The Moves to Stay Healthy
These are the areas runners need to train to prevent injury.
Glutes: Plunk points to three exercises to help strengthen the glutes: donkey kicks with a band, one-legged squats, and lunges. “High-repetition donkey kicks against a band force the glutes to pull the leg farther back, which you’re not doing when running,” Plunk says. “Then one-legged squats with a ball against a wall strengthen your glutes unilaterally, while lunges force you into a position you’re avoiding while running.”
Hip Flexors: Two exercises can really help loosen up the tight hip flexors so common in runners—leg swings in all directions, and kettlebell swings. “The kettlebell should be thrown forward due to the powerful extension from your hip flexors, not from any upper body lifting,” Plunk says.
Upper Body: “Any runner can benefit from upper body strength training because running doesn’t do anything for the upper body,” Plunk says. So feel free to stack your strength training days with push-ups, pull-ups, shoulder press, bench press, rows, and dips. Pretty much anything you add will benefit you because this training won’t affect your running, it’ll just enhance your overall health and fitness.
Core: When it comes to training the core, Plunk says it’s most important to focus on specificity of training, which means your core exercises should be dynamic moves, rather than static holds. Since running is a dynamic sport that requires upper and lower-body coordination, primary core exercises should be things like bicycle crunches, leg raises, and sit ups, provided you do them properly.