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Running really tones our body, we know. Runners are those people who are strong in their muscles and fast with their pace. Even a slight jog gives your muscles a workout and doctors recommend stretching those muscles both before and after exercise.  Although strength training is excluded from many runners’ training programs or treated as occasional cross training to be carried out on non-running days, it is the backbone of great endurance training.  When race preparation is periodize to include phases of general strengthening, such as running specific strengthening, hill training and explosive work, running fitness can be maximized. Supplementing running with strengthening exercising will not only aid in injury prevention but will make you a stronger, faster and more efficient runner.  There are different strength training programs for runners, unlike your standard gym rat. Runners should focus on targeting the key muscles that will keep them balanced as they are what is being used the most.  

Fit this routine into your training schedule.  These 8 exercises take 30 min. To complete and can be done twice a week.  Try adding them to your easy or cross-training days.

1. Planks : 

Hold yourself up on your elbows with your feet slightly apart.  Keep your body aligned, abdominal muscles tight, shoulders directly above the elbows and back not hunched up.  Hold for 45 sec. to 1 min. to this position.  Gradually add time as your core gets stronger.

2. Lower body Russian twist: 

with your upper legs perpendicular to the floor and knees bent 90 degrees, lie on your back.  Don’t change the bend in your hips or knees; lower your legs to each side of your body while keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor.

3. Scorpion: 

be in push up position with your feet on the stepper and hands on the mat.  Now raise each knee towards the opposite shoulder and rotate your hips up.  Continue and vice versa.

4. Back extensions:  

lie face down on a stability ball.  Spread your feet wide for balance extend your arms over head and try to lift yourself.  Push your weight on your toes and feel the pressure on your core.

5. Kettlebell squats with overhead press: 

 hold the kettle well with both hands in front of your chest.  Keep your feet width apart.  Lower your body into a squat and press the kettlebell above your head and move.

6. Overhead lunges:

  hold a pair of dumbells straight above your shoulders with stiff arms and elbows locked.  Step forward with one of your legs and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees.  Return to the starting position and repeat.

7. Stability ball jackknife  

get into push up position but place your shins on a stability ball and hands on floor.  Pull the stability ball towards your chest by raising your hips and rounding your back.  

8. Rotational shoulder press:  

hold a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders with your palms facing each other.  Press the dumb bells overhead as you rotate to either side and lower the dumb bells as you rotate back to the center.

Just practice these 8 essential strength exercises if you are a runner and want to be more.

Author: Riya Manuja

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