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What Muscles Runners Should Strengthen for Faster Times

runningRunners often focus on technique and cardiovascular health to improve their performance. While these aspects of running are vital to success, you shouldn’t ignore your strength training either. Especially for sprinters, building muscle can help you move faster and farther with each step.

Stronger muscles can also help prevent common running injuries, from tendonitis to shin splints. That’s because the force of running is better absorbed by your muscles, protecting more delicate tissues.

If you are looking to get faster and prevent injuries, Bon Secours In Motion Sports Performance athletic trainers suggest building strength in these muscles:

Glutes

Your glutes are the main muscles in your buttocks. They help control your hip and pelvic motion. They lend stability to your running gait, helping prevent injuries. They also power hip extension, which is vital to a great stride as well as acceleration 

You can strengthen your glutes with exercises like:

  • Donkey kicks
  • Squats
  • Jump squats
  • Bridges
  • Lunges

Quads

Everyone knows the quads are the powerhouses of running. These are the muscles on the front of your thighs that help you push forward. They also stabilize your knee and help absorb the shock of each step. Stronger quads can better absorb shock and help keep your knee straight, reducing your risk for injury.

Stronger quads also give you the ability to push forward faster and farther. You can strengthen your quads with exercise such as:

  • Squats
  • Jump squats
  • Wall sits
  • Leg lifts
  • Lunges

Hamstrings

The hamstrings are the muscles on the back of the thigh. Because runners tend to focus on the quadriceps, they often have weak hamstrings. This can push the body out of balance, making the hips more unstable. The hamstrings are also responsible for bending the foot back up toward your butt as you move through your stride. 

You can strengthen your hamstrings with exercises like:

  • Deadlifts
  • Leg curls
  • Dynamic stretches like yoga

Calves

Your calves run along the back of your lower leg. They help stabilize your ankle and lend power to your foot. They also absorb shock as your fit hit the ground. Your calves are important for avoiding sprains and strains in both your ankle and knee.

You can strengthen your calves with:

  • Calf raises
  • Jumping rope
  • Jump squats

At Bon Secours In Motion Sports Performance, our expert athletic trainers help runners improve technique, speed and strength. We can design a well-rounded workout plan that helps you reduce your risk for injury and enjoy better performance. Contact us today to learn more about a personalized exercise plan for runners.