Why Resistance Bands Are Great For Runners…..
If you’re a marathon runner, you really want to improve your strength and endurance so that you can avoid muscle injury. Resistance bands can be the perfect tool for you because they help to boost your power and strength in your calves, quads, and glutes. Strengthening these and other muscles with resistance bands will ultimately you run more efficiently and more powerfully. I like to use resistance bands to strengthen my core, hip flexors, and upper back. Strengthening all of these muscles will give you a strong base to build upon.
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The following routine also helps joint flexibility and strengthening smaller muscle groups that surround your major muscles. Completing this 15 minute deep strength work will result in fewer injuries, which keeps you training consistently and ultimately helps you achieve your running goals.
Note: Be sure to check with your doctor or another medical professional before doing any new strenuous exercises such as with resistance bands. These exercises may look easy, but when performed for the first time, you will be sore the next few days.
Many of the following exercises use hip circle bands. Check out the photos on this page for more information
#1 Lateral band walks
Lateral band walks are excellent for runners because they target your not just your thighs, but also hips, and glutes. Completing this exercise regularly with a band will help stabilize your knees and hips and the smaller muscle groups supporting them. I strongly recommend including lateral band walks in your conditioning routines to help prevent injury while running.
- For this exercise, begin with your feet together and a hip circle band above your knees.
- Come down into a partial squat with your back straight and leaning slightly forward.
- Move sideways, crab-style, with your arms out in front of you, and your chest lifted. Lead with your heel to then bring your feet together while keeping them parallel. Keep your knees bent slightly so that you remain in a partial squat the whole way across the room. Make sure your abs are tucked in.
- Once you get to one side of the room, work your way back to the other side.
You can take a look at lateral band walks in action here:
#2 Dead bug with band
Completing this exercise will help to improve your posture and work your core and hip flexors. The dead bug with resistance bands also strengthens the stabilizing muscles of your lower back which is essential for running efficiently When completing this exercise properly, extend one leg easily and fully while keeping your hips in a neutral position.
- Get down onto your back and put your feet up in the air as if you were a dead bug. Make sure your lower back stays flat, and your pelvis is tucked in.
- Wrap a mini band around your toes.
- Now extend one leg out straight while bringing the knee of the other leg towards your chest. The closer your leg is to the floor, the more challenging this exercise will be.
Here’s what dead bug with band looks like in action:
#3 Banded sumo squat walks
Banded sumo squats work the muscles of your inner thighs, hamstrings, glutes, calves, quads, and hip flexors. Your core even gets a workout too! All of these lower body strength muscles are important for having more power for your running.
- To perform banded sumo squat walks, wrap a hip circle resistance band around your thighs (just above your knees).
- Stand up tall with your feet and knees turned slightly out. Your feet should be about 3 feet apart.
- Sink into a sumo squat and then walk to the side, crab-style, while keeping the sumo stance the entire time.
- You can clasp your hands in front of you. Ensure your back is straight and that your knees and feet stay in line with each other (at a diagonal compared to your trunk).
Below you can see how to perform sumo squats:
#4 Standing abs twist
Standing abs twists using resistance bands work your upper and lower abdominals, as well as your obliques. Strong obliques will help you retain stability as you run.
- Attach a longer resistance band through a door anchor or around a pole at waist height, and hold the ends with both hands.
- Stand with one side facing the door, your feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart. Be sure you’re far enough away from the door or pole so that the resistance band is taut.
- Try not to move your lower body during this exercise. Move from your waist to grab both ends of the resistance band.
- Pull the band in toward the center of your chest.
- Next, turn at the waist away from the door, still holding the band close to your chest. You are, in effect, stretching the band away from the door. Keep your feet and hips in the starting position while you move.
Here’s what a standing abs twist looks like:
#5 Standing leg raises
Standing leg raises work your gluteus maximus, which are the muscles that control the flexion of your hip, the extension of your thigh, the slowing down of the swing action of your legs, and the flexion of your trunk.
- Wrap a resistance band around your ankles.
- Stand on one leg and send the other leg first out to the side, then out on a diagonal, and then straight out behind you. Keep your hips square when doing this exercise.
- You can rest your hands on your hips to remember to keep them steady the whole time. The only movement should be in that banded leg.
Working at different angles activates your glutes in different positions depending on your leg’s angle with your hip.
Here’s what standing leg raises look like using a resistance band:
Resistance band takeaway
Once you try working out with resistance bands for your marathon training, you’ll love it. You’ll also see a real difference in your performance in the long term. Enjoy your resistance band exercises and watch your marathon times improve.