The Runner’s Workout

Running is my favorite form of exercise, but I also like to supplement cardiovascular training with exercises to strengthen the lower body and prevent injury. Because running is very repetitive biomechanically, it’s important to incorporate different movement patterns into your workouts. In other words, muscles should be strengthened in a variety of positions for maximum benefit. Below are three exercises that can be performed before or after running. To me, these are the ultimate runner’s workout.

Zig-Zag Monster Walks

A variation from the popular side-step exercise sometimes referred to as “Monster Walks”, this strengthens the hip and abdominal muscles as the legs move diagonally. It’s important to train your muscles in all directions for increased strength and injury prevention. 

  1. Place a looped resistance band above your ankles
  2. Starting in an athletic stance (feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent), take a step diagonally up and out with your right foot
  3. Follow with your left foot slowly, keeping tension on the band
  4. Take a step out and back with the right foot
  5. Follow with your left foot slowly, keeping tension on the band
  6.  Repeat this sequence down the length of a hallway, then repeat with the left foot leading

Perform 20-30 steps or 1 hallway loop, 3 times, 3x weekly.


Adequate glute strength is a critical component of running. This exercise not only challenges the leg that is moving but equally benefits the stabilizing leg to improve static and dynamic strength. 


  1. Place a looped resistance band above your ankles
  2. Slightly bend the right knee and gently hinge forward at your hips (see video below)
  3. Slowly extend your left leg out behind you, letting the tension build on the resistance band
  4. Slowly return your foot to starting position
  5. Repeat with the other leg

Tip: Keep your abdominal muscles engaged throughout the exercise.

Perform 10 reps x 3 sets on each leg, 3x weekly

Paper Plate Sliders

  1. Begin with the plate under your right foot. Stand with your left knee slightly bent. 
  2. Slide the plate up and out and return to the starting position
  3. Slide the plate out to the side and return to the starting position
  4. Slide the plate down and out and return to the starting position
  5. Repeat this sequence 10 times
  6. Switch the plate to the left foot and repeat

Tip: Try to keep the stationary leg as still as possible.

Perform 10 reps x 3 sets on each leg, 3x weekly

Physical therapists can create a more personalized strength training plan to supplement your cardiovascular workouts and help you meet your fitness goals. Schedule an appointment with one of our skilled therapists today. 

Kaela Beugnet enjoys treating runners as she is an avid runner and incredibly proficient in treating older adults.