Weight training can help strengthen one’s running muscles, which can improve athletic performance and reduce injury risk, according to Chris Kolba, a physical therapist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“Your foot is on the ground for maybe a tenth of a second, but during that time it’s handling five to eight times your body weight,” Kolba explains.

Strength training can increase the body’s ability to both absorb shock and control motion, adds Kolba, in a media release from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The most important areas to strengthen for runners are their glutes, core muscles, and hips.

Weak glute muscles cause the knee, ankles, and hips to work “ little harder than they would like to” to compensate. In addition, strong core muscles and lateral hips act as strong stabilizers when runners’ feet hit the ground, Kolba notes.

Exercises to perform include walking lunges, seated hip thrusts, deadlifts and single-leg deadlifts, side lunges, and side steps with a resistance band.

“Runners want to build strength but not bulk, typically,” he states. “So, you want to use heavier weights for fewer repetitions.”

In the release, Kolba suggests runners perform three or four sets of four repetitions each, with a weight that can be easily handled while maintaining form and control.

For runners who don’t have a lot of experience with lifting weights, Kolba recommends that having the correct form is critical to prevent injuries. Runners should not be afraid to ask for help before they start working out.

[Source(s): The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Newswise]