Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Adidas. All opinions expressed are my own.
In the midst of the pandemic upheaval, we runners have an opportunity. More and more races may be getting cancelled, but you can still run and even train without a race on the calendar. We can focus on becoming stronger athletes.
Part of becoming a stronger runner is strength training regularly. The benefits of strength training for runners are numerous. Consistent strength training improves your power output, allows you to handle higher mileage, and makes you more resistant to injury.
Gyms are closed, but you can still strength train at home. No equipment? No problem! Your own bodyweight can provide enough resistance for an effective workout. If you add in some explosive movement (plyometrics) and move through various ranges of motion, you will get stronger.
Beyond a pandemic, at-home strength workouts are versatile. If you are home with kids, squeezing in a strength session after your morning run, or crunched for time, you can fit in this effective workout without leaving the house. This workout will take ~15 minutes, meaning you can easily fit it into your training, even if you are busy or running high mileage.
This workout requires no equipment and just a small amount of space. All exercises are done with bodyweight. Unlike some HIIT bodyweight workouts, this at-home workout is designed to supplement your running. The exercises will strengthen both major muscle groups and smaller stabilizing muscles. The small dose of plyometric exercises can improve running economy, without being so much that you are too sore to run the next day.
As with any strength workout, be mindful of using good form. You can see in the photos here that my form is not perfect; we all have muscular imbalances, which is just another reason to strength train!
At-Home Bodyweight Strength Workout for Runners:
2 sets for beginners; 3 sets for intermediate/advanced
Complete each exercise before moving onto the next; allow ~30-60 sec rest between sets
10 reverse lunges to single leg hop (per leg)
8-10 push-ups (or until you can no longer complete with good form; modify on knees if needed)
30 sec bear crawl
10 skater hops
Reverse Lunges to Single Leg Hop
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot back and lower into a lunge, keeping your left knee bent at 90 degrees and above your left ankle. Be sure to engage your core and maintain a flat back with upright posture. As you return to standing, drive your right knee up and hop on your left foot. Repeat all reps on one side before completing on the other side.
Begin in a raised plank position, with your hands beneath your shoulders and slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and glutes and slowly lower down to the floor. Your hips should not sink down to the floor; maintain the plank position. Slowly push back up to start.
Come onto all fours, with leg hip-width apart and hands shoulder-width apart. Raise your knees approximately one-inch off the ground and maintain a flat back. Engage your core and move your left hand and right foot forward, then your right hand and left foot. Move forward as space permits, then backward, for 30 seconds total.
Lie on your back with your legs in a tabletop position (90-degree angle between the floor and your thighs, 90-degree angle at the knees). Extend your arms straight up from your chest. Pull your navel in to engage your abs while keeping your back flat against the floor. Slowly lower your left leg and right arm down, maintaining a flat back and engaged core throughout. Return to the starting position, then repeat with your right leg and left arm.
Stand on your right foot, with your right knee slightly bent and your left foot off the floor. Jump off your right leg and bound to the left, landing on your left foot. Repeat the motion as you hop side to side, until you complete all reps.
At-home workouts can feel monotonous, especially if you are stuck at home during a long winter or the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing that always adds an element of excitement is new gear. I always feel more motivated if I change out of daily sweats or leggings and into a specific outfit for even a basement workout. Black leggings are a perennial favorite, especially if they have pockets such as these Adidas Believe This Solid Tights. I always like to pair leggings with a simple tank (such as the Adidas Brillant Basics Tank Top) for comfort and performance.
What are your favorite bodyweight strength exercises?
Does new gear motivate you?