Resistance band exercises for runners are a great way to keep strength training when you no longer have access to a gym, or just don’t want to go there for personal reasons.
There are hundreds of workouts you can do with a resistance band. Even better, you can choose to do them from the comfort of your own home.
The resistance band exercises for runners in this guide will help you become a stronger and faster runner in no time.
In this guide we’ll explore:
- What are the benefits of resistance band training for runners?
- What are the benefits of resistance band training versus strength training?
- How often should runners strength train with resistance bands?
- 7 resistance band exercises for runners
What are the benefits of resistance band training for runners?
You may be wondering: are resistance bands good for runners?
Resistance bands are a great addition to any strength training routine as they help to target the major muscles you use while running, mainly your core, glutes and legs.
In a 2017 study, it was found that elastic resistance bands are just as effective as dumbbells when improving multi-joint strength.
Resistance bands are also great if you are coming back from an injury as they offer a low-impact alternative to strength and resistance training that uses weights.
Here are the benefits of using resistance bands:
- Help to build strength in the major muscle groups
- Offer a simple, low-impact alternative to strength training using weights
- Easy to do at home
What are the benefits of resistance band training versus strength training?
Strength training is crucial to improve your running form, efficiency and pace.
Adding resistance bands to your exercise routine is a simple, low impact way to build strength in the muscles that runners use most.
Injuries when running normally stem from weaknesses in some of the key muscles, such as the hips, knees, glutes and core.
By incorporating resistance band exercises in your routine at least twice a week, you are laying the foundations for your running strength.
How often should runners strength train with resistance bands?
It is recommended that you do at least two resistance band sessions per week, more if you are returning to running following an injury.
7 resistance band exercises for runners
Now you know all about the benefits of resistance bands, here are 7 of the best resistance band exercises for runners.
In this guide we’ll provide a breakdown of the following resistance band exercises for runners:
- Side steps
- Monster steps
- Standing hip abduction
- Hip flexor marches
- Wall sits
Side steps are good for strengthening and stabilising your hip flexors. As a runner, your hips take some serious impact, especially on those long runs.
If you regularly experience stiff or painful hips, side steps are a great exercise to try.
- Loop the resistance band around your ankles and bend your knees slightly.
- Take side steps left then right again.
- The thicker the resistance band, the harder it will feel. If you’re a beginner, start with a thinner resistance band.
- Make sure you keep the tension in the band and don’t let your feet come together.
- Repeat this movement 12 to 16 times. You will slowly get stronger as you add more resistance to the exercise.
Don’t let the name of this workout worry you – they’re not as bad as they sound! Monster steps are another great exercise for glute activation.
In fact, resistance band exercises for runners like these are a simple and effective way to activate your glutes.
- Loop the band around your ankles, bend your knees slightly and sink into a squat – your feet should be hip-width apart.
- Take big steps (hence the ‘monster’ name), making sure that your feet are as wide as possible.
- Take 10-15 steps forward then step back to where you started. You’ll soon feel the burn after a few sets of these!
Standing hip abduction
This resistance band exercise is good as it really targets and strengthens the hip muscles. You’ll need a thin resistance band for this exercise.
- Loop the band around a sturdy object and the other round your right ankle, then stand tall with the left foot on the tubing, while holding the opposite handle.
- Next, while keeping the right knee straight and engaging the core, kick your right leg outward, hold for a moment, then slowly return to the starting position.
- Don’t be tempted to rotate your hips. Instead, keep your focus on using your hip muscles.
- Repeat 10 times then change to the opposite leg.
Clams are one of my favourite resistance band exercises for runners. I regularly do two or three sets of clams before a workout in the gym as they are so effective at priming the glutes for exercise.
They are also a great exercise to target the outer thighs, groin and hip flexors.
There has to be quite a bit of resistance in the band for this exercise to make it effective., so you’ll need a thicker band.
- Lie on the floor, turn on your side and loop the band around your lower thighs.
- Slowly open up your legs in a clam motion then close them back again.
- Repeat 10-20 times depending on how hard you want to go. I like to mix it up with hip bridges in between.
Kickbacks are so simple and effective and are great for targeting the back of your thighs and bum.
- Loop the band just above your ankle and face a sturdy object, like a chair or wall.
- Slightly bend your knee and lift your left foot off the ground, driving the heel back in a kickback motion.
- Hold for a moment at the top of the movement, then lower down and repeat on the same side.
- Don’t be tempted to rock forward – engage your core muscles as you lift.
Hip flexor marches
Your hip flexors are what connect the lower back, hips and groin. They are responsible for knee drive while running and can often become tight due to sitting for long periods of time.
Hip flexor marches with a resistance band work the hip flexors, glutes and core stability. They are also good for improving your balance.
- Put the resistance band around the arches of your feet. Brace your core and bring your left leg up towards your chest with your knee at a 90 degree angle.
- Keep your standing leg straight and your hips level. Hold for three seconds and then lower back down.
- Repeat for 10 with your left leg and then 10 with your right. Work up to 15-20 per leg.
Wall sits help correct poor posture as a result of sitting behind a desk all day. A wall sit works the muscles of the lower body.
Adding a resistance band to the wall sit helps strengthen external hip rotators, to keep the knees from knocking inwards as you run.
- Place the band around your thighs. Place your back against the wall and slide down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle and your feet are about two feet away from the wall.
- Engage your core and push your knees slightly outward so there is tension on the band.
- Raise your arms upwards, keeping your shoulder blades, fingers and elbows against the wall the entire time.
- Complete 15-20 glides.