For runners, form is a key component to both increasing speed and avoiding injury. However, getting out to run consistently through the year can be difficult, especially during the winter months. Luckily, there are specific exercises runners can use to improve their running form at any time of year.
Simple Exercises to Improve Running Form
Focusing on postural training, glute engagement, rotational core work, and hamstring engagement is the best way to improve your running form. Perform the following exercises in a circuit, spending 30 seconds on each exercise followed by a 20-second rest. Then repeat the exercise circuit 2-3 times. You will need access to a workout area with a wall.
Start by lying face up, with your feet on the wall. Ensure your back is pressed to the floor and your knees are at 90 degrees.
Place one hand on your upper chest, and the other on your lower abdomen
Take a deep nasal inhale for 3 seconds then slower exhale through your nose for 4-6 seconds. Pause for 2 seconds and repeat the inhale-exhale process.
If breathing correctly, the hand on your lower abdomen should move with the inhale-exhale process.
This exercise is useful for improving diaphragmatic breathing.
Wall Sits with Arm Slides
Stand with your back against the wall, and walk your feet forward.
Slide your back down the wall until your knees are bent within the 60-90 degree range.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together while placing your arms along the wall, parallel to the floor.
Bend your elbows 90 degrees to make a goalpost shape with your arms.
Slowly slide your arms up the wall, hold, and return to the goalpost position.
This exercise improves your overall posture and strengthens your core, upper back, and shoulder muscles.
Start on your hands and knees, with shoulders above your hands and hips above your knees.
Tighten your core and keep your back straight
First, slowly lift your left leg away from the right at a 45-degree angle. Keep your foot facing outwards throughout. Bring the left leg back to the starting position.
Then, slowly perform the same movements with your right leg. Make sure your pelvis and core are stable throughout.
Repeat steps 3 and 4.
Straight Leg Glute Bridge
Start by lying on your back, then bend the left knee, placing the foot next to your right knee.
Keep your arms straight, palm side down along your sides.
Lift your right leg and pelvis, keeping the knee and back straight as your arms and shoulders press into the ground.
Slowly lower your leg and body back to the ground and repeat on the other leg.
Additional Weight Lifting Exercises
For additional strength training, consider adding these exercises to the circuit above.
Right and left leg Romanian Deadlift
Medicine Ball Overhead Reach
High-Low Standing Cable Twists
Prone Crunch with Alternative Shoulder Lift
Make sure to only use these specific exercises to improve running form on light run or recovery days. If doing strength training on a recovery day from running, make sure to take another day off during the week. During the colder months, combine a treadmill workout with the circuit above to stay in shape, and improve your form.