A runner working out in the park

The Ultimate Strength Circuit Workout for Runners

Adding strength conditioning exercises to your workouts can help you become a stronger, more efficient runner. Cross-training targets different muscle groups, which also helps aid in injury prevention. Try adding this strengthening circuit to your workout routine to get the most out of your runs and challenge your body in new ways.

Runner’s Strengthening Circuit

1. Squats

Stand with feet hip distance apart. Bend your knees, making sure they don’t go past your toes. Lower until you feel your quads, glutes, and hamstrings engage before standing back up. Complete eight to 12 squats, adding weight as needed.

2. Plank

Place your elbows on the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Extend your feet back until your body creates a straight line. Engage your core and quad muscles to keep your hips up. Hold this position for 45 seconds to one minute.

3. Single-Leg Deadlifts

Stand with feet hip distance apart. Slightly bend one knee as you lift your opposite leg backward and hinge your torso forward. Let your arms hang below your knee as your head and leg extend in opposite directions. Come back to standing. Complete eight to 12 deadlifts on each leg, holding free weights for an added challenge.

4. Push-Ups

Begin in a high plank position, making sure wrists are directly below shoulders. Keep the core engaged to maintain a straight line as you lower down and press back up to your starting position. Keep your elbows slightly near your body as you perform each rep. Complete eight to 12 push-ups.

5. Bridge

Lay on your back with knees bent, feet flat, and arms at your side with palms facing the floor. Engage your core and glutes as you slowly lift your hips up, creating a straight line from shoulders to knees. Slowly lower back to your starting position. Raise and lower 15 times total.

6. Tricep Dips

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Place your hands behind you, palms on the floor with your fingers facing your heels. Lift your hips off the ground. Then, bend the elbows to lower the body close to the ground to work your triceps. Keep your abdominals engaged as you complete eight to 12 dips.

Repeat the circuit once more. If you’re an advanced runner, repeat a second time for three total completions.

While cross-training can help prevent injuries, running-related injuries may still occur. If something doesn’t feel right, make an appointment with an orthopedic expert at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group. Get more tips on how to stay safe, prevent injury, and establish good training habits with St. Luke’s Health Run Club.


Healthline | Run Before or After Workout: Should I Lift or Do Cardio First?
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons | Cross Training
Everyday Health | The Best Strength Training Exercises For Runners
Runner's World | The 9 Weight-Training Exercises Runners Need to Get Stronger, Faster, and More Efficient

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