12 Minute Whole Body Strength Workout for Distance Runners
By Rick Morris
Strength training? – Who needs it! Wouldn’t you rather be running, especially when time is short? Of course you would, but you really do need that strength training. Whole body strength training will improve your injury resistance, muscle balance, running economy and overall fitness. Strength training doesn’t need to take up a lot of your valuable running time. Here is a super quick 12 minute strength workout for distance runners that will at least maintain, if not slightly improve your running strength with a minimal time commitment. For more strength training tips see Bear Naked Strength Training for Runners.
- Stand in front of a bench or step that is 18 to 24 inches high. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.
- Place your right foot flat on the bench. Keep your left foot on the ground. With most of your weight centered over the heel of your right foot (the one on the bench), forcefully push off with your right foot and drive the knee of your left leg upward as in a running stride. Keeping the weight towards the heel of your right foot slowly step down with your left foot until your left foot just brushes the floor.
- Keep repeating this motion for one minute. Then switch legs and repeat for one more minute.
- Begin face down on the ground with your upper body supported by your hands and extended arms. Your lower body is supported on your toes.
- Don’t arch or sway your back. Your hands and arms should be about shoulder width apart.
- Slowly lower your upper body until your chest nearly touches the ground.
- Push yourself back up to your starting position.
- Keep going for 2 minutes
One Leg Squat to Stride Up
- Stand with your feet approximately 12 inches apart.
- Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.
- With most of your weight supported over the heel of your right foot, go into a one leg squat position by dropping your right hip and bending your right knee. At the same time pick up your left foot and drive it behind your body much like a running stride. Now push off with your right foot and drive the knee of your left leg upward as in a running stride. Keeping your weight towards the heel of your right foot return to the one leg squat position with your left foot driven behind your body. Keep following that motion for 1 minute.
- Switch leg positions and repeat for another minute.
- Don’t allow the knee of your squatting leg to extend in front of your toes.
The Basic Plank
- Position yourself on the ground in a prone position with your body supported by your elbows and your toes.
- Keep your body very straight with your pelvis tucked in so that your hips are pressed forward.
- Hold this position for two minutes.
Calf Raise Stride
- Stand on the edge of a bench or step with the ball of your right foot on the edge of the bench and your right heel extending off and dropping below the level of the bench. Hold your left foot and leg loosely off the bench with a bent knee. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.
- Bend your right knee to about a 75 to 90 degree angle.
- Starting with your right leg bent, rise up on the toes of your right foot as far as possible and straighten your right knee. At the same time drive your left knee up as in a running stride.
- Now return to your starting position by dropping your right heel back below the level of the bench, dropping your right hip so your right knee is bent 75 to 90 degrees and dropping your left knee. All three of those motions should take place simultaneously.
- Perform 1 minute of exercise using your right leg and then do 1 more minute with your left leg.
- Grab a bar or branch with an open grip (palms facing away from your body).
- Pull yourself up until your chin is just above the level of the bar or branch.
- Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together and pulling with your upper back.
- Slowly return to your starting position.
- Be sure the structure you use for this exercise is sturdy enough to support your weight.
- Use whatever structure you can in the area. In these photos a deck facing is used. Be sure to test the structure for sufficient strength.
- Perform 2 minutes of pull ups. You may need to take very short breaks for recovery during your two minute routine until you build up sufficient strength.
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