7 Lower-Body Exercises to Improve Running Economy

You probably see a lot of people at the gym doing several sets of leg extensions, leg curls and presses, and something that resembles a squat, but doesn't quite cut it. If you want to develop your posterior chain, don't follow this example.

A strong backside doesn't come from three sets of 10 reps on a leg machine. It comes from squats, single-leg deadlifts, lunges and sprints. A strong lower back, glutes and hamstrings, will not only help you increase your speed, they'll also help you improve your running economy.

Posterior Chain Pointers:
  • The hamstrings are constructed with a high percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers, so they must be trained with heavier weight and lower reps.
  • Most endurance athletes will have to work the posterior chain harder initially to overcome the muscle imbalance caused by strong, powerful quads.
  • These workouts should be done 1 to 2 times a week depending on your training/race schedule.
  • Don't forget the little exercises such as clamshells, fire hydrants and lateral-band walks. It's important to strengthen the gluteus medius. These exercises will improve hip stability and increase stability in the knee joint.

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