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Lower body strengthening exercises for runners

I love to run and get most of my exercise through running. But I have learned it’s important to not skip strength training if you want to remain injury free.

My three favorite lower body exercises that have helped enhance my running are as follows:

Monster Walk

Monster walks activate the muscles in your hips and glutes. The hip extensors and abductors along with the glutes play a major role in the function of your kinetic chain.
Not only do butt exercises like monster walks keep your rear toned and pert, if you don’t exercise your glutes regularly it can lead to musculoskeletal imbalances affecting your posture and leave your back weak.

How To:
Use a medium or hard resistance band around the ankles. Standing upright with your knees slightly bent. keep your hands in front of you in a ready position or on your hips, chest lifted and abdominal braced. Walk with diagonal steps moving forward and outwards.
you can also do these going backwards.

Forward Lunge With Rotation

The lunge with rotation is also a great way to challenge your balance and engage the muscles used for any exercise you perform one leg at a time, such as running.
This stability exercise isolates and strengthens your quads and hamstrings during the lunge. Adding rotation of the upper body to the lunges causes your glutes to contract engaging the core, when using a dumbbell weight or medicine ball you add in some upper body as well.

How to: 
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
Hold the weights or medicine ball in front of you with elbows slightly bent. Step forward into a basic lunge keeping your knee over your foot. (don’t twist at the knee). Rotate your upper body to the same side as the leg that is forward.
In a controlled moment bring your feet together and center your upper body and repeat this on the opposite side.

Single Leg Bridge

The bridge improves hip mobility and strengthens your lower back, two things that any runner can be if it from. In order to hold the pelvis level throughout the exercise, you need to contract both the abdominal and lower back muscles. This will help stabilize your spine.

How to: 
Lay flat on your back with your hands by your sides, bend your knees up and keep your feet flat on the floor.  straighten out one of your legs, raise your hips up to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
Hold this for a few seconds then lower your hips back down. Then repeat roughly 10 times on each side.

These are just a few of the lower body exercises that can help keep injuries at bay and improve your running.

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