8 Essential Strength Moves for Beginning Runners

Lunges

Stand with legs parallel, feet hip-distance apart. Step your right leg back so you are on the ball of that foot. Lower your right knee toward the floor until you reach a 90-degree angle in both of your legs. Make sure your front knee does not extend over the foot. Lower from your center without leaning forward or backward. Rise upward to the starting position as you straighten your legs.

More: How Lunges Target Your Running Muscles

Squats 

Stand with legs parallel, feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Sit back as if you're sitting in a chair, making sure your knees don't go beyond a 90-degree bend. Knees are stationary, pointing forward and do not extend over the feet. Bring your arms in front of you for balance. Be careful not to lean forward as you lower. Push through your heels as you return to standing.

More: How to Master the Squat

Calf Raises 

Stand with legs parallel, feet hip-distance apart. Slowly rise onto the balls of both feet and then lower down to the floor.

Bicep Curls  

Sit in a chair and hold a weight in one hand. Keeping your back straight, lean forward from the waist and rest your elbow on the same leg, just above your knee. Flex your right elbow and slowly lift the weight toward your shoulder. Maintain a fist-distance to your body at the top of the movement and then lower your arm down. Complete the reps on one side, then switch.

More: 10 Ways to Build Bigger Biceps

Seated Rows 

Sit in a chair and hold a weight in each hand with arms down at your sides. Keeping your back straight, lean forward from the waist. Slowly flex both elbows and raise them behind you, toward your back, as you pull the weights straight upward. Hold for a moment and feel the squeeze in your back. Lower your arms, keeping the weights in a straight line back to the start.

More: How to Perform a Seated Row

Triceps Press

Sit in a chair and hold one weight in both hands. Flex your elbows and bring your arms overhead so that your elbows are pointing up, toward the ceiling, and the weight is behind your head. Holding the dumbbell parallel to your arms, lift it up as you straighten your arms. Your upper arms should remain still, with your elbows in the same position throughout. Lower your hands behind your head to the starting position.

More: Top 6 Exercises to Tone Your Arms

Planks 

There are three levels. Time yourself to see how long you can hold the position and always try to outdo your last session. For all versions it's important to keep your hips in a straight line with your torso. a) Begin in a push-up position with arms under your shoulders. Lower to your elbows and lower your knees directly to the floor while keeping your back flat. b) Elbows rest on the floor, but this time raise your knees off of the ground, balancing on your toes as if doing a push-up. c) Straighten your elbows and hold yourself up with straight arms and legs.

More: Build Core Strength and Endurance Without Crunches

Push-ups 

There are two levels. Remember to keep your back flat, not arched, and lead with your chest instead of your head. a) Knees on the floor, arms are straight and slightly wider than shoulder distance. Lower slowly and push back up to starting position. b) Up on your toes instead of your knees.

More: 8 Ways to Modify the Everyday Push-up

There you have it! Eight easy moves that will transform your body and your running. Don't forget to RSVP: no regrets. 

More: 4 Strength Exercises for Time-Strapped Runners

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