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  • Writer's pictureHelen

Strength and Conditioning for runners

(Please note these stretches and strengthening exercises are generic suggestions rather than person specific, therefore these will not be appropriate for everyone. Furthermore, the 3 x 10 repetitions for each exercise is also generic, therefore guidance should be sought to ensure the amount of repetitions is appropriate for you and your training. Please seek advice from your Physiotherapist to see which exercises are the most suitable for you).

Warm up

It is generally advised nowadays to do dynamic stretching before exercise and static stretching afterwards. Dynamic stretching happens when a muscle is being stretched whilst moving through range of motion, whereas static stretches are held without movement.

Strengthening exercises

Strength training at the hip (particularly the abductors, adductors and gluteus maximus) can increase leg stability all the way down to the ankle. Strong muscles and connective tissue help to guard against impact, improve form and enable a consistent gait.

1) Single leg balance on the forefoot


This exercise helps to increase strength in the entire leg - big toes, ankle, calves and hips - and replicates running.

• Stand with feet shoulder distance apart

• Lift one leg up keeping pelvis level and knees facing forward

• Tighten buttock muscles and raise up onto the ball of the foot (lifting the heel off of the ground)

• Lower leg and repeat on opposite side

Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

2) Single leg balance and squat


Develops balance in pelvis, ankle and feet so the body lands on a secure platform every time you step.

• Stand on one leg

• Bend the knee (of the leg you are standing on) to 90 degrees. (Ensure the knee does not move forward past the toes)

• Straighten the knee so you stand upright again

• Repeat

Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Eccentric Heel Drop


This exercise strengthens the calves, achilles and ankle muscles,

which all allow for stable landing when running. Stand with the ball

of the foot on the edge of a step with heel off of the edge, and raise

up onto your toes and then lower so heel drops below the level of t

he step. Then repeat.

• Place step in front of table or stand on the bottom step of your staircase

• Stand with the balls of both feet on the step (as shown in the picture)

• Place hands on table or hold on to your stair bannisters

• Push body upward using arms until standing raised on balls of feet

• Release pressure from arms and lower heels slowly using calf

muscles to control the movement.

Repeat 3 sets of 10 repetitions .

The Clam


This exercise activates the gluteus medius muscle, which helps to keep the hips level

when running and therefore helps to keep the knee stable. If this muscle is weak, the knee falls inwards (valgus). To make it harder you can place a theraband around your knees.

• Lie on one side with knees bent and feet together.

• Lift top knee upwards, keeping the feet together and the hips facing forward.

• Lower the knee down and repeat.

• Repeat exercise repetitions lying on both sides.

Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

Donkey Kicks


This exercise helps to strengthen the glutes and deeper core muscles (trans abs), which help with stability in the core. Ensuring you keep your back still whilst extending the leg / hip,

teaches the glutes to engage without arching your back, just like you would aim to do when you run.

• Begin in four point kneeling.

• Lift one leg up and squeeze buttock muscles, keeping knee bent and your back still.

• Lower and repeat.

Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Stability ball bridge


This exercise strengthens and activates the glutes and multifidus in the core.

• Lie on your back with your ankles on a stability ball.

• Pushing your ankles into the ball, lift your hips up into a bridge (as shown in the picture).

• Lower and repeat.

Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Box Jumps


This helps to increase elasticity, and practicing landing softly on the box also teaches the body to minimise impact when landing. This skill can then be transferred to running.

• Stand in front of a box or step

• Jump up onto the step with both feet at the same time, landing lightly if possible

• Jump back down to floor.

• Gradually speed up the rate until you can do one jump per


Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Lateral (side to side) jumps


This exercise helps to increase power and explosiveness, which helps runners to maintain speed throughout a run.

• Stand with feet together.

• Jump to one side a few inches, with both feet at the same time.

• Jump back to starting position.

• Gradually increase the speed until you can do one jump per


Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions

We hope you have found these exercises helpful and beneficial for your running. If you require any further information please feel free to call us on 01279 882518 and we would be happy to help you!

Many thanks,

The Choice Physio Team

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