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9 Bodyweight Exercises for Runners
Because these exercises can be easily modified, they're ideal for people of all fitness levels. Try these nine moves to increase your strength and boost your performance.
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This is a static exercise that builds total body strength. Start in a side plank with one hand directly under your shoulder. Your other arm should be fully extend.
Gladiator Hold con't
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Start with your feet together, and when you're ready, raise your top leg. Hold this position while maintaining a tight torso. There should be a straight line from your head to your toes.
Complete 3 to 4 sets, holding the position for 10 to 30 seconds. You can make this move more challenging by holding a dumbbell with your free hand.
Hanging Knee Raise
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This move targets your lower abs. The exercise should be done at a controlled tempo. Grab onto a pull-up bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
Hanging Knee Raise con't
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Raise your knees towards your chest and contract your abs at the top of each rep. Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position and repeat. Remember, this exercise should be done slowly, don't allow yourself to swing back and forth.
Complete 3 to 5 sets of 4 to 12 reps.
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One of my favorite exercises, jumping rope is a great way to learn coordination, proper landing technique, and it will improve your cardio conditioning. Start by looking straight ahead with your head in a neutral position. As you jump, engage your abs and glutes. Stay light on your feet, and focus on landing on the middle part of your foot.
Complete 2 to 8 sets, jumping rope for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
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Plyometric exercises build explosiveness and improve conditioning. Because of the dynamic nature of these moves, you should approach them cautiously. Plyometric exercises put high levels of stress on your feet, ankles, knees and hips. Start slow, with just a few reps and focus on your technique.
Jump Squat con't
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Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width, push your butt back and bend your knees. Jump straight up into the air. Land softly on your feet, with your knees bent. Do not allow your knees to cave in when landing.
Beginners: start with 2 sets of 4 to 8 reps, and work up to 4 to 5 sets of 10 to 20 reps.
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This exercise is a great progression from the traditional plank, and a new way to challenge your core and build strength in your shoulders.
Start in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Walk your hands forward as far as you can while maintaining a tight core. Hold this position for 10 to 45 seconds, then return to the starting position. Complete 3 to 6 sets.
Note: Do not do this exercise if you have shoulder issues.
Mixed Grip Pull-Up
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The mixed grip pull-up provides an added challenge to the traditional exercise. Grab the pull-up bar with one palm facing away from you and the other palm facing toward you.
Mixed Grip Pull-Up con't
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Pull yourself up so that your chin clears the bar. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Focus on maintaining a tight core during the movement, and switch the position of your hands every few reps.
Complete 3 to 5 sets of 4 to 10 reps.
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Another exercise that will help you build a strong core, make sure to perform each rep slowly to ensure that your abs are doing the work instead of your hip flexors and quads. If you're a beginner, you can anchor your feet with dumbbells to aid the movement. Just remember if you use an anchor, chances are you will start using your hip flexors, so be aware of this when doing the exercise.
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Lie on your back with your knees bent and place your hands behind your head or on your chest. Sit up slowly, pause at the top, and return to the starting position. Tip: try to quickly progress into doing this exercise without an anchor.
Complete 3 to 6 sets of 8 to 20 reps.
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This simple exercise will strengthen your lower back, core and glutes. Lie face down on the floor. Extend your arms out in front of you as you lift your legs off the floor. Focus on squeezing your lower back and glutes while keeping your head in a neutral position. Hold this position for 20 to 60 seconds before returning to the starting position.
Complete 4 to 6 sets.
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Wall sits are great for individuals who are not able to squat, and can help you build lower-body strength. Sit against a wall with your knees parallel to the floor and your head in a neutral position. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, rest briefly, then repeat.
Complete 3 to 6 sets.