available at: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/30345/1/Strength%20%26%20Health%20%28Sports%20Med%29.pdf

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