Getting stronger as a runner requires more that just running. Running day after day can deceive us into thinking that we get everything we need strength-wise by running.
True, running helps us get stronger, but many of our muscles are left out during the running process, and as a result we get weaker.
This why the smartest, fastest and strongest runners supplement their running with strength work. Top runners understand the value of a program that strengthens the core, upper body and even lower body muscles.
Our minimalist strength plan outlines how to get stronger with consistent low volume bodyweight exercises. There is no need for a gym, weights or hours upon hours of reps and sets.
Use this minimalist bodyweight strength plan consistently and you will notice a difference as you feel and get stronger.
Do this routine 2-4 times a week and you are guaranteed to be a stronger runner. See glossary below for exercise descriptions.
Beginners–Start with one circuit or round.
Novice– 2-3 circuits
30-60 seconds rest between each exercise.
Military Push-ups- Do as many as you can in 30 seconds.
Wall-sit- 30 seconds
Toe Touch- 30 seconds
Triangle Push-ups- 30 seconds
Lunges- 30 seconds
Oblique V- 30 seconds
Dips- 30 seconds
Military Squats- 30 seconds
Planks- 30-60 seconds
If you feel 30 seconds is too hard back off to 15 seconds of each exercise. Likewise, if 30 seconds is too easy do 45 seconds of each. You want to feel like you have worked hard after the workout.
Military Push-ups: Put your hands shoulder width apart, but keep your elbows close to your sides. Do not let your elbows point out, keep them as close to your sides as possible.
Triangle Push-ups: Put your hands on the ground with your index fingers and thumbs touching, forming a triangle. Place your feet wider than normal and perform a push-up.
Dips: Take 3 chairs and put the palms of your hands on two of the chairs with your hands facing forward. Extend your legs out to another chair and lower yourself with your arms. Lift yourself back up and repeat.
Pull-ups: Position your hands with your palms facing away from you and perform a pull up. Make sure you extend all the way down at the bottom. If you do not have a pull-up bar, you can perform them on a door or other beam or even a tree branch.
Wall-sit: Start with your wall against a wall with your feet shoulder width apart, and about two feet from wall. Slowly slide back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep back flat against the wall and hold position.
Military Squats: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Put your hands behind your head. Keep your back straight and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Lunges: Stand with your legs together and step forward with one leg. Bend your knee but don’t allow your knee to go past your toe. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. Make sure you keep your torso upright and don’t bend your back.
Toe Touch: Lie on your back with your shoulder lifted up off the ground. Your legs should be pointed straight up with soles toward the sky. Raise your arms up toward your toes. Now you will use your upper abs to perform a crunch-like motion to lift your shoulders and torso up and touch your toes with your finger tips. Hold an upper ab muscle contraction at the top of the motion for a count of two, then lower down towards starting position. Repeat.
Oblique V: Start out by lying on your right side with your legs lying on top of each other. Make sure your knees are bent a little bit. Place your left hand behind your head. Once you are in this set position, begin by moving your left elbow up as you would perform a normal crunch except this time the main emphasis is on your obliques. Crunch as high as you can, hold the contraction for a second and then slowly drop back down into the starting position.
Planks: Lie on your stomach with arms bent, palms and forearms on the ground, fingers pointed forward, legs extended, and toes tucked under. Work your back and abs by contracting your core muscles and slowly lifting your entire torso off the floor, keeping palms, forearms, and toes on the ground. Avoid arching your lower back, shooting your hips upward, or shrugging your shoulders.