Bodyweight Exercises for Runners

Patty is a runner, personal trainer and cross country coach. She loves working out and writes about her experiences on her blog Reach Your Peak. For monthly tips and workouts, make sure to sign up for her newsletter!

Sometimes, as runners, we don’t have access to heavy weights at a gym, or don’t have time to do a lifting session after a run…or simply just want to work out at home. Well, no problem!

As a personal trainer, I advise people to strength train regularly in order to get stronger – especially as runners. But I also know that even if you don’t have equipment, you can still get in a good workout.

I coach a cross country team at a community college. Unfortunately, we only have cable machines and no dumbbells or barbells (due to liability issues). So we make do with what we have. One day we do bodyweight, one day we do cable machines.

So I wanted to share with you our bodyweight routine. It focuses on the core which is exactly what runners need. You can do this after a run, and I’d suggest doing so 2-3x a week.


Below are the exercises. Go through the circuit once, then repeat 2-3 more times, depending on how much time you have.

Bodyweight exercises:

Plank with leg raise – Get into plank position (on your hands not elbows). Maintaining a flat back, and bracing your core, lift one leg up and hold for 6 seconds. Lower and switch sides. Repeat 10 times. 20140413-222204.jpg

Leg raises – Lay on your back and press your lower back into the floor. Bring your legs up straight so they are pointing up to the ceiling. Keeping your back pressed, lower your legs as low as they can go WITHOUT your back and hips lifting off the floor. Bring back to starting position and repeat 10 times.

Side plank with leg raise – Get into side plank position, then left the top leg up and lower (10 times each leg). You should feel this in your obliques and possibly hips as well. This is a great abdominals and hips strengthener. If it’s too hard for you, drop the lower leg to the floor in side plank position.

Reverse crunch – Lay on your back, put your hands behind your head and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Bring your knees into your elbows, crunching in and lifting your hips a little. Your head should stay on the ground. Repeat 10 times.

Step ups – find a bench and do 10 reps on each leg. Place your foot on the bench, lean forward and step up. Make sure you’re not bouncing off your back leg to get up there. Focus on only using your front leg to step up onto the bench. Go slow.

Now repeat this whole thing 2-3 more times!

It’s not that hard to get in a good workout with no equipment. Body weight exercises are a great way to get stronger. Throughout this routine you will realize what your weak points are. Take note of that and the next time you do it, try to do better. For example, if you struggle with side planks, keep one leg on the floor. The following week, try to do 1-2 reps in full side plank position, then return to one leg on the floor to finish the set. The next week, add in more reps in the full position before modifying and so forth.

Enjoy the workout and feel free to tweet me @PattyRivas13 if you have any questions at all!

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