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This morning a writer for The Houston Chronicle named Roberta McInnis interviewed me on the topic of strength training for runners. At the end of the interview McInnis asked me to send her some suggested strength exercises for runners. Here's what I sent her:

 

Runner's Strength and Power Workout 

 

A little strength training goes a long way for runners.  The following strength and power workout includes only four exercises.  Doing it just two or three times per week will significantly increase your durability, running efficiency, stride power and performance.  Start by doing each exercise one time.  After two or three weeks, repeat each exercise a second time in circuit fashion (i.e., do each exercise once, then go back and do each a second time).  After two or three weeks more, add a third circuit.

 

 

Wood Chop

 

 

Strengthens the stabilizers of the core and hips and improves the transfer of forces between the upper and lower body during running 

 

 

Stand with your left side facing a cable pulley station with a handle attached at shoulder to head height.  Bend your knees and place your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart. Use both hands to grab the handle. Your arms should be almost fully extended with your trunk twisted to the left.  Now pull the handle from this position across your body and toward the floor, stopping when your hands are outside your left ankle.  This is a compound movement that involves twisting your torso to the right, shifting your weight from your left foot to your right foot, bending toward the floor, and using your shoulders to pull the handle across your body.  Concentrate on initiating the movement with your trunk muscles.  At the bottom of the movement, pause briefly and then smoothly return to the start position.

 

 

Complete 10 repetitions with a weight you could lift 12 times.  Reverse your position and repeat the exercise.

 

 

Reverse Wood Chop

 

 

Strengthens the stabilizers of the core and hips and improves the transfer of forces between the upper and lower body during running 

 

 

Connect a handle to a cable pulley station at ankle height. Stand in a wide stance with your left side facing the cable pulley station and most of your weight on the left foot. Grasp the handle in both hands, beginning with the handle just outside your lower left shin. Using both arms, pull the cable upward and across your body, finishing above your right shoulder. Avoid rounding your back. Return smoothly to the start position.

 

 

Complete 10 repetitions with a weight you could lift 12 times.  Reverse your position and repeat the exercise.

 

 

Split Squat Jump

 

Strengthens the legs and increases stride power and efficiency 

 

Start in a split stance with your right foot flat on the ground and your left leg slightly bent with only the forefoot of your left foot touching the ground a half step behind the right.  Lower yourself down into a deep squat and then leap upward as high as possible.  In midair, reverse the position of your legs.  When you land, sink down immediately into another squat and then leap again.  Use you arms for balance and to generate extra upward thrust with each leap.  Complete 10 to 20 jumps with each leg.

 

 

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch

 

 

Strengthens the stabilizers of the core and hips and improves the transfer of forces between the upper and lower body during running 

 

 

Assume a wide athletic stance with a single dumbbell placed on the floor between your feet.  Bend your knees slightly, tilt forward from the hips, and grasp the dumbbell with your left hand using an overhand grip (knuckles forward).  Begin with your left arm fully extended.  With a single, fluid, powerful movement, yank the dumbbell off the floor, stand fully upright, and continue raising your left arm until it is extended straight overhead.  Pause briefly and then reverse the movement, allowing the dumbbell to come to rest again on the floor briefly before initiating the next lift.  Complete 10-12 repetitions and then switch to the right arm.

 

 

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