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The five-minute full-body strength routine for runners

For injury prevention, strength training is key, so here's a routine that can help you keep things running smoothly

Runners are always looking for ways to strength train efficiently. Jess O’Connell is a strength coach and 2016 Olympian in the 5,000m who keeps this in mind when writing programs for her athletes. She knows that her clients are pressed for time and looking to get their strength training in as quickly as possible, so with that in mind, she’s put together a five-minute full-body workout that runners can easily do at home. For injury prevention, strength training is key, so here’s routine that can help you keep things running smoothly. 

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The exercises

Single-leg squat

You won’t need a bench for this exercise, but it’s preferable, especially when you’re getting used to the motion (a chair works perfectly if you don’t have a bench). Standing on one leg, lower yourself to the bench, lightly touch it and raise yourself back up. You should feel this in your glutes and hamstrings. Your core will also be recruited for stability, as you’re using one leg. 

Airplane RDL

The single-leg deadlift is another great exercise that focuses on glutes and hamstrings but also engages your core. Start in your ‘A’ position, with good posture and your toe pointed upward, then extend the lifted leg back until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Once this become manageable, you can add weight to increase the difficulty. 

Monster walks (with mini bands)

Monster walks are great for glute activation. In a semi-squat position and with your legs shoulder-width apart, place a mini band around your ankles and take 10 big steps forward. You want to maintain the distance between your legs. Once you’ve taken 10 steps forward, take 10 steps backward. You should feel this primarily in your glutes. 


Step-ups are great for power and stability – two things most runners need to work on. On a bench, chair or set of stairs, place one foot up and then quickly lift your other leg. Remember to use your arms, like you would running, and to hold at the top for a few seconds before switching legs. This will engage your entire body, as it mimics the motion of running. Once again, once this becomes comfortable, you can add weight. 

Plank with t-spine rotation

The plank is the ultimate full-body exercise. As always, be sure to keep your back level with the ground. With this variation of the plank, you’re looking to get comfortable with the basic hold and then add a t-spine rotation, which means sliding one arm through to the other side of your body. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. 

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