Strength Train to Improve Running Economy

Barbell Back Squat for Advanced Runners

  1. Set the bar on a rack to just below shoulder level. Once the correct height is chosen and the bar is loaded, step under the bar and place the back of your shoulders (slightly below the neck) across it.
  2. Hold on to the bar using both arms at each side and lift it off the rack by first pushing with your legs and at the same time straightening your torso.
  3. Step away from the rack and position your legs using a shoulder width medium stance with the toes slightly pointed out. Keep your head up at all times and also maintain a straight back. This is your starting position.
  4. Begin to slowly lower the bar by bending the knees and hips as you maintain a straight posture with the head up. Continue down until the angle between the upper leg and the calves becomes slightly less than 90-degrees. The front of the knees should make an imaginary straight line with the toes that is perpendicular to the front.
  5. Begin to raise the bar as you exhale by pushing the floor with the heel of your foot as you straighten the legs again and go back to the starting position.
  6. Complete five sets of five reps at appropriate weight for your level.
More: Strength Train With Squats

Pull-ups, Chin-ups, Push-ups

Why: "These are great for core and upper body strength, and body control," says Taylor.

Practice good form—keep your core engaged, spine neutral, head and legs stable—and try to increase repetitions weekly (if you did six push-ups last week, shoot for seven the next).

More: How to Execute a Pull-Up

Kettlebell Swing

Why: "Kettlebell swings build the posterior chain, and runners generally have weak glutes and hamstrings," says Taylor. "They'll also get your heart rate way up there."

  1. Place the kettlebell between your feet. Hinge at the hips as if you are about to sit in a chair and bend the knees until your hands can grasp the handle. 
  2. Start the swing by popping the hips forward until your knees are locked out, keeping the glutes tight. Swing until the kettlebell reaches chest height. 
  3. Let the kettlebell swing back between your legs, hinging again at the hips, and letting your wrists hit the sides of your groin so the kettlebell is tucked right underneath the buttocks. 
  4. Immediately and explosively pop your hips forward again to perform the next rep.
  5. Complete five sets of five reps at appropriate weight for your level.

Dumbbell Plank Row

Why: "Everyone thinks they need to do crunches or other abdominal work, but this exercise makes the abdominals work hard because they have to support the spine," says Taylor.

  1. Get into a plank or start of a push-up position, with both hands gripping dumbbells. Feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. Contract your abdominal muscles to maintain a straight back.
  3. Row one dumbbell up towards the chest by bending at the elbow. Maintain a straight back throughout the move.
  4. Return the dumbbell to the ground and repeat on the other arm. This is one rep.
  5. Complete five sets of five reps at appropriate weight for your level.

More: Prevent Running Overuse Injuries in 6 Steps

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