Why Runners should do Resistance Training to Increase Performance and Reduce Injuries.

23 March 2024


Why runners should do resistance training to increase performance and reduce injuries.


Resistance training (R.T) in the form of strengthening exercises plays an important role in improving a runner’s performance. Resistance training can be any form of exercises where you are moving your body against gravity or pushing against a weight.

Stronger muscles translate to improved running economy. This means you find it easier to run when you are stronger. Strengthening leg muscles produces several benefits. It helps to improve leg power that enhances running speed. R.T improves tendon stiffness that helps with a runner’s ability to spring during every stride. One study that illustrated the benefits of RT, found that Athletes ran at the same speed while using less energy and oxygen due to improved running economy. Stronger leg muscles help the runner to generate more force with each foot strike.  Therefore, stronger legs result in greater force production and increased running speeds.

Recently, a patient reminded me how a small strengthening program can improve running economy. The patient came back into the clinic after performing 3 weeks of calf and Achilles strengthening exercises. She said that her standard 5 km run felt easier and her legs were not as tired at the end of the run. This was because her legs were stronger and could develop increased power to help her run.

Importantly, strengthening exercises are added to a runner’s program to help reduce the risk of injury. Resistance based exercises help strengthen and improve bone density. There is a higher risk of developing stress fractures in running populations. Adding resistance based training helps prepare bones for the stresses associated with running.

Furthermore, resistance training improves the capacity of a tendon or muscle to undertake the stress from running. The best way to reduce injury risk is to expose muscle and tendons to loads, stresses and pressures that the muscles/ tendons will meet when running. Strength & Plyometric training improves the dynamic capabilities of muscles and tensile characteristics of tendons. These improvements enable the body to absorb the mechanical stress of running and reduce the risk of developing injuries.

How easy is it to incorporate resistance training into a runners program?

What we find are Runners are time poor and would rather go for a run than perform strengthening exercises.

Therefore, we suggest performing 6 exercises that will take about 15 mins 2/3 times per week. The exercises should incorporate strengthening the following body parts. In this short program there are plyometric exercises to enhance tendon capabilities to absorb the dynamic nature of running. The exercises program has three cycles and runners will move through the cycle every three weeks. The program focuses on the following body areas.

1 Calf

  1. Hamstring
  2. Hip and glute
  3. Core
  4. Quads
  5. Achilles








S.L Calf Raises Against wall

Wall Sit Calf Raise

S.L Calf Raise




S.L RDL. Wall Assisted


S.L Bridge Heel off



Hip & Glute

Double Leg Bridge

Bridge Marching

S.L RDLS with weight




Side Plank

Side Plank with Leg Lift

Side Plank with Hip Flexion

5 each side



Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

Back lunge to high knee




Double leg Pogo

Triple hop Pogos

Endurance Pogos

30 sec




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