Strengthening for Runners

Often times as runners we get caught up in the addiction of going out every day and getting our mileage in or improving our times.

Many of us diligently log our runs, hit hills to build stronger legs, sprint around the track to improve our speed, but most people do not think about traditional strengthening.

Ask yourself, what is a house without a foundation? It is unstable, wobbly, and not very sturdy; it may break down. The same can be said of our bodies; we need to have strength in our core and gluteus muscles to support the rest of our body. Weakness in these specific muscle groups can make us prone to injury.

Many overuse syndromes can be attributed to excessive or repetitive stress put on tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints because of a lack of muscular stabilization. These syndromes can include:  patellofemoral syndrome, snapping hip syndrome, IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis. Improving the strength of your core and gluteal muscles provides more stability as you run and reduces stress on joints further away from your body.

Related: Keys to Surviving Marathon Training
Runner’s Knee…Becoming Pain Free

When you run, 2-3 times your body weight is transmitted through your foot as it strikes the ground. Our sneakers are designed to absorb some of this impact but the rest of the force has to be absorbed by the structures of your legs and spine. The stronger your core and gluteal muscles are, the more force they can absorb. Here are some basic exercises for strengthening the glutes and core muscles.

Related: Top Physical Therapist Approved Shoes

Single Leg Bridges

3 sets up 10



3 sets of 10 each leg

lunge-01 lunge-02


30 second hold, 10 reps


Side plank

30 second hold, 5 reps each side


Squat jumps

1 minute, 3 times



3 x 10

Clamshells without a band 01 Clamshells without a band 02


Don’t forget that we always offer free pain consultations at our Gorham, South Portland, and Portland clinics. Take advantage of it if you are feeling any sort of pain or have questions about your running program. We will always be able to help you within 24hrs.


By Michael Moras, DPT

Back in Motion® Physical Therapy – Portland, Maine

Request an Appointment or Call Us Now

Table of Contents

Request an Appointment