Many of you have asked me about strength training for your legs. I do two days of legs a week:
- Maintenance Day
- Plyometrics Day
Maintenance Day is an absolute MUST for every runner. You hit all of the muscle groups in the legs and hips to ensure maximum strength for those long runs. Here are the absolute minimum leg exercises that you should be doing every single week.
- Leg Extensions
- Hamstring Curls
- Squats (or Stand-up/Sit downs) OR Lunges (or both, if you can)
- Standing Calf Raises
- 3 Hip Exercises
For a brush-up on squat form, see this post. For a visual, you should look like this:
Exercises #1-4 should be done at a challenging weight. What does that mean? It means that you do 3 sets at a weight that makes this happen: the first one is no problem, second one is more challenging, the third one you should struggle to get to the 10th rep and have to push hard to get to the 12th. If you’re not struggling on the last set, the weight isn’t heavy enough to be making a difference in your life. If you can’t get through the 2nd or 3rd set at all, it’s too heavy. Back off.
For Exercises #5, see this post on stronger hips (see the photos below for a preview).
If you commit to your strength routine the way you commit to your running schedule, you will be a very successful runner. If you ignore your gym workouts, you will be a very sorry runner. So, hit the gym and get ‘er done!
Now go out and run!