Strength Exercises to Increase Running Stride
A few weeks ago I started a series of posts about how to increase your running speed by increasing your stride length. The first post in the series went over mobility drills and WHY it all starts with mobility…simply put, you need flexibility and full range of motion if you’re gonna get faster.
Following the post on mobility exercises, I shared three of my favorite drills that you can incorporate into the beginning of your running warm-up that will also help to improve both running form, speed and stride.
Today, I am going to share three different strength training exercises that you can and should be including into your training routine.
Runners tend to grumble about having to do any form of strength training but truly if you want to become faster, you need to include it in your routine.
Not only does it help with injury prevention but it also helps you to build strength (duh) which translates to more power on the pavement and faster running times.
Bench Step Ups
Step ups are great for developing both the hamstrings, quads and glutes…. talk about a booty burner! I personally like to perform them using the Ultimate Sandbag which also helps to build endurance.
While you could use dumbbells or kettlebells, I prefer the Ultimate Sandbag due to the variety of holding positions (here it is shown in the Front Load position) but also because of it’s portability. I carry mine to the track, to hills and even to the park which would be the perfect place to do some bench step ups! 😉
How to perform: Clean the Ultimate Sandbag into the Front Loaded position. Step one foot up onto a box and step up, squeezing your glutes at the top. Slowly step back down making sure to maintain control the entire time with both your step and position of the bag.
One Legged Squats
One legged exercises are another great way for developing strength in the hamstrings, quads and glutes. While you shouldn’t necessarily attempt a pistol squat (as shown above) off the bat, you can certainly work up to one.
The beauty of the DVRT system (and using the Ultimate Sandbag) is that it allows you to progress so that you can achieve a one legged squat (or pistol squat) if that is your goal.
How to perform: You can begin by starting out in a staggered stance position working your way toward a split stance and then single leg. There are also progressions to performing the pistol squat which I have outlined in this post here.
Another amazing way to develop power is by incorporating sled pulls into your training which translate directly into running strength.
Sled pulls are great for building acceleration, increased foot contact time with the ground and stride form but the key is performing them correctly in order to gain the most benefit. Since massive amounts of weight are not necessary (in fact, too much weight will discourage proper running form), using the Ultimate Sandbags new ARES Sled is ideal.
It’s super portable (can you imagine loading a traditional sled in the back of your trunk) and it comes with everything you need (like the straps) to really encourage proper set up and form.
How to perform: Maintain a straight posture (not rounded or hunched) at a diagonal angle throughout the entire pull. Foot placement and knee drive is also crucial. Be sure to drive through the balls of the feet and land with the foot directly under the hips.
Another amazing way to develop power and strength is by running hills. If you’re in an area where hills are lacking then strength training is a great way to substitute. Adding this DVRT Hill Workout for Runners will make mountains feel like mole hills in no time. Alternatively, if you live in a hilly area and really want to boost your strength and endurance then give this Hill Sprints and Ultimate Sandbag Strength Workout a try!
So, if you want to put a little extra spring in your running step then include each of these strength moves into your training routine.
For more tips on how to increase your running stride, check out the other posts in this series:
You can also check out my Run DVRT Strong eBook for runners that includes 10 strength training workouts designed specifically for runners!
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