Runners Strength Guide

Want to become a stronger runner with fewer injuries? Then you need to be including strength training in your program.

Strength training has been a staple in my life for many years. However, it’s only been recently that I have seen the benefits of hitting the gym consistently.

There have been numerous studies that have shown the benefits of strength training for women.

Did you know that women over the age of 40 start to lose muscle mass?

Future you will thank me for picking up those weights.

I’ll also let you in on a little secret. Did you know that you can build a strength routine in five steps? Yeah five, no need to overcomplicate things.

Next time you hit the gym, or see your trainer, get them to make a strength plan with these five movements for maximum benefits.

The Five Foundations of Weight Training

  1. Push
  2. Pull
  3. Hinge
  4. Balance/Stability
  5. Explosive

When it comes to push and pull we want upper-body and lower-body movements, including a squat and deadlift variation.

Yes, it’s that simple!

So what does that look like?

Here is an example of what that workout would look like:

Push lower body – Squats

Photo by Li Sun

Choose a variation based on your ability and what equipment you have.

  • Goblet squats
  • Front squats
  • Overhead squats

Push Upper body – Push-up

Photo by Ivan Samkov

This bodyweight exercise can be modified for beginners to advance. Choose a variation that is challenging to you.

  • Wall push-up
  • Incline push-up
  • Push-up on knees
  • Standard push-up
  • Military push-up

Pull Lower body- Deadlift

Photo by Mike González

Like with squats, choose a deadlift variation based on the equipment you have.

  • Trap bar deadlifts
  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Single leg deadlifts

Pull Upper body – Pull up

Photo by NC Fitness

While strict pull ups are an advance exercise you will still benefit from pull-ups, choose a variation within your skill level, and move on to are more advance pull up variation when ready.

Pull-up variations include:

  • Inverted rows
  • Assisted pull-ups
    • Band
    • Step
  • Eccentric pull-ups (concentrating on the down motion
  • Chin-ups


Hip hinge exercises will not only make other exercises easier, ie deadlifts, but they are an important mobility movement using your postier chain.

“The posterior chain refers to all the muscles on the backside of the body from the back of your head all the way down to your heels.

That includes your hamstrings, glutes, calves, lats, rotator cuff muscles, and erector spinae muscles.”

Alena Luciani, M.S., C.S.C.S., founder of Training2XL.
  • Glute Bridges
  • Hip thrusters
  • Good Mornings
  • Kettlebell swings

Are all great exercise that target the hinge action.

Balance & Stability

Want better body awareness, coordination, joint stability, reaction time and long term health?

Then including balancing exerices into your routine is a key component to improving your strength, endurance and flexibility.

Photo by Matthew Sichkaruk on Unsplash
  • Single leg squats
  • Walking lunges
  • Single leg deadlifts


Hiit, intervals, tabata are all types of explosive workouts.

Combinding speed, strength and power will also improve your reaction time.

Adding just 5-minutes of explosive exercises into your workout, and you’ll start seeing gains in your running performance.

Some of my favourite explosive exercises are:

  • Box jumps (and their variations)
  • Broad jumps
  • Single-leg lateral hops
  • Hang Power Cleans
  • Hang Power Snatch

Including a warm up and cooldown you can this workout down within an hour.

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