MOST RUNNERS know they should strength-train – doing so can correct muscle imbalances to boost performance and prevent injuries. But getting to a gym can be a challenge, and stacking dumbbells in your living room might not be an option. This is the genius of resistance bands. These affordable tools can help you become a stronger runner at home, no space required. Resistance bands can work the major muscles you rely on to run (core, legs, glutes). And because you tend to call upon more stabiliser muscles to keep the bands in alignment, you can recruit more muscles than you might with dumbbells. Do this workout, designed by Janet Hamilton, a running coach and strength coach, twice a week. Begin with two sets of eight to 10 reps and build up to a set of 25.
Strengthens the quads, hamstrings and glutes
TO DO: Sit in a chair with both feet on top of the band, each hand holding one end of it. Extend your left leg. Use your right leg to stand up. You’ll need to bend slightly forward. Lower back down to the chair using your right leg. Repeat on the other leg.
Improves core strength
TO DO: Secure one end of the band in a doorjamb (or tie to a sturdy object) at chest level. With your right side facing the door, grab the band’s other end with both hands. With arms extended, rotate your torso away from the door. Release; repeat on the other side.
Works the quads, hip extensors and glutes
TO DO: Stand with feet on a band. Grab both ends of the band with your hands and bring your arms up to your shoulders, palms facing out. Squat down, pushing your glutes back. Return to standing and repeat.
Works the gluteus medius
TO DO: Secure one end of the band in a doorjamb (or tie to a sturdy object). Loop the other end around your left ankle. While squeezing the glutes on your right side, hike your left hip up, and then lift your left leg out to the side. Lower that leg; repeat on the other side.
Works the arms and shoulders to improve running posture
TO DO: Insert centre of the band in a doorjamb (or tie to a sturdy object). Hold both ends of the band. Alternate bending and straightening your elbows to pump your arms as if you were running. If too easy, stand on one leg as you pump.
Running coach Janet Hamilton recommends buying a variety of resistance bands so you have options. A heavier resistance is optimal for a squat, and lighter resistance for an arm swing, for example.Watch a video demo at runnersworldmag.com.au/video.