Running can be one of the best ways to destress, increase cardiovascular health and improve fitness goals. But what happens when your running feels halted by an injury? In this blog, I will share with you some of the best key tips to running injury rehab and prevention with strength training for the runner. Far too many runner’s end up injured due to lack of appropriate strength training at a level that supports their sport.
COMBO INJURY REHAB AND PREVENTION
Below, I have broken out strength training exercises for the runner into 3 subcategories: the hip, the quads, and the calves. But first, I wanted to introduce the single leg deadlift which addresses several key components for good running health and injury prevention. The single leg deadlift is great for working on single leg balance and strength of the gluts and hamstrings. This exercise is also easy to increase progressive loading in a number of ways: reps/sets, weight/resistance, and balance challenges.
STRENGTH TRAINING FOR THE RUNNER: THE HIP
Side Plank Variations – addresses the lateral hip musculature (the muscles on the outside of your hips) along with strengthening your core! These muscle groups are foundational to the runner as they help to stabilize and avoid excessive hip drop during running. In this video, I go over how to perform this exercise and progressions. A common fault includes not stacking the hips/trunk in line with one another.
Copenhagen Plank – An uncommonly performed exercise, but an especially important one, to address the medial (inside/groin) hip musculature.
Single Leg Bridge Variations – Runner’s may often hear that strong gluts lead to better run. While this is true, often the glut exercises the runner is performing are too low level to match the intensity of the sport. Increase challenge by utilizing an elevated surface, single leg, etc helps the runner maximize performance, reduce injury risk, and improve overall running health.
THE HIP STRENGTH CONTINUED…
Lateral Taps – Looks easy? Wait till you feel that hip burn with this one. Lateral taps are a great way to work on single leg strength and stability on the stance leg. As well, we’re working on strengthening of the opposite hip! Big key here is to ensure that you don’t allow your trunk to sway. Keep it as static as possible while focusing on the motion driving from the hip and leg.
Lateral Band Walks – This is my go-to in strength training to ensure I’m staying injury free in my running. The lateral band walk has several awesome progressions depending on where the band is placed. In this video, you will see those progressions from easiest to hardest so you can continually progress your running health!
Banded Single Leg Squat with Hip Abduction – This is a great way to train the stance/static leg from avoiding knee valgus (when the knee “caves” inward), balance and strength, and coordination. Keep your hips and trunk from rotating outward excessively and a soft knee on the stance leg.
STRENGTH TRAINING FOR THE RUNNER: THE QUADS
Pistol Squat – Unilateral training is often some thing that’s unfortunately left out of runner’s training programs. And, it’s one of the number one elements that should be incorporated. Running is comprised of alternating single leg activity. Therefore, let’s train that! The pistol squat is my favorite quad burner. While this exercise addresses the quads, it also benefits the lower body strength, mobility, and core.
Star Reach Lunges – Dynamic strength in various degrees help the runner’s body adapt to changing surfaces/situations with more resiliency. Here, we challenge the stance knee strength (avoiding knee valgus) as the opposite leg moves into several different ranges. This exercise also challenges: balance, foot intrinsics, and mobility.
STRENGTH TRAINING FOR THE RUNNER: THE CALVES
Creeper Carry – We know calves play a key role in power, stride, mobility, amongst a host of other foot/ankle components. That’s why its important to give them some love with strength training. And, we can avoid common injuries like achilles tendonitis, shin splints, etc. Introduce: the creeper carry.
2x Eccentric Calf – Whether mobility issues, weakness, or pain, this exercise focuses on all components to load the gastrocnemius/soleus muscles.
Seated Barbell Calf Raise – The calf is a complex and simply put: its not made up of just one muscle and is deigned with mechanisms that control the tibia and fibula. These muscle groups have to be resilient enough to withstand the force that comes with bounding from one leg to the next to rehab and prevent injuries.
Looking for more ways to improving running injury rehab and prevention? Want more on strength training for the runner? Ready to put your current injury in the past? For more on running injury rehab and prevention: Strength Training for the Runner, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, schedule an appointment with Dr. Monique Cofino, DPT, Cert. DN, Cert-CMFA at our Onward Atlanta Physical Therapy location in Alpharetta, GA. To find our more about our running evaluations, click here! And, if you’re looking for information specific to running while pregnant, check out this blog post by our Onward Denver team!