5 Rules For Effective Strength Training

Squats are a great way for runners to build lower body and core strength. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Select The Appropriate Exercises

The majority of runners are going to benefit from sticking to total body exercises that work the entire body as a unit rather than each muscle individually. For instance, a squat works the entire lower body along with the core, whereas a leg extension puts the emphasis solely on the quads. From an injury standpoint, these multi-joint exercises help athletes to strengthen weak stabilizers and maintain better form. From an efficiency standpoint, they also allow runners to get in and out of the gym in less time.

To start, select six main exercises to include in each session followed by 1-2 dedicated core exercises. Superset the exercises by performing them back-to-back to save time. For example:

1A. Barbell Front Squat

1B. Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

2A. Dumbbell Side Lunge

2B. Bodyweight Row

3A. Single-leg Deadlift

3B. Push-up

4A. Plank

4B. Abdominal Roll-out

In general, runners should start with higher reps as they learn form and develop movement patterns. For instance, beginners could start with two sets of 15 reps for each exercise. As they get more comfortable with strength training, they could progress to three to four sets of 8-10 repetitions. Advanced lifters may even want to focus on lower rep ranges in the 3-5 range to build strength and power.

RELATED: Strength Training Circuit For Distance Runners

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