Athlete, personal trainer and co-founder of New Levels Coaching, Gemma Hillier-Moses shares her top moves for building strength to enhance running performance and prevent injuries in this strength workout for runners.

For runners of every ability and level, it’s time to shatter the myth that strength and conditioning workouts are just for the elite. While fitness fads may come and go, one thing remains timeless – strength training.

It forms part of the foundations of injury prevention, enhancing running performance and body transformation.

Regardless of your running ability, integrating strength and conditioning into your routine is a game-changer. You don’t need heaps of fancy equipment or a gym membership to start; a simple home workout is a perfect place to begin.

How to do the workout:

The workout starts with two warm-up mobility exercises to get the body mobile and ready for the strength session.

Complete each exercise for the number of reps and sets specified, resting between sets where needed.

You will need a resistance band for the final two workout moves.

Gemma Hillier-Moses is an England International Athlete, UKA qualified coach, personal trainer, cancer rehab specialist and clinical Pilates instructor. She is also the co-founder of New Levels Coaching, where she works as a coach and leads live online classes.

Strength workout for runners

1. 90/90 hip switch

Reps and sets: 20-30 seconds; 2 sets

Benefits: This dynamic exercise enhances hip mobility, making it perfect for pre-run warm-ups to add a spring to your step.

  • Begin by sitting on a mat with your knees bent, feet wide and heels on the floor in front of you. Place both hands behind you for support.
  • Keeping your back straight, rotate both knees toward the right to create 90-degree angles. Hold briefly.
  • Gently rotate both knees down toward the opposite side and pause momentarily. This completes
    one repetition.

2. Neural hamstring mobility sweeps

Reps and sets: 8-10 sweeps on each side; 2 sets

Benefits: This sciatic nerve mobility exercise is ideal before strength sessions or runs, especially for those with tight hamstrings.

  • Stand tall with your forearms at waist height, palms facing each other.
  • Take a step forward with your left leg, keeping your heel on the ground and toes pointing up. Bend the right knee and direct the bum ‘out the back door’.
  • Lean forward while simultaneously reaching your arms back behind you.
  • Maintain your leg position as you sweep your arms from the back, forward and upward.
  • Return to an upright position as your arms reach horizontal.
  • Repeat the movement with the opposite leg.

3. Reverse lunge

Reps and sets: 8-12 reps on each side; 2 sets

Benefits: There are so many benefits to this strength workout for runners. The reverse lunge targets multiple muscle groups –quads, hamstrings and glutes – while improving balance and stability.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Step back with one foot then lower your body down until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, with your back knee hovering just above the ground.
  • Keep your front knee aligned with your ankle and your back knee pointing down toward the floor.
  • Push through your front foot to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side, stepping back with the other foot.

4. Single leg squat

Reps and sets: 6-8 reps on each side; 2 sets

Benefits: Both challenging and enjoyable, this exercise is a must for all runners. It targets key muscles (glutes, quads and hamstrings) while also enhancing stability, control and co-ordination on one leg.

  • Stand on one leg, with the other leg and your arms out in front of you.
  • Initiate your squat by pushing the hips backwards and sitting through the heels.
  • To come back up, drive through the heel until the supporting leg is fully extended.
  • During both descent and ascent phases, ensure that the ankle-knee-hip stays aligned and that the back is in a neutral position.

TIP: This is a tough exercise. When starting out, focus on the strength side before the stability – holding a wall or chair is helpful for this. You could also try doing the single-leg squat down onto a chair at first – this is a great external cue to help you focus on sitting through the heels.

Yoga for runners: strength & mobility sequence

5. Shoulder taps

Reps and sets: 20-40 seconds; 2 sets

Benefits: Who doesn’t love a good core exercise? Shoulder taps enhance core strength, stability, and control –essential for overall trunk stability.

  • Get in a plank position on your mat, either on knees or in full plank position, with shoulders stacked over wrists. In the full plank position, legs can be wider apart to create a stable base, before progressing to the most advanced position where your legs are hip-width apart.
  • Engage your core to stabilise your body as you lift your right hand off the ground and touch your left shoulder.
  • Repeat with your left hand, making sure to keep your hips stable.

6. Banded standing clams

Reps and sets: 20-40 seconds on each side; 2 sets

Benefits: This is a great variation to the traditional clam exercise, and you don’t have to find a floor to lie on. This move helps to strengthen the muscles around the hips and improves hip stability.

  • Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and a resistance band around your knees. Lift your right foot slightly.
  • Take your right knee diagonally outward and upward, like you’re opening a clamshell.
  • Lower the knee back down to the level of the other knee and repeat before switching sides.
  • If you’re new to this exercise, holding onto a chair or wall may be helpful.

7. Killer glutes

Reps and sets: 20-40 seconds on each side; 2 sets

Benefits: Feel the burn! This move targets the gluteus medius, a key stabilising muscle for running, while also enhancing strength and single-leg stability.

  • Put a resistance band around your ankles and clasp your hands in front of you.
  • Stand on your left foot with your right leg extended diagonally behind you. Bend your left knee slightly and lean forward at
    the hips.
  • Engage your right glutes to lift your right leg backward until it’s almost parallel to the floor.
  • Complete small pulses for the time specified and then repeat on other side.