'Go To' Exercises for Runners

with Lindsay Kizinkewich, PT, DPT, OCS of Precision Physical Therapy

As you approach the final weeks till the Bellingham Bay Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k, it is important to keep your body in optimal condition. As the training miles get longer, the load increases on our tissues and joints, and this is when injury can occur.

It's never too late to incorporate strengthening into your training program. Running is essentially a series of single hops. Your body structures need to withstand enough loading to avoid strain.

These are my "go to" exercises for functional strengthening for runners. They work the body in the same way the body has to control movement while running, especially with longer distances, as the body starts to fatigue. Controlling force into the ground with an eccentric focus builds resiliency to loading and can help prevent running injuries.

Bulgarian Split Squat Hops
Start in a lunge position with your back foot elevated on a step. Slowly lunge down to the floor, keeping your knee from falling inward or in front of your toes. Focus on a quick hop upward, and land back into the lunge position with a quiet landing. Absorb shock through the knee and don't let your front knee collapse inward. Increase the challenge by elevating the back foot on a higher step or bench.

Single Limb Deadlift
Start by balancing on one leg. Slowing hinge forward from your hip, keeping the back straight and hips level. Lean forward from the hip, until you feel the back of the thigh and glutes engage. The knee on the stance leg should maintain a slight bend. Use a weight in the opposite hand than the stance limb to challenge hip stability. This is a balance and stability exercise, as well as eccentric loading for the hamstrings. This movement is about control, not repetitions.

Curtsey Lunge
Start by standing on one leg in level ground, or increase the challenge by using a step. Slowly reach your foot diagonally behind you allowing your hip/pelvis to drop into the lunge slowly. When you return to standing, squeeze your glute and hike the opposite hip to achieve maximal work through full available range of motion. The key is to maintain balance throughout the reps. Use a weight in the opposite hand than your stance limb, on an elevated surface for greater challenge.

​Please schedule an appointment with Precision Physical Therapy, if you would like individualized treatment for a running injury or screening for exercise recommendations to maximize your running performance. Precision would love to help you maximize Movement with Purpose.