Run Stronger, Faster, Safer: Essential Strength Training Exercises for Runners

Ready to enhance your running and reduce the risk of injuries? At Strength Warehouse, we believe that a strong and resilient body is essential for reaching your peak running performance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss how incorporating farmers carries, core strength exercises, and step-ups into your training regimen can boost your running efficiency, lower the likelihood of injuries, and overall improve your running performance.

The Role of Strength Training in Running Performance:

Strength training is vital in supporting the demands of running by bolstering muscle strength, stability, and endurance. By focusing on key muscle groups involved in running mechanics, strength exercises help runners keep proper form, minimize muscular imbalances, and enhance performance. Moreover, strengthening supporting muscles and stabilizers can lessen stress on joints and soft tissues, mitigating the risk of common running injuries such as IT band syndrome, shin splints, and runner’s knee.

Farmers Carries: Farmers carries are an effective exercise for building grip strength, core stability, and overall body strength. By carrying heavy weights in each hand and walking for a set distance or time, you engage muscles throughout your body, including the shoulders, core, and legs. This exercise improves posture, balance, and proprioception, which are crucial for maintaining efficient running mechanics and reducing injury risk. The unilateral nature of farmers carries also helps correct muscle imbalances between the body’s left and right sides, promoting better symmetry and coordination during running.

Core Strength Exercises: Core strength is the foundation of proper running form and stability. A robust core provides the stability required to maintain proper posture, alignment, and pelvic control while running. Incorporating exercises such as planks, Russian twists, and leg raises into your routine strengthens the abdomen, lower back, and hip muscles, essential for generating power and transferring forces efficiently during running. A strong core also helps prevent excessive rotation and lateral movement, lowering the risk of injuries and improving overall running performance.

Step-Ups: Step-ups are a functional lower-body exercise that targets the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings while also enhancing balance and coordination. By stepping onto a platform or bench and driving through the heel to lift your body, you strengthen the muscles used during running and improve single-leg stability and control. Step-ups mimic the movement pattern of running, making them an excellent exercise for boosting stride power, knee stability, and overall lower-body strength. Adding step-ups to your routine can help correct muscle imbalances, increase running efficiency, and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

Warm-Up: Begin with 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretches and light cardio to warm up the muscles and prepare for exercise.

Farmers Carries:

  • Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells or kettlebells and hold them by your sides, or over your head
  • Walk for 30-60 seconds, focusing on maintaining an upright posture and engaging your core muscles.
  • Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for 3-5 sets.

Core Strength Circuit:

  • Perform each exercise for 45-60 seconds, followed by 15-30 seconds of rest:
    • Plank
    • Russian Twists
    • Bicycle Crunches
    • Mountain Climbers
  • Complete 2-3 rounds of the circuit, focusing on maintaining proper form and engaging the core muscles throughout.


  • Stand in front of a box or bench with a pair of dumbbells or a barbell on your shoulders.
  • Step up onto the box with one foot, driving through the heel to lift your body up.
  • Lower yourself back down with control, then repeat on the other side.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps per leg, focusing on smooth and controlled movements.

Benefits of Incorporating Farmers Carries, Core Strength, and Step-Ups:

  • Improved Running Form: By strengthening key muscle groups involved in running mechanics, such as the core, hips, and legs, you’ll maintain proper posture, alignment, and pelvic stability while running.
  • Reduced Injury Risk: Stronger muscles and enhanced stability help absorb impact forces, reduce stress on the joints, and prevent overuse injuries commonly associated with running.
  • Increased Performance: By developing greater strength, power, and endurance, you’ll be able to run faster, farther, and with less fatigue, ultimately enhancing your overall running performance and enjoyment.

Incorporating farmers carries, core strength exercises, and step-ups into your training regimen can help you become a stronger, more resilient runner. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the intensity and volume as you progress. With consistent effort and dedication to strength training, you’ll reap the benefits of improved performance, reduced injury risk, and greater running enjoyment.

Stay strong! Coach Nate