THE STRENGTH EXERCISE FOR ALL RUNERS
The one strength exercise recommended for all runners is squats. If you are running long distances every week, squatting should be incorporated in your training routine. You need to have strong legs to log those distances regularly and one of the best ways to ensure your glutes and legs stay strong is by squatting. The benefits of squatting far outweigh the dismay of skipping a run day.
The squat is a multi joint exercise that stregthens the hamstrings, hips , quadriceps and glutes. These are the most important and the biggest muscles that power your stride.You are less likely to get injured when these muscles stay strong and functional. They make you faster too.
Squats done in a proper way improve flexibility which results in an efficient stride.
Squats improve knee stability. One wrong myth is squats are bad for your knees. This is totally wrong and has been disproved. Recent studies have shown that people who regularly squat have more stable knees . Many runners struggle with knee injuries. Building up the muscles surrounding your knees provide secondary stability. Building up the muscles around your knees by squatting prevents knee damage due to torn ligaments.
Squats increase leg power.
Leg power provides benefits to runners. Running regularly increases muscular endurance but does not build muscular strength. Muscular strength helps running fast ,running uphill , lengthen the stride. Well developed muscles enable the body to use Oxygen efficiently which reduces fatigue. Squats help build muscular strength and directly improve running performance. Strength training legs is crucial for sprinting.
Squats help improve body awareness.
Body awareness is your sense of the effort being used , being aware of your posture, movement etc.
Running injuries are often caused by losing posture, faulty stride, wrong alignment of knees hips and ankles. Practising squats with the correct technique can address all these movement faults and train your body to check your posture, alignment .
Squats are also an incredible core exercise.They improve core stability which is important for performance and injury prevention.
A substantial number of runners get injured every year and strength training is one of the most valuable injury prevention strategy you can follow.
Rajnish Goswami, obese till 2015, successfully completed multiple Marathons and Ironman half distance and full distance races. He is a fitness enthusiast and an avid reader of sports science