5 Essential Strength Training Exercises for Proper Running Form

Table of Contents

5 Essential Strength Training Exercises for Proper Running Form


Written by fitness expert Chris. Last updated:

Strength training is an important aspect to include in your regular workout routine. As a runner, many believe the more running the better. However, regular strength training is significant in injury prevention. Balance is key. Strengthening the muscles involved in running can support joints prone to injury from overuse. Incorporating 2-3 strengthening days a week to coincide with 2-3 running days is an effective and efficient way to improve your running form and reduce the risk of injury.

Always include a proper warm up and cool down with proper stretching techniques to safely optimize the following 5 strength training exercises.

Postural Scapular Retraction Practice

Good posture in running form cannot be stressed enough. Scapular retraction is a basic beginner postural exercise. It strengthens the rhomboids and trapezius muscles supporting good form and posture.

How To:

  1. Stand or sit with a straight posture.
  2. Gently pinch the shoulder blades down and in. Avoid shrugging the shoulders.
  3. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Once the basics of this exercise are down, you can add a resistance band with a row to further strengthen the trapezius muscles.


The plank is a full body exercise. It strengthens the shoulders, core, and legs. The main target is the abdominal muscles. The abdominal muscles are responsible for maintaining a straight back and stabilizing the trunk and hips.

How To:

  1. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and place your forearms down on the mat. Your elbows should be positioned directly under your shoulders.
  2. Extend the legs straight back and come up onto your toes. Your body should form a straight line from your heels to your head.
  3. Hold for your personal best. Most aim for a 15-30 second hold when first starting out.
  4. Do 3 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Contract the core throughout the duration of the exercise. If you start to feel your low back giving away, stop and take a break.
  • Keep the shoulders away from the ears. Gently pinch the shoulder blades down and back to keep the upper body from hunching forward and in.

Hamstring Curls

Hamstring curls engage the muscles on the back of the thigh, as well as the glutes. This exercise strengthens the hamstrings by moving the knee through the exact same motion performed in running.

How To:

  1. Stand with a straight posture and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping the thighs parallel, slowly bend the knee bringing the foot toward the buttocks.
  3. Slowly lower and repeat.
  4. Do 10 times for 2-3 sets for each leg.

Tips & Tricks:

  • If you are having trouble keeping your thighs in line, try doing the exercise on your stomach. The thighs will be forced to remain in a parallel position.
  • To further progress the exercise, add a resistance band securely attached in front or an ankle weight.


Squats never go out of fashion. They target major muscle groups of the lower extremities, all of which are recruited in proper running form.

How To:

  1. Begin with your feet hip width apart and your hands on your hips.
  2. Slowly bend your knees and stick your buttocks toward the back.
  3. Bring the buttocks down and back as far as you comfortably can, and then slowly push back up through the heels.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Contract the core muscles to maintain a straight back.
  • Only go down as far as you comfortably can. You want to be able to get back up.
  • To progress the basic squat, add weight or a barbell for resistance.


The lunge, like the squat, targets major muscle groups utilized in proper running form. The core, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes are all activated in this exercise. Strengthening these major muscles ensure proper alignment and movement throughout your run.

How To:

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and your hands on your hips.
  2. Step one foot forward.
  3. Bend the front knee over top of the front foot.
  4. At the same time, bend the back knee under the hips.
  5. Slowly push up through the legs back to start.
  6. Repeat 10 times for each side for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Contact the core to maintain a straight posture throughout the exercise.

Proper running form may reduce injury occurrence. In order to maintain proper form, it is important that your muscles are strong. To maintain endurance and strength of these muscles, completing the 5 above exercises on a regular basis may aid in keeping proper form during those tough runs!

Share this article


Most Popular Articles

Scroll to Top

Top 10 Supplements That'll Help You Get Abs Faster