Strength and Mobility Exercises to Improve Running Form
In general, strength training makes you a better athlete because it improves performance, increases efficiency and decreases the risk of injury. During a workout or race, the body fatigues and it gets harder to maintain running mechanics—you know that feeling: lactic acid build-up and a lack of oxygen causes loss of focus. By increasing your strength, you can maintain better posture as you tire. You can run without hunched shoulders, which allows you to breathe better. You can hold your pelvis in its proper position so you are able to get full extension of your legs—and that equals power.
To ensure full range of motion while running, mobility drills are a must. Target areas that are tight and affect your mechanics such as the calves, shoulders and quads.
The other big factor that will help you run with better form: practice, practice and more practice. Perfecting running form takes time, patience and video feedback (a good way to see what you are doing wrong). Most likely it will not happen overnight, but consistent practice will make it happen.
It sounds simple enough right? But many people think that strength and mobility training are all you need. Ask any good golfer how much practice they put into their swing. Runners are no different; put the work in order to see results.
Remember, the more economical your form, the faster you'll run. It is worth the investment of time and energy to correct any issues you may have.
The following exercises and drills will help improve your running form. Complete these moves 2 to 3 days per week; the workout will only take 10 to 15 minutes.
Lunge With Overhead Press1 of 15
Start with a pair of dumbbells resting on your shoulders. Keep your abs tight and stand up straight; look straight ahead. Lunge forward on your right foot. When you are in a stable position, press the dumbbell over your head and lock out your elbows. Bring the dumbbells back to your shoulders and return to the starting position.
Lunge With Overhead Press con't2 of 15
Repeat this movement on your left foot. Overhead exercises are great for teaching us how to keep our torso in an optimal position when running.
Inverted Row3 of 15
Grab a bar (hands shoulder-width apart) and lean your body back, keeping your body rigid and feet in one place.
Inverted Row con't4 of 15
Pull your body up and return to the starting position.
Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing5 of 15
Place a kettlebell in front of you and grab it with one of your hands. Hike the bell in between your legs and snap your hips to drive the bell up.
Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing con't6 of 15
Straighten your legs to bring the kettlebell to chest level. Let the bell fall back in between your legs and repeat.
Cable Wood Chop7 of 15
Grab a cable or band with both of your hands. Your feet should be a little wider than shoulder-width apart and knees bent with weight on the balls of your feet. Your left side should face the anchor point of the cable.
Cable Wood Chop con't8 of 15
Keeping your arms extended, rotate the cable from the starting position to over your right shoulder. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Plank to Stand9 of 15
Get in a standard plank with your weight resting on your forearms and elbows. Extend your arms up one at a time. You should end up in a push-up position.
Plank to Stand con't10 of 15
Return to the starting position by lowering one arm at a time. Finish back in the starting position. Repeat for time or reps.
A-Skip Drill11 of 15
This can be done every time you run as part of your practicing. A-skip drills are an exaggerated skipping movement.
A-Skip Drill con't12 of 15
Lift and drive one knee forward while driving your opposite hand and arm forward. Focus on this drill when practicing it; try to land on the balls of your feet and keep ground contact to a minimum.
B-Skip Drill13 of 15
B-skip drills are similar to A-skip drills, but you extend your leg out in front of you. Lift and drive your knee forward while fully extending that leg out. At the same time, lift and drive your opposite hand and arm forward.
B-Skip Drill con't14 of 15
Focus on this drill when practicing it; try to land on the balls of your feet and keep ground contact to a minimum.