Workout Wednesday: Stadium Strength

You probably hit the track every week for a speed session. If you want to pull double duty, take advantage of the benches or bleachers to get in this great runner's specific strength workout.

I believe that there are a few keys to strength training for runners which includes: single leg strength, balance exercises, glute activations, and key stretching. Although the workout today does not include directions for stretching, do yourself a favor and make sure to stretch your hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and calf muscles!

One more note! Since your primary goal as a runner is to improve your running speed and form, do your speed session first and the lift after. We don't want this workout to compete with your track day goals in this case.

Step Up to Balance

This is a great move to fire up your quads and glutes. Start by standing in front of a bench with your feet facing forward. Place your whole foot on the bench (this is for your safety and it helps to load your glutes) and step up. Try to make one smooth motion to stand on your lead foot driving your knee forward. Hold for 2 seconds at the top. Slowly return to the start position.

Keys - keep your core engaged and focus on a spot in front of you to help with your balance. Drive up to standing by squeezing your glutes.

2 sets of 8 reps per side / minimal rest between sets

Tricep Dips

Start facing away from the bench. Lower down to place your arms on the bench. Walk your legs out so that your knees are comfortably positioned with a 90 degree bend. Slowly lower your body by bending at the elbows. Come back to start by squeezing your triceps to raise back to starting position.

2 sets of 12 reps / 30 seconds rest between sets

Bulgarian Split Squats

One of my favorite exercises, this requires mobility and strength to properly perform the exercise. If you cannot safely perform this exercise, simply swap in alternating reverse lunges.

The easiest way to set up for this is from the ground up. Place your trailing foot on top of the bench with your knee down on the ground (if it touches). Make sure that your front knee is in a 90 degree bend with your knee stacked over your ankle.

Raise up to standing to prepare for the start of the exercise. Slowly lower for 2 counts and then come up for two counts. As you lower your body will naturally lean forward slightly. Keep your back straight and gaze forward to help with balance.

2 sets of 8 reps per side / minimal rest between sets

Incline Push-up

To set up for this exercise, start in a plank position with your hands on the bench and shoulders stacked over your wrists. Maintain this plank position throughout by squeezing your glutes and engaging your core. Your abdominal muscles will thank you!

From here, the rest is simple. Lower down as far as you can then come back up to the starting position.

Pro tip - to engage your core, you want to think about drawing your abdominal muscles away from your belt line. This is a small movement which should still allow for proper breathing technique. If you can't breathe and engage your abdominals at the same time, you are tensing the muscles too hard.

2 sets of 6-12 reps depending on your upper body strength / 30 seconds rest between sets

Mini Band Squat with Glute Burn Out

If you do not have a mini band, swap this move out for traditional squats.

Start in a standing position with the mini band just above your knees. Stand just in front of the bench. Lower in a squat to touch your bum to the bench. Stand back up by squeezing your glutes. Do not let your knees cave in during this move.

After completing 10 squats move to the glute burn out. To perform the burn out move alternate tapping your foot to the side squeezing your glutes with each rep. 10 taps per side.

2 rounds of 10 squats and 10 per side glute taps / 30 seconds rest between sets

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