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4 Strength Training Moves to Improve Your Running Performance

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

By Stephanie Jameson - Many runner make the mistake of skipping out on strength training when preparing for a race, but adding these exercises will help you prevent injury as well as make your running style stronger, faster, and more efficient!

Single Leg Step Up

  1. Stand in front of a bench, box, couch, chair, or any other sort of elevated and stable surface.

  2. Place your left foot on the bench, drive through the heel of the foot to activate your hamstrings and glutes and step up onto the bench, softly tapping the left toe before bring it back down to the ground.

  3. The left foot will stay on the bench as you step up 15-20 times, then repeat on the other side. Repeat each side for a total of three sets each.

  4. You can add a small hop at the top of the exercise to increase the difficulty.

Prisoner Squats

  1. Stand with your legs slightly wider than hip-width and keep your feet parallel. Lift up your arms and place both of your hands behind your head, elbows wide.

  2. Pull your elbows back, lift your chest, and drop your shoulders. Reach your hips backwards and bend your knees as if about to sit in a chair. Keep your weight in your heels.

  3. Rise back up to starting position and repeat 15-20 times for 3 sets.

  4. You can had a hop at the top to increase the difficulty.


  1. Start with toes and forearms on the floor, shoulders directly over elbows,

  2. Draw your shoulder blades back and down.

  3. Lift your belly button and engage abs to keep hips in line with shoulders, not higher.

  4. Squeeze glutes and hold for 45 to 60 seconds, repeating 3 times.

Single Leg Deadlift

  1. Stand with both feet under your hips, then shift your weight into your right leg keeping your leg long but with a soft bend in the knee.

  2. Start hinging at the waist, tipping your torso forward while your left leg raises behind you until you feel a stretch in your standing leg and your body is in a straight line from the top of your head to the bottom of your left foot, almost parallel to the floor.

  3. Keeping your left leg straight, pull it forward as your torso lifts while you stand up. Think of engaging your standing leg’s hamstring and glutes to straighten back up.


Hi, I’m Stephanie! I’m a runner, triathlete, and owner of giveStrength - a corporate wellness company. I hold a certificate in plant based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University, as well as a personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

I coach runners, triathletes, and anyone else that needs help to feel stronger, eat better, and feel confident in their body. Follow my journey @giveasweat.


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