A Simple Post-Run Strength Training Workout That Will Help You Avoid Injuries

Running is great exercise in that it burns many calories and boosts cardiovascular fitness. In order to avoid injury as a runner, however, it's important to include a little strength training in your routine. Doing so ensures that your stride is more balanced, and that your muscles are able to absorb more of the impact of running, making it easier on your joints. To avoid common running injuries like runner's knee and IT band syndrome, try performing these three simple strength-training exercises after every run. The whole routine should only take about 10 minutes.

Exercise #1: Planks

Planks straighten your abdominals and back, which helps you to maintain good running form even when your legs are tired. Begin by doing a front plank. Support your weight on your forearms and toes. Your back should be straight, and you should keep your abs pulled tightly into your stomach. Make sure you don't let your back sag, and hold this position for 30–45 seconds. As you progress, add time to your plank until you're holding the position for 1–2 minutes.

Next, it's time to do side planks to strengthen your obliques, the muscles that run along the sides of your abdomen. Begin by laying on your left side, and then prop yourself up so your weight is resting on your left forearm and left foot. Your legs should be stacked on top of one another. Hold this position for 30–45 seconds, and then switch to the other side.

Exercise: # 2: Low Squats

Squats strengthen most every muscle in your leg, from your buttocks to your ankles. The secret to a good squat for runners is to bend the knees all of the way with each repetition, since this really works the calf muscles. To perform a low squat, begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms straight out in front of you. Then, bend at the knees until you're squatting as low as possible. Keep your back straight, and stand up again. Perform 3 sets of 10–15 squats. As your fitness improves, you can make these squats harder by holding a weight in your hands as you squat.

Exercise #3: Yoga Ball Back Extensions.

The only equipment you need for this workout routine is a yoga ball. It's well worth the purchase since this exercise goes a long way towards preventing back pain and running injuries that can result from a weak back. Lay over the ball with it centered under your abdomen. Your toes should be in contact with the floor. Start with your back flexed, so your body curves over the ball. Then, straighten your back to raise your torso, forming a straight line from your legs to your head. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then lower your torso down again. Do 3 sets of 10–15 back extensions per session.

You don't have to spend hours lifting weights to avoid injury as a runner, but you should dedicate a few minutes per day to strength training. Make this easy routine a part of your daily exercise regimen, and you'll increase your chances of arriving at the starting line injury free. For professional help, contact specialists such as those from Edge Sport Physical Therapy Inc.