As a runner, it’s tempting to gloss over the lower body during a strength-training session . Between hill repeats , tempo workouts, and long runs , your legs plus glutes are regularly pushed to their limits. Do you really need a dedicated leg day workout? Covering all that ground should be sufficient, right?
“Wrong, ” Dane Miklaus , C. S. C. H., founder of WORK Training Studio in Irvine, California, tells Runner’s World. Focusing solely on running is a “less-than-optimal” training strategy that can eventually lead to injuries , he says.
The Benefits of a Leg Day Workout for Runners
“The vast majority of us have developed the foot strike and cadence that may feel natural in order to us but is far from optimal. Imbalances bilaterally, tight joints, weak connective tissues , and even sore muscles from previous training sessions will all lead to compensatory movements when we run, ” Miklaus says. “These compensations can negatively affect running economy at best, and directly contribute to both acute and chronic injuries at worst. ” But , a well-designed strength-training program that includes the legs and glutes can help identify plus correct injury-causing compensations.
Even if you do manage in order to avoid getting hurt, consistently skipping leg day could be robbing you of speed and power . “Fast-twitch muscle fiber types are usually primarily responsible for our fastest, most explosive, and strongest movements. In your legs, these fibers help you go from a jog pace to the true sprint pace, ” Miklaus says. “Running alone will not optimally challenge these types of muscle fibers. Instead, they need direct targeting from heavy resistance training, and very fast, explosive exercises . ”
To help a person stay healthy and get the most out associated with your works, Miklaus developed the following leg day time workout. Incorporate it into your current strength-training plan or pair it with an easy run .
How to use this list: Perform 6 to 8 reps of each exercise (per side for the dumbbell swing, step-up, plus Bulgarian split squat), resting up to 3 minutes between sets. Repeat the particular full circuit 4 times. Each move is demonstrated by Miklaus in the video above so you can master the proper form.
You will need a heavy set of dumbbells and a loaded barbell . (If you don’t have a barbell, stick with the heavy dumbbells. “Choose weights that are so heavy you literally cannot complete more than the prescribed reps, ” Miklaus advises. “If you can do more at the end of the set, it’s not heavy enough. ”
1. Stiff-Leg Deadlift
Why it works: The stiff-leg deadlift targets the particular hamstrings , glutes , and posterior core muscle tissue, all associated with which tend to be neglected by runners who don’t strength train, Miklaus says. “This can guide to knee and hip injuries and decrease top velocity, ” he says. “Stiff-leg deadlifts help increase strength in those areas and can easily improve the energy and rate of a runner’s ‘kick. ’”
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell in front of thighs along with straight arms and an overhand or mixed grip. Keeping legs as straight as possible (a slight bend within knees will be okay), hinge hips, push butt back, and lower weight until you feel a pull in hamstrings. Maintain a flat back, plus don’t round shoulders. Engage glutes, and drive ft into floor to extend hips plus stand back again up. Repeat.
2 . Dumbbell Swing
Why it works: Besides strengthening the posterior chain, dumbbell swings help develop the dynamic hip extension, which drives a runner’s forward propulsion.
How to do it: Stand with dumbbell on the ground, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hinge in hips, drive butt back, bend knees, and grab dumbbell along with right hand using the neutral hold. Extend left arm in order to side with regard to balance. Pull dumbbell through legs, up and back again, to load the glutes and hamstrings. Then, explosively extend hips forward, engage gluttes, and straighten hip and legs, allowing the momentum generated to golf swing dumbbell out before entire body with arm extended. Participate core to avoid back from arching. Allow the particular weight in order to naturally come back down between legs, then immediately launch in to next swing. Repeat. Then switch sides.
3. Sumo Deadlift
Why this works: “Traditional deadlifts still have a very heavy quadriceps emphasis. The particular sumo deadlift allows the athlete to get deeper into their glutes plus also target the oft-forgotten adductor muscle groups. For any runner that has ever experienced a ‘ groin ’ injury, selling them on the particular idea of strong adductors should be pretty easy, ” Miklaus states. “On top of that will, any training in the frontal plane (e. g. adduction, or even moving toward the body’s midline) will help increase cool strength and stability. ”
How you can do it: Position foot under barbell with a very wide stance, toes pointed out somewhat. Keeping chest lifted, joint hips, send butt back again, and keep a set back, allowing legs to bend naturally. Maintain a neutral spine—don’t hunch forward—and look down plus out to keep neck neutral. Grip bar having an overhand or mixed grip, hands extended, shoulders back and straight down. Push via feet in order to stand up, keeping bar close to hip and legs. Maintaining a flat back, hinge hips, flex knees, and lower pub to floor. Repeat.
Why it works: Step-ups are tremendous glute strengtheners , but the box must be high enough, states Miklaus. “Ideally, your knee is higher than your own hip joint when a person begin the particular move and your foot is simply resting on the box. Make sure you extend all the way upright at the top before putting the other leg upon the package in order to get probably the most benefit, ” this individual says. “Also, make sure you return to the ground on the same lower-leg in order to get the benefits of the eccentric contraction inside the same leg. ”
How to get it done: Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms at edges. With right foot on top associated with a box and remaining foot upon the surface, step up onto the box simply by driving all of your weight by means of the right foot, maintaining knee over laces, body traveling straight upward. Lightly place still left foot on box next to right, then lower it back to the particular ground with control, keeping right foot on container. Repeat. Then switch sides.
5. Bulgarian Split Squat
Why this works: “Bulgarian split squats directly focus on the quadriceps, hip flexors , hamstrings, and butt, but these people also add the great stability challenge as well. They’ll assist strengthen pretty much every part of your leg, including lower at your ankle , ” Miklaus claims.
The way to perform it: With arms from sides, hold a clod in every hand. Have in front of a chair, bench, box, or step, facing away through it. Take a small step away from the chair. Reach perfect foot as well as rest best of feet on seat. Lean forwards just slightly, keeping upper body up, back again straight, plus bend left knee to lower as much as you can toward flooring with control. Left leg should track over toes, and correct knee ought to almost touch the floor. Drive remaining foot directly into the ground to stand back upward. Repeat. In that case switch edges
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