Try This Leg Strength Workout After Your Next Easy Run

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Unless you have a truly remarkable technique, you use one leg at a time to run. So it follows that a good strength training for runners plan does the same.

This session from coach George Anderson is made up entirely of single-leg exercises to help improve your running performance and resilience to injury.

“Some runners don’t bother with the gym, but working on key areas such as your glutes and hip muscles will allow you to run faster for longer while reducing your risk of injury,” says Anderson.

“Also, most runners have one leg that’s slightly stronger than the other, which can have a negative effect on performance, so I’ve chosen single-leg exercises to ensure both sides of your body develop at the same rate.”

How To Do This Workout

“The best time to do this workout is when you’ve just come back from a short run because your muscles will be warmed up,” says Anderson. “Do three sets of each exercise with a 30-second rest between sets. Take a one-minute rest before going on to the next move."

Anderson has given three suggested reps or duration for each exercise based on your level.

“Start with the beginner reps and durations for each exercise and only move to the next level once you can complete the whole circuit with ease,” says Anderson. “I recommend doing the workout two to three times a week.”

Leg Strength Workout For Runners

1 Clock mobiliser

Clock mobiliser

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Sets 3 Reps 5 (beginner), 10 (intermediate), 15 (advanced) each side Rest 30sec

Stand on your left foot and imagine you’re at the centre of a clock. Rotating your hip, tap your right foot on the ground at one o’clock, then seven o’clock, and hold at seven o’clock for 10sec. Mirror your foot’s movement with your right arm. For the opposite side tap at 11 o’clock and five o’clock.

Single-leg squat

Single-leg squat

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Sets 3 Reps 10 (beginner), 15 (intermediate), 20 (advanced) each side Rest 30sec

Balance on one foot and squat as low as you can while making sure the knee on your standing leg doesn’t go in front of your toes. Pause at the bottom, then push back up through your heel, squeezing your glutes.

3 Curtsy lunge

Curtsy lunge

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Sets 3 Time 30sec (beginner), 45sec (intermediate), 1min (advanced) each side Rest 30sec

Stand tall and step back with one foot so your feet are in line, one behind the other. Lower into a curtsy and hold for the time indicated, then drive back up again through your front heel.

4 Assisted pistol squat

Assisted pistol squat

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Sets 3 Reps 3 (beginner), 5 (intermediate), 8 (advanced) each side Rest 30sec

Holding suspension trainer handles, stand on one leg and raise the other in front of you. Lower as far as possible, keeping your raised foot off the floor. Push through your heel to return to the start – try not to lift yourself with your arms.

5 Single-leg hip hinge

Single-leg hip hinge

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Sets 3 Time 30sec (beginner), 45sec (intermediate), 1min (advanced) each side Rest 30sec

Stand with one foot in front of the other, then lift your back leg straight out behind you. Push your bottom out, keeping your back as flat as possible, and lower yourself until your thigh is at 45˚ to your torso. Hold for the amount of time indicated, then return to the start.

6 Hop-up


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Sets 3 Reps 10 each side Rest 30sec

Stand on one leg in front of a step. With your arms behind you, lower into a squat and hop onto the step. Pause to get your balance, then step back down and repeat with the other leg. The reps are the same no matter what the level for this exercise, but intermediate and advanced runners should use higher steps.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.