Runners! These are the only 7 strength moves you actually need

Dr Richard Blagrove is one of the foremost experts in strength and conditioning, having worked with some of the UK’s top runners at St Mary’s and Loughborough universities. So when he was asked, on Matthew Boyd's The Adaptive Zone podcast, what the best strength exercises are for runners, his answers are worth noting down. Here’s what he said:

1. A squat-type movement, such as a front squat or back squat.

2. A hinge-hip movement pattern, such as a Romanian deadlift or a deadlift from the ground.

3. A stepping movement pattern, such as a barbell or dumbbell step-up (try holding the dumbbell only in one hand to challenge your trunk).

4. A lunge pattern, such as a split squat

5. Loaded calf-raise (or single-leg calf raise)

6. Pull-ups on a bar

7. Standard press-ups

For a gold star, add in some deadbugs, which will recruit your hip flexors a little bit more.

How often should I do them?

Do these exercises twice a week to see the benefits. If you struggle to fit in two longer workouts, consider doing just 10-15 minutes a day, with the aim of accumulating the same amount of work per week as in two full sessions.

How many reps should I do?

In terms of reps, for novices, Blagrove recommends 10-12. As you become used to that level, you can vary the repetition ranges. For instance, you could try a more maximal block, where you go as low as 3 reps but with a significantly heavier weight. And then you can work a bit more in the middle ground, between 5-10 reps with weights somewhere in between the two.

Whatever weight you are using, by the end of each exercise you should aim to be on a perceived exertion level of about 8 out of 10. ‘That will tell me they’ve got maybe two or three repetitions in reserve, which is about right,’ said Blagrove. ‘You’re working hard but not to complete failure.’

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