Exercises to do at Home for Runners

Stuck at home due to weather, gym closing, work restrictions, sick kids? We can help.

Stuck at home due to weather, gym closing, work restrictions, sick kids? Unable to leave the house to get a run on? Not sure you want to be on the treadmill day after day? Take a look at these runner specific exercises to help strengthen the muscles that are weakest in most runners.

Single Leg Dead Lift (SLDL)

Exercise Note: Single leg stance with a slight bend at the knee. This bend is placing the knee on slack. Do not continue to bend the knee through the exercise. All of the motion should be coming from the hips with a forward tilt. Compensatory reactions: 1) Stance knee tends to cave inwards, focus on keeping it facing forward. 2) The moving leg tends to rotate the hip up towards the ceiling, focus on keeping your hips level with your spine. People that have weakness in the hips will automatically allow both of these compensatory reactions to occur. 2 sets of 8-10 each leg. If needed hold onto the wall or door jam with 1-5 fingers for balance control. As you improve reduce the amount of hand touch down support to allow your leg to stabilize.

Squats with resistance:

Exercise Note: Place resistance band around your knees or slightly above them. Position body with feet hip width apart. It is important to maintain pressure against the band to keep your knees open at all times. Do not let your knees cave inwards. The band is there to provide increased tactile cueing and pressure to help activate the hip muscles. Sit back into a squat such as you would if sitting into a chair. This allows you to have proper body positioning with the hips and butt back, your knees behind your toes, knees open, back straight.  2 sets of 10.

Glute walk

Exercise Note: Place a resistance band around your ankles (beginner level) or around your feet (intermediate or advanced). Position your body in a small squat, this is considered your athletic position. Remember to keep your butt back, knees open, straight spine. Feet stay apart at all times, do not let them come together at any point in this exercise. Start by side stepping to one direction x10 steps and then repeat to the opposite direction. 2-3 sets of 10 each way. Make sure to stay upright and do not lean to one side in order to pull the band further. Small steps are fine. The difference between band location has been shown in recent research articles that with the band around your ankle there is greater activation of the gluteus medius muscle.

Single Leg Balance with Hip Circles:

Exercise Note: Stand on one leg with a slight bend in your knee. Take your other leg and bring it to the front of your body. Use this leg to create circular motions. The larger the circle the more your body has to work at maintaining your center of gravity, therefore increasing the difficulty of the exercise. It is important to note that most people compensate with their stance leg by scrunching their toes and activating their calf too much. Even though we run and use our lower leg substantially, most runners don’t realize that our feet generally don’t activate or work like we need them too. Make sure to focus on keeping your toes flat and pressing into the floor with your big toe. Perform 20 circles clockwise and 20 circles counterclockwise.

Forward Lunges (Static or Dynamic):

Exercise Note:  Position your legs spread apart to a comfortable position. If you have too much of a step this is going to arch your back too much when performing the exercise. If you have too small of a step this is going to create too much strain on your knees when trying to bend. Make sure you keep good body awareness with a straight spine, keep your front knee facing forward (do not let it cave inwards), keep your front knee behind your toes (focusing on bending the back knee will allow you to do this), do not touch the floor with your back knee. Beginner level: Perform in place, Intermediate and Advance level: Perform walking lunges. 2 sets of 8-10 each leg

Lateral lunges:

Exercise Note: Similar to a squat. You want to make sure you are sitting back onto the bent leg just like a squat. Focus on butt back, knee behind your toes, back straight. Do not let your knee on the bent leg cave inwards. You may feel a stretch to the straight leg, which is completely normal. Perform 2 sets of 8-10 each leg. Stay on one leg for a full set before switching to the other leg to help with strength and endurance.

Lateral Step Downs:

Exercise Note: Perform on the last step of your staircase or edge of a treadmill (that is not turned on!). Remember, it is easy to cheat by scrunching your toes for balance on the stance leg on the step. Keep your toes flat and focus on pressing down into the stair with your big toe. Sit back onto the stance leg with straight back, opposite HEEL touching the floor. The leg on the step is the working leg. By touching the heel on the opposite side you’re preventing that leg from assisting the leg on the stair. For example, per the picture if you were to touch the floor with your entire left foot versus just the heel, you are more apt to press up with the left leg instead of focusing the pressure on the right leg as the exercise is intended to do. Most people tend to allow their stance leg to cave in at the knee so it is important to focus on this throughout the exercise. Perform 2 sets of 8-10 each leg. Stay on one side for a full set before switching legs.