Home exercises for runners
Strengthening exercises are very beneficial when recovering from an injury & for increasing running performance. However, a lot of runners avoid gyms like the plague, and memberships can be expensive. So when though it is more beneficial to pile on the slow but heavy reps to reap the full reward I thought I would share some home-based exercises. This will consist of body weight, light resistance and plyometric variations to suit your strength and skill level. If a visual component is required, there are plenty of YouTube videos detailing correct technique.
Home exercises: Squats
Firstly, we can start with an exercise we are all familiar with. Body weight squats are very generic but very effective. Squats without weights can be done at an increasing tempo if you want to aim for a higher heart rate. You might also add dumbbells or carry or a weighted backpack to help add resistance. If no weight is available and body weight is too easy, single leg squats or pistol squats can be incorporated. Lastly, bouts of squat jumps will be a nice plyometric option.
Similarly to squats, lunges have similar variations. For a beginner, body weight lunges will suffice. For those who want to increase the level of intensity, then adding hand-held weights or plyo lunges will build up the required strength. However, keep in mind so need a good level of co-ordination, strength and technique to progress safely.
Body weight calf raises can be performed from flat ground or with your heels off a step. Both variations are acceptable but step raises require a bit more strength. If you have access to dumbbells, hold onto 1 in each hand if you are performing calf raises from flat ground or hold onto 1 dummbell and a rail if performing from a step. Alternatively, a weighted backpack will suffice. Keep in mind that progressing to single leg calf raises is DOUBLE the load. So progress carefully. Lastly, if you have a skipping rope, then double leg and single leg skipping is a very good plyometric option.
Lastly, a lateral lunge will incorporate glutes and quads. If a thera-band is available, then crab walks are a very good option and personally one of my favorites. Plyometric lateral jumps from side to side will be very tough but try them out to test your power and balance. Tailored dosages are always best but generically, body weight exercises should be around 4 sets of 12-15 reps, if you have enough weight 4 sets of 8-10 reps is ideal and plyometrics for 30-90 seconds depending on fitness level.
Relevant Blog posts
- How to know if you are strong enough for running
- Common Strength training myths for runners
- How to strengthen your calves for running?