Even though there is a general acceptance that strength training, especially resistance band workouts help make runners run faster, less prone to injuries, and more efficient. However, many people still neglect or forget to incorporate resistance band exercises into their routines.
Runners face many difficulties during their runs, some due to increasing age - such as reduced running performance, a decline in muscle mass, or due to common injuries.
One way to combat these issues is to train with resistance bands. A study in 2017 suggests that for improving multi-joint strength, resistance bands are just as effective as dumbbells .
Why Runners Should Be Doing Resistance Band Exercises
We have already mentioned how resistance bands are great for your runners - and here's why:
Improving running form, pace and efficiency are crucial for runners, - and to achieve that, strength training is ideal. Adding resistance bands to their current training routines is a simple yet effective way to strengthen the muscle groups most used by runners. Moreover, they help in building strength in those muscles - including legs, glutes, quads, and calves. This helps lay a strong foundation for running strength.
They also help in correcting any muscle imbalances and activating the right muscle groups, making your runs more efficient. For instance, a study suggests that "mid-distance runners showed improved performance by doing squat jumps with resistance bands" .
Since resistance bands are compact, versatile, and portable, you can practically carry them anywhere. Even if it's for a quick warm-up in the park, right before you start your run, or a whole body workout, without having to use any other fitness equipment.
Lastly, resistance band exercises also help correct muscle imbalance. This is because when you train with them, you not only target large muscle areas, but also small joint muscles. This helps in preventing injuries, either due to weak running form or poor joint mobility. Resistance bands are especially known for being easier on your joints compared to free weights. Even as you age, they help you maintain your muscle mass, consequently preventing you from injuries.
5 Effective Resistance Band Exercises Perfect For Runners
Like every runner, you want to have stronger legs and better endurance. So, we designed a workout that will surely improve your running performance:
1) Standing Hip Extensions
Hold the band with both hands and loop it around one of your feet.
Keep your active leg straight and push it back. Push your leg from your heel. Squeeze your buttocks while executing a slow movement. Return to the starting position and keep your active leg off the ground.
Pro tip: The knee of the supporting leg should be slightly bent. Keep your back and head straight, as well as your core engaged. Pelvis maintains straight throughout the repetitions.
Level: Easy | Area of Focus: Legs/Glutes
2) Kick back
Start in the all-fours position with your hands and knees on the ground. Keep your wrist right underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Loop the resistance band around one foot. Secure the looped band between the thumbs and forefingers of both hands.
Slowly move your leg back and up until it is fully extended and parallel to the floor. In a controlled movement, bring your knee back towards the ground, completing one repetition.
Pro tip: Tuck your lower ribs in and keep your tailbone or lower back straight. When extending your leg, keep it parallel to the floor. Engage your hamstrings and focus on squeezing your glutes.
Level: Medium | Area of Focus: Legs/Glutes
3) Monster Walk
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent. Hold the band looped around your feet and create an X by crossing the band in front of your legs.
Hold the band at hip height in front of you. Then, take two lateral steps to one side and go back to the opposite side. Start and finish each step at shoulder-width stance, with knees slightly bent.
Pro tip: Keep your shoulders down, and keep your feet vertical. Keep tension on the band at all times (top and bottom).
Level: Medium | Area of Focus: Legs/Glutes
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put the band over your shoulders and chest while crossing your arms.
Bend your knees and lower your body into the squat position till your hips are at the level of your knees. Return to the standing position, to complete one repetition.
Pro tip: Keep your knees stable above your feet and your core engaged. Look straight ahead. Keep your back straight. Keep your feet in contact with the floor, with even weight distribution throughout the exercise.
Level: Hard | Area of Focus: Legs/Glutes
5) Dead Bug
Lie on your back: knees and hips bent at 90°. Place the band behind your back and hold it in both hands with your arms fully extended.
Keep your lower back slightly arched at hand's width off the ground. Slowly lower your right leg as far as your lower back can support it. Concentrate on a stable lower back. Bend your elbows while moving one leg towards the ground. Pause, then return to start and repeat on the opposite side.
Pro tip: Keep your lower back stable. Brace your core. Knees stay above your hip. Keep your shoulders away from your ears.
Level: Hard | Area of Focus: Chest
How many reps?
15 reps of each exercise and repeat the whole set 2 times.
STRAFFR - your Gym and Personal Trainer to go
As mentioned above as well, resistance bands are extremely versatile and you can perform several exercises with them. It's like having your own personal gym in your pocket. They fit right in the current global situation with continuous lockdowns and no access to gyms or personal trainers.
And, to ease that process even further, we developed STRAFFR to do just that.
STRAFFR provides you with a unique opportunity to train however you want - all without the hassle of going to the gym or a personal trainer.
With the STRAFFR app, you can access more than 50 fifty exercises specially designed to target various muscle groups of your body. As a runner, you won't ever have to feel restricted to which exercises you can perform or go all the way to a gym, as you can do them all with the STRAFFR smart resistance band.
In addition to that, the STRAFFR band comes in different resistance levels. So, even if you're a beginner or recovering from a previous injury, you can slowly incorporate resistance bands into your current fitness routine. Once you feel more used to it, you can increase its strength level.
Thanks for reading! Do you want to get a free training plan, and start your personalized training routine? Head over to our website to download the free STRAFFR App now.