6 Functional Training and Strength Exercises To Improve Running

at One Life Personal Training, we recognize that running demands more than just strong legs—it requires a resilient and balanced physique capable of conquering any terrain. Today we’ll talk about the significance of functional training and strength for running and provide you with a variety of exercises to elevate your performance.

Why Functional Training and Strength Matter for Runners:

Functional training zeroes in on movements that replicate real-world activities, like running, to enhance overall movement quality, performance, and injury prevention. By incorporating functional strength exercises into your routine, you’ll cultivate a robust and well-rounded physique that can handle the demands of running with greater efficiency. Additionally, building strength in targeted muscle groups can correct imbalances, refine running mechanics, and mitigate the risk of overuse injuries. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned runner, functional training and strength are indispensable elements of a comprehensive training regimen.

Key Functional Training and Strength Exercises for Runners:

  1. Single-Leg Exercises:
    • Amplify your balance, stability, and leg strength with single-leg exercises like lunges, step-ups, and single-leg deadlifts. By honing in on each leg individually, you’ll address muscle imbalances and foster symmetrical running mechanics, leading to enhanced performance and decreased injury susceptibility.
  2. Core Stability Exercises:
    • A rock-solid core is the linchpin of proper running posture, stability, and power transmission. Integrate core stability exercises such as planks, bird dogs, and Russian twists into your routine to fortify the muscles of your abdomen, lower back, and hips. A sturdy core will bolster your running form and efficiency, particularly during endurance runs or challenging terrains.
  3. Functional Movements:
    • Functional movements engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, mirroring the demands of running. Examples include squats, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and medicine ball slams. These compound exercises bolster strength, power, and endurance in the muscles used during running, while also refining coordination and neuromuscular control.
  4. Plyometric Exercises:
    • Ignite your explosiveness, agility, and running speed with plyometric exercises like jump squats, box jumps, and bounding drills. By incorporating plyometrics into your routine, you’ll enhance muscle elasticity, optimize neuromuscular efficiency, and cultivate a more fluid stride. This training method is especially beneficial for sprinters and runners aiming to enhance their finishing kick or hill-climbing prowess.
  5. Resistance Band Exercises:
    • Resistance bands serve as versatile tools for targeting specific muscle groups and augmenting functional strength. Incorporate exercises such as lateral band walks, clamshells, and monster walks to strengthen the muscles of your hips, glutes, and thighs. Resistance band training heightens hip stability, curtails the risk of IT band syndrome and other overuse injuries, and amplifies overall running performance.
  6. Balance and Stability Exercises:
    • Refine your proprioception and diminish the risk of ankle sprains and other injuries with balance and stability exercises such as single-leg balance and skiers you’ll foster greater running efficiency and resilience, particularly on uneven terrain.

Incorporate these functional training and strength exercises into your weekly regimen to help create strength for running or other activities. Begin with bodyweight exercises and progressively escalate to heavier resistance or more demanding variations as your strength flourishes.

Stay strong,


PS: When you’re ready here are 2 ways we can help.

1. Come workout with us! Book your FREE no sweat intro consultation here. You’ll talk with a coach and come up with a plan together.

2. Download our 4 Week Leg Strength Program here.


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