Reebok certified core fitness coach, Zareen Siddique demonstrates a few workouts for runners to Protima Tiwary.
“I am running, why should I be thinking about strength training?” Have you ever found yourself asking this question as a runner? Well, strength training for runners is super important because not only does it help build stronger muscles which are involved in running, but also prevents injuries and helps improve posture, form and eventually, your running performance.
But here’s the thing- runners need a different strength training program than regular gym-goers. Instead of pushing movements like bicep curls, bench press and leg extensions, runners need to focus on building strength in particular muscles that help in maintaining balance and posture, like core and glutes.
I asked Functional Fitness Master Trainer, Yoga and Body Weight Trainer and Diet Coach Zareen Siddique, the face of fitness we have all come to know as @fitwithzareen on Instagram, to tell us some of the important strength building exercises that runners can benefit from. Here is what she had to say.
What got you started on your journey as a professional fitness coach?
I was always a sports buff, constantly trying out new workouts and working out to be stronger. I took up fitness professionally 5 years ago. I realised it was time to take things to the next level and share the knowledge that I had gathered over the years.
Are you a runner yourself?
I love the outdoors early morning, but I do complete a long run once a week (mostly on weekends) I also practice yoga, callisthenics and free body movements 5 days a week where I clock in 40minutes of a good workout.
How do you recommend runners should train?
As far as runners are concerned, they need to focus on the core, glutes and back. Here are some exercises I suggest which can be done with light weights.
- For the shoulders
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your arm at the elbow.
- Keeping your arm bent, move your hand from your shoulder, as if you are marching with your arms bent.
- Hold weights in your hand to increase resistance.
- For the glutes
- Lie on a mat with your feet on top of a bench. Your feet should be hip to shoulder width apart.
- Tighten your core and initiate the glute bridge, i.e., push your hips up through the heel while squeezing your glutes. Do not arch your lower back.
- The top position should have your shoulders and knees in a straight line.
- Hold for 10 seconds before lowering it. Squeeze your glutes while lowering yourself.
- Make sure that your core is tightened at all points of this exercise.
- For hamstrings
- Stand with your feet slightly apart. Hold a kettlebell in each hand.
- Take one leg back and balance yourself on one leg
- Now bend down (on one leg) without bending your knee. You should feel the stretch on your hamstring.
- For the calves and ankles
- Stand with your feet slightly apart. Now balance yourself on your toes.
- Squat down without leaning forward, while on your toes.
- Stand with your feet slight apart.
- Move your body weight on to your heels and walk.
- Similarly, move your body weight to your toes and walk.
- For the quads (and arms)
- Stand with your at feet shoulder width
- Hold a kettlebell in both your hands.
- Bend down in a squat while holding the kettlebell.
- While coming up, pull up the kettlebell with both your arms, and bring it to your chest.