Want to become a stronger, faster, efficient, injury-proof runner? Strength training is one of the single most important non-running aspects of training that can help you become a better runner. And lucky for us, Team Amino Vital expert Paula Smith shares her top 4 running specific strength training exercises that you should add to your running routine. 1) Bulgarian Split Squats
Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, core and calves.
Progression: Standing in a lunge position, rest the toes of the back foot on a 1-2 foot bench or box. Lower the torso straight down by bending the front knee, ensuring your knee isn’t lunging forward beyond the toes. When the forward thigh is parallel to the ground, hold for 1-2 seconds, and then slowly come back up to a neutral position. Repeat 10-15 times on each leg. 2) Planks
Muscles worked: Core, shoulders and back.
Progression: The plank is the perfect exercise for strengthening the entire core, and core strength is essential for improving stride, form and speed. In a push-up position, with hands planted under the shoulders, align the body straight from the top of the head through the heels. Tighten up the abs while lifting through the chest to create as much space as possible in between the chest and the ground. Alternate lifting each leg 6 inches off the ground for 8 counts. This also engages the glutes. Hold for 30-60 seconds. 3) Lateral Step-Up
Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes and core.
Progression: With 10-pound weights in each hand, stand next to a 2-3 foot high bench or box. Step the inside foot up onto the bench. Engaging your core and the glute muscles, step all the way up, while bringing the outside knee to a 90-degree angle. Hold there for two seconds then lower down with control. Repeat 10-15 times on each side. 4) Push-ups
Muscles worked: Chest, core, biceps, triceps and back.
Progression: In a plank position, with the hands planted 2-3 feet apart under the chest line, bend elbows and descend down for two counts until the chest nearly touches the ground. Rise back to plank position for two counts. Repeat 10-12 times.