Born to Run: The Best Strength Exercises for Runners

runners at beach

Everybody remembers (or should remember) that famous line from that classic Springsteen song, ‘Baby we were born to run!’ Great song, sure, but maybe the boss knew what he was talking about – because running happens to be one of the best high-impact workouts out there! Running has so many benefits it should be illegal: it relieves stress, eviscerates calories, gets that heart pumpin’, and lest we forget… gives us that glorious runner’s high!

But before y’all dress up like Rocky and pound the pavement, it’s important to know that if you wanna get the most out of those runs, you’re gonna have to train your full body. Strength training has long been seen as a runner’s best friend – it helps you run faster, improves your flexibility, and prevents nasty injuries. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the best strength training exercises for runners:

Lower Body
This first one is fairly obvious. Since you’re using your legs first and foremost to propel you, you better make sure they’re as strong as they can be. By far, the best leg exercises for runners are:

  • Calf Raises
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Leg Presses
  • Back Extension (to turn those glutes into gold)

To get an absolutely (and literally) butt-kicking lower body blast, check out our Killer 15 Min. Plyo Leg Workout, filled with cardio and nonstop plyometric leg exercises. We promise, you’ll feel these the next day.

Killer 15 Min. Plyo Leg Workout

It might be hard to believe, but your core actually plays a huge role in stabilization, evening out your strides, and making you a much more economical runner. Not only that, good core work will help you maintain proper form, even when you get tired. Check out the best core and ab exercises that’ll make your runs leaner and meaner:

  • Modified Bicycles
  • Planks & Side Planks
  • Supine Leg Lifts
  • Lateral Leg Raises
  • Clam Shells

For a total core crunch, try our Carve it Up: Flat Abs. Strong Core class. It’s 15 minutes of pure ab mayhem, hitting your core from every angle, and designed for any fitness level.

Carve it Up - Flat Abs. Strong Core.
Upper Body
‘What does your upper body have to do with running?’, you might ask. And we might answer, ‘So much, silly!’ Your arm drive plays a huge part in running; the kinetic chain of your arms and your legs is necessary for proper running form, and when you start getting tired, your arms tend to pick up the slack and push you onward. To pump up your upper half, work out with these exercises:

  • Bench Dips
  • Push Ups on Stability Ball
  • Burpees
  • Hammer Curls
  • Inverted Rows

For a total upper-body workout, check out our 30 Minute Sculpt: Upper-Body Strength class. It’s pure madness for your upper half, boosting your back, shoulders, arms, neck, and core. All you need is a foam roller, but a tennis or medicine ball will work too!

30 Minute Sculpt - Upper-Body Strength
At Studio SWEAT onDemand, we know that finding your perfect workout is the best way to get and stay fit for the long run (pardon the pun… and the rhyme for that matter). That’s why we offer a huge library of the hottest streaming workouts, including Spin, TRX, HIIT, Yoga, Sculpting, Bootcamp, and more, available anytime, on any device. And the best part is that all our classes feature real people, getting real results. Sign up for our 7-Day Free Trial today, and we’ll see you on the track – Rocky headband optional.