Best Workouts for Runners in 2023: Knees, Thighs, & Hip Exercises

Power running, combined with strength training, can drastically improve your running and efficiency. A good running form ensures energy conservation and minimizes injury risks.

For beginners, it is crucial to have strong leg muscles to deliver more strength while running. By doing the recommended best workouts for runners, you can be less prone to serious injuries. This way, you can improve your body strength and capability, which will boost your overall running efficiency.

Let me tell you how!

The person with a stronger or more powerful core has more stability in his or her upper body, reducing the side-to-side movements.

Incorporating swimming and strength training exercises into a runner’s routine for height is a smart and holistic approach to enhancing your overall fitness and stature. While running primarily targets the lower body, adding swimming to your regimen can provide a full-body workout routine that complements your running efforts.

Thus, it will end up having a great hold on your body and make you feel energetic even at the end of the race. Creating more strength in your arms or muscles through strength training for runners will improve your arm drive and let you inject more strength and power into your pace.

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The Importance of Strength Training for Runners

Strength training exercises not only enhance muscle power but also help in maintaining the body in a straight line during runs, refining your overall running.

For many, the word “running” conjures up images of open trails, treadmills, and perhaps the rhythmic beat of feet against the pavement. However, diving deeper into the anatomy of running reveals the silent backbone of a runner’s prowess – strength training. Let’s explore its significance.

The Importance of Strength Training for Runners

Harmonious Blend of Power and Endurance

Strength training for runners and running aren’t opposing ends of the aerobic fitness spectrum; rather, they work harmoniously. While running enhances cardiovascular endurance and running, strength training exercises focus on building the muscle groups essential for both. It’s like giving a car both the stamina of an efficient engine and the power of turbocharged acceleration.

Injury Prevention

Runners are often prone to overuse injuries due to repetitive motion. Strength training acts as the body’s insurance policy. By bolstering muscle groups, ligaments, and tendons, it distributes the impact of every footfall, reducing the risk of ailments like Runner’s Knee, shin splints, and hip issues.

Improved Running Economy

Much like a car consuming less fuel at optimal speeds, a body strengthened by targeted workouts utilizes oxygen more efficiently. This means runners can maintain or even increase their pace while using the same or even less energy – a win-win situation!

Enhanced Core Stability

The core isn’t just about abs. It’s the central powerhouse linking the upper body and lower body, ensuring a runner’s posture remains upright and stable. Strength training for runners hones in on this crucial area, minimizing wasteful side-to-side movements and enhancing forward propulsion.

Versatile Fitness

Running might be a passion, but strength training for runners ensures holistic fitness. It ensures that while the legs are getting their routine workout from runs, the other parts of the body aren’t left behind. Incorporating exercises like press-ups, squats, and lunges ensures a balanced physique, ready for any physical challenge.

Resistance Band: A Runner’s Secret Weapon

In the realm of strength training, resistance bands have emerged as an indispensable tool, especially for runners. These lightweight, portable bands provide constant tension throughout exercises, ensuring muscles are activated throughout the entire movement. For runners, resistance bands offer targeted strengthening, allowing them to focus on specific muscle groups crucial for improving running form and reducing injury risk.

What makes resistance band especially beneficial for runners is their adaptability. They can easily be incorporated into a variety of exercises, from squats to lunges, and even upper body workouts like press-ups. As you stretch the band, the resistance increases, ensuring that your muscles are constantly challenged. This progressive tension helps runners build strength in a way that mimics the dynamic movements of running.

Dynamic Strength Boosters

Using tools like a medicine ball in your strength training regimen can provide dynamic resistance that challenges multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This not only enhances core stability but also mimics the functional movements involved in running, aiding in refining one’s running form.

In essence, strength training is the unsung hero in a runner’s journey. It complements the rhythmic cadence of running, ensuring every step taken is backed by power, balance, and endurance. For those eager to lace up and hit the tracks, remember: a good run is powered by strong muscles. So, let’s delve into the best strength training workouts tailored for every runner out there!

Best Workouts for Runners

To improve running strength, some basic and easy workouts help a lot by working on your whole body muscles. These exercises will boost your overall energy and running efficiency. You can follow these best workouts for runners in a row, but remember to take a rest of 90 seconds between each exercise.

For runners seeking to diversify their fitness routine, mastering freestyle swimming is an excellent choice. This swimming technique not only provides a full-body workout but also enhances cardiovascular endurance, making it a valuable addition to your weight training regimen.

Press Ups

Press Ups Gif

Press Ups, a fundamental strength training exercise, not only offers a full-body workout but also improves posture, which is fundamental to a good form.

To follow the press-ups, lay down with weight on your hands. Both your hands will be on the floor in this posture, and your toes will be tucked under. Put effort on your hands to raise your upper body in an upward direction in an extended state. Remember not to stretch or lift your neck in any direction during this workout once your arms get completely straight, lower, or relax your body in a downward or original position.

Repeat this exercise 10 times or more if you can. The press-ups will strengthen your chest, arms, shoulders, and shoulder blades. It overall helps in improving the posture and arm drive during running.


Step Up GIF

If you want to work on your legs and leg muscles to improve running power, then this exercise is best for you. It is a very basic power-boosting exercise and the best workout for runners.

For this, you need to stand straight in front of any box or bench. Begin by placing your left leg on the bench. Make sure that the box or bench can hold your body weight. Benches in parks would be perfect for this exercise.

In the first step, you have to place your leg on the bench and push off the one leg to act like you are taking a step. In this way, you are keeping the whole body over the knee and ankle. Bring your hips by moving in a forwarding direction, and avoid pulling in a forward direction with knee support. You have to trail the leg in parallel to the high knee position without coinciding with the bench or box. After reaching that point, lower it to the original position, that is, the floor.

Once you get used to it, then try holding dumbbells in your hands. Repeat this ten times in two sets.

Best Workouts for Runner’s Knee

Runner’s Knee is an injury that causes front knee aches and pain around the knee cap. It is a common condition for players who participate in sports like running, jumping, and cycling. To cure this injury, there are strengthening exercises that help.

Read on to know and learn these beneficial exercises and best workouts for runners:

Standing Position Quad Stretch

standing quad stretch GIF

Stand straight grab your foot with your hand, and use some support to stand upright. Make sure that this doesn’t cause any pain. Keep your knee in a close posture as you stretch and hold the condition for 15 seconds. After that, switch the side of the leg. Repeat the steps two to three times on each leg.

In the case of severe Runner’s knee, this position may hurt your knees. Then, you can do stretching in a lying posture on your belly instead of standing.

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch GIF

For Hip Flexor Stretch or Kneeling, start with a split posture. Keep the left foot forward and the other at the back. With the straight back, push your hips a little forward and feel the stretch at your hips and back leg thigh. Hold this posture for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat the exercise two to four times.

This can help you battle with Runner’s Knee, make sure that you don’t feel any pain. If you feel discomfort, then place a folded towel below your knee on the floor.

Straight Leg Lift

The areas of work are hips and quadriceps.

This is an easier and best workout for the runner’s knees.

Simply, you have to lie down straight on your backline and keep one knee in a bent posture. At the same time, lift your one leg to 90 degrees. With the use of extended legs, try to tighten up the thigh muscles. Hold the 90-degree posture for two seconds only, and then slowly lower your one leg.

Straight Leg Lift GIF

Never do these workouts in a state of a hurry because it will hurt you more.

Try repeating this workout 20 times and perform two to three sets in total.

Best Exercises for Runners Hips

In a Runner’s body, the hips play a crucial role in determining running form, and specific strength training exercises can optimize this. To improve posture and balance, it is important to get rid of weaker hips or hip abductors. There are some of the best workouts for Runners Hips that work directly on your ball and socket joints and improve hip muscles’ strength. Try these workouts in a strength training routine, for example, two to three times in 7 days.

Body Weight Squats

Stand straight on your legs, which are a little wider than your shoulder’s width, and extend your arms towards the front side. Lower the backside downwards like you are going to sit. Maintain this position until quadrangles are parallel with the floor. After that, stand up and repeat it ten to fifteen times in two or three sets.

Body Weight Squats GIF


Lie on the right side of your body and bend both of your knees over each other. Place your right hand below your head for support. Now, keeping both feet together, try to open the clamshell by lifting the top knee. In this exercise, your hips will follow a rotatory movement; however, your pelvis remains stable. Now, close the clamshell, and by switching the sides, repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times.

clamshells gif

Single-Leg Squats

Stand with the extended arms and wide opened feet rather than the shoulder’s width. In the same state, lift your left leg foot from the floor and extend the leg straight at the front side of your body. While keeping your right leg, knee, and foot completely balanced and aligned, squat down as much as you can. After that, bring your body towards the normal position and repeat the steps ten to twelve times in sets.

Single-Leg Squats GIF

Best Workouts for Jogging

To take your jogging experience to the next level, you need to try these best workouts for jogging. It will definitely help you drive your strength and power and effectively improve your capability. These exercises are best suited for running and jogging.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers, while strengthening the core muscles, promote a forward lean. This exercise teaches the body to maintain a straight line from the head through the spine to the heels, which is pivotal for a correct running form during jogging or sprinting.

Don’t worry! You are definitely not going to climb a mountain to become the best runner.

Start with a normal plank position. Bring your left knee towards your chest with the toes slightly moving off from the floor. Keep your arms in place, drive the face, and kick the other knee towards your chest.

Mountain Climbers GIF

Continue by switching the legs and repeat the steps for 50 seconds. This will help you strengthen the core muscles and will also boost your body’s metabolism rate. It is a great fat-burning exercise.

Long Jumps

Experiencing the long jumps always makes your toes more efficient regardless of your level i.e., casual jogger and ultra marathoner. There are multiple benefits associated with it.

Long Jumps GIF

It starts with a safe mode and on a soft surface. Get a running boost and hike towards the measured or red point by jumping off your leg. Drive your knee in a forward direction to carry the maximum momentum. Now, bend your knee with a soft movement upon landing to shield your joint.

Repeat the same steps with alternate legs.


How many times a week should a runner lift weights?
To improve the running performance, a runner should do weight lifting at least twice a week. Once a week is also better for beginners, but research says that 2 to 3 times a week is an optimal strength practice frequency.
Are squats bad for runners?
Generally, doing squats is always a good option for a runner. It is great if you try different ways however weight lifting for endurance is never a good option.
How important are rest days for runners?
Rest days help you in dealing with injuries and restore the stored glycogen. Always plan at least one complete day off in a week for maintaining good health.


As you incorporate strength training exercises into your routine, you’ll notice not just muscle growth, but a refinement in your running form. Just remember to make it a part of your routine and go with a pace. These are the simple, directed, and best workouts for runners to strengthen their energy and get relief from injuries. It works for both genders, any age, or any level runner.

Happy Running!

Jordan Carter

Eric Jordan

Writer | Triathlete

A writer by passion and a triathlete coach profession. In his free time, he swims, runs, cycles, and helps newbie athletes to achieve their goals.

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