Plank exercise

Stuck indoors? Try this strength workout…

If your running has been reduced to a solitary trot around the park (two metres away from your fellow park users, of course) or you’re stuck in the house self-isolating, we’ve got the perfect workout to spice up your schedule and help you stay strong and injury-free.

Put together by Sarah Ryder, a personal trainer and founder of London’s Bear Fitness, the five moves will improve both your running and your resilience.

“Strength training is a key aspect of any exercise regime,” says Ryder, “and something that is regularly overlooked, but the link between being strong and running faster as well as the reduction in injuries is clear.”

You can even do this fail-safe routine in front of the telly if you feel like multi-tasking as you put Netflix through its paces...

Single leg bridge

Muscles targeted: gluteus, upper hamstrings and core
Why: If you have weak glutes the alignment of your hips can change and cause all kinds of gait problems
How: Lie on your back with your hands either side of your hips and knees bent. Lift your hips as high as you can from the floor and start to squeeze your bum. Then lift one of your bent legs from the floor and straighten in line with your other knee. Then try to hold this position with a neutral spine and square hips for 30 seconds on each leg
Time: 30 seconds per leg x 2 sets

Single leg squat

Muscles targeted: quads, hamstrings, glutes, core
Why: Running is a single-legged activity so every runner should be equally strong on both legs. This will improve running efficiency and performance
How: Standing on one leg, sit back as if you are going to sit on a chair. Bend at the knee to 90 degrees and then drive back up pushing through your heel
Time: Complete 10-12 reps on each leg x 3 sets

Lateral leg raise

Muscles targeted: gluteus minimus and gluteus maximus and supporting muscles of the hip and core complexes
Why: This is another glute exercise to ensure good form is maintained while running. It is important as a runner to ensure that you utilise different planes of motion to make the body strong. This means that your body will be in good shape to cope with the impact running can cause, as well as the need to change direction to dodge around various people/dogs/cars etc, while on your run
How: Lie on your side and stack one leg on top of the other. Then flex your top leg and lead with the heel to drive your leg into the air while in line with your other leg.
Time: 20 reps each side x 2 sets

Bent knee eccentric heel drop

Muscles targeted: gastrocnemius (calf) soleus
Why: To aid and improve ankle range of motion, as well as addressing Achilles' tendon control and movement.
How: Start with your heels hanging off a step up on the balls on your feet with your knees slightly bent. Begin to lower yourself to the lowest point you feel you can then use both feet to put yourself back up onto your toes. This can be done on both legs or on just one leg.
Time: 10 reps each side x 3 sets (add some weight if it feels too easy)


Muscles targeted: deltoids, biceps, triceps, abs, quads, calfs, glutes, hamstrings etc.
Why: A strong core has a direct correlation with running form and speeds. The plank is a full body exercise and helps the body to understand that it works well as a unit. Plus, with a strong and stable core hip alignment and torso prostrate should be greatly improved.
How: You can either perform the plank on your hands or forearms. Lie on your front and place toes on the floor. Lift your body up so that it is straight or your bum is slightly up in the air (to ensure there is no sag to the lower spine) then proceed to try and hold this position.
Time: 20 seconds work then 10 seconds rest for 2-4 minutes

You can find out more about how to adjust your running routine from Martin Yelling, official coach of the Virgin Money London Marathon, or check out our top five stretches for runners.