6 gym exercises to help you become a better runner

3 Mar 2023 10:36AM by Nick Parkes - Athletic Training Lead

glute bridge exercise

Whether you want to become the next Usain Bolt or run lengthy marathons, there are different strengthening exercises that can help you build up your leg, core and upper body muscles helping you become the best runner you want to be! While running may not be for everyone, these exercises provide a great general benefit to you so you can choose to take on as many or as few as you would like.



Let’s get straight into the leg area with some lunges; these can be weighted (holding a dumbbell) or bodyweight. Lunges build strength in your legs as well as improve your balance which is a plus when running. As they are a unilateral move, they strengthen your legs individually which help the power and endurance of your stride during a run. Start with your feet hip width apart. Keeping your spine straight, step forward with one foot and bend your knee to a 90 degree angle. Push back up to standing position using the ball of your foot and repeat with the other leg. If using weights, hold them by your side during the workout and feel the burn! And, you can try different types of lunges such as walking lunges or twist lunges to work other muscle groups.


Similar to lunges, squats will get your legs super strong and ready for any distance or terrain. Squats carry a massive benefit to trunk and hip strength which are essential for enduring long distance running. Start with ordinary squats by keeping your head and neck in line with your back as you send your hips back and down into a squat. Add some variation by using weights such as dumbbells or trying out jump or goblet squats (holding a weight in front of your chest during a squat).


Planks strengthen your shoulders and lower back as well as your abs. By developing your midline strength, planks will help you maintain your posture while running and this will also benefit your breathing. Begin by holding the plank position for 30 seconds before increasing up to 60 seconds or longer if you can. Start off slow to gradually build strength and avoid any injuries or strain. Add some variation by going onto your side alternating raising your legs in the plank stance. You’re ABS-olutely going to feel this in your core in the morning.

Glute bridges

Strengthening your glutes in this exercise alongside your core will help you become more stable in your running. Lie on your back with your feet planted on the floor, less than hip width apart. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling while squeezing your glutes and hold for a few seconds. Slowly lower your body back to the ground and repeat.

Reverse fly

We require support from our upper bodies when running, especially through your shoulders and upper back. Strengthening this area with reverse flies will help make your running technique a lot

more efficient. This upper body workout is best done with light weights. Stand with your legs slightly apart and bend forward slightly at the hips. Let your arms hang down and with your back flat and torso engaged, lift your arms out to the sides until they are in line with your shoulders. Return to the starting position and repeat for 10 reps.


You can try the full form push up, or use your knees if you need to! Push-ups engage your core and upper body but make sure you keep everything tight and your wrists under your shoulders to avoid injury. Increasing your core strength will improve your running form and posture.

Try these exercises before your next run and let us know if you’ve seen a difference!

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