Having stronger leg muscles will provide better stability for the joints and have lesser wear and tear on the ligaments. And for sprinters, leg exercises that develop strength will give rise to a more explosive start and faster times.
The fact is, combining running with strength training exercises in the gym will help to make you stronger and faster as a runner, while preventing the risk of injuries. Research has shown, that the addition of strength training can improve muscle power and performance in endurance athletes.
Another study has shown that weight training led to improvements in muscular strength, running economy, and direct performance in endurance athletes that ran between 1,500 to 10,000m.
So, if you love running, you should run to the gym and train as well!
In this article, we will discuss the top 5 effective leg exercises you should undertake in the gym to enhance your running performance.
Targeted Muscles: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core.
The squat is the first on our list as the best leg exercise every runner should do as it allows you to activate multiple muscle groups and establish movements beneficial for running. Always use the barbell to perform the squat and avoid the Smith machine.
Squating is effective in developing leg strength to help you run faster on the flats, go through uneven terrains, power up hills, and build the capacity lengthen your stride.
By activating the quadriceps, the squat can help stabilise your knee and absorb the impact of each landing to allow you to run smoothly without knee pain and fatigue. For sprinters, regular squat would give you an edge by achieving a more explosive start, which is crucial for running momentum.