Check Your Health: Weight training for runners and why it’s important

Check Your Health: Weight training for runners and why it’s important

(KUTV) Running works muscles in only a small section of their range of motion. Repetitive motion of running can also causes muscle imbalances.

Here's a few things you can do to fix those imbalances:

  • Adding weight training can restore range of motion and correct imbalances.
  • Runners don’t need to lift to bulk up, but rather to build long, lean, muscles. Helps to do a lower weight and more reps to build endurance in those muscles.

In the video above you will see a demonstration for the following exercises to help runners.

Russian Deadlift: This move targets your hamstrings, glutes, and low back eccentrically. That's important because there is often a discrepancy between hamstring and quad strength. Runners have tight hamstrings often, and this can also provide a moderate stretch, as long as it's not taken too far. With a barbell or dumbells (or without weight), slightly bend or "unlock your knees." Keeping your knees in that position, hinge at the hips and keep your back straight. Slowly lower the weight down, and slowly return to standing. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Lunges: This move restores range of motion after runs. It also strengthens your quads and glutes. It can become a core and upper body workout depending on what you add to it as well. Stand with feet together. Step forward with one foot, and bend at the knees and hips. Make sure when you lunge forward that the front knee doesn't go over the front toe. Bring the hind leg forward to meet the other, and repeat on the other side. Do 2*20 lunges on each side. Alternatively: add a twist at the bottom of the lunge with a medicine ball or do the lunges with the arms overhead holding a weighted plate.

Single leg squats: These can be done either off a stair/box or onto a bench or chair. Standing on one leg, let your non-weight bearing leg stay in front of you, and slowly lower yourself by sitting backwards. Maintain control through the whole process, and try to only touch lightly on the chair, or just go down part way. Make sure while doing this that you keep your knee behind your toes (as with the lunges) and that you don't lean to one side or the other. This is a great move for people with knee pain commonly referred to as "runner's knee" because it helps teach the quads to stabilize the kneecap better. Do 2*12-15 reps.

Rows: Runners tend to hunch their shoulders forward and gain a rounded posture that leads to tightness in the front of the chest and weakness in the back. There are many variations to this. You can use a machine while standing, sitting, or bent over, and it can be done with machine weight, free weights, or a band. If you are using a band, you can wrap it around a pole or door, grab both ends, and while keeping your shoulders back, pull the bands back while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Make sure that there is always no slack in the band. If using weights bent over, perform the same movement, but hinge at the hips and bend slightly at the knee like the deadlift. 3*8-12 reps

With every move, it's important to not push through pain, especially if it's sharp or shooting pain. It is normal to experience soreness, especially when beginning, but proper form and light to moderate weight will help to prevent injuries. Remember, these moves won't help you over night, but consistency is key.