How to strengthen legs for running

How to strengthen legs for running - main image

Are you an aspiring long-distance runner looking to maintain or improve your running performance and running form? Well, you need stronger legs!

You’ll avoid muscle fatigue, and you’ll be able to run for longer. Here are 3 leg-strengthening exercises for runners’ training programs that are sure to help you run with explosive power.

Forward lunge stand

How to do a lunge - main image

Let’s start with a nice and easy-forward lunge. Not only is this a great exercise for stretching out your glutes and hamstrings, but it also strengthens them along with your core muscles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

Then, step one leg forward, keeping your hips facing forward for proper form. Keep the leg you’ve stepped forward parallel to the floor as you bend your knee – your knee on your other leg should be bent too and on the floor.

Return to a standing position by stepping forward so that your back leg comes in line with your leading leg. Then switch legs, repeating the exercise at least 20 times. You’ll find yourself moving forward. You can also try the reverse lunge (stepping and walking backward) for a fun alternative.

Split squat

You’ve heard of the squat position, and that’s great for working almost all of the muscles in the lower body. But, as Joe Warner from Coach Magazine says,

.”.…by adopting a split stance you place the focus on one side of the body at a time. This means you can identify and then work on any strength imbalances in your body, so that when you return to standard squats, both sides of the body are pulling their weight, so to speak.”

Step forwards with your back heel raised, so your foot is supported by your toes. Keep your shoulders back, and make sure you look forward, with your chest and chin raised slightly. Bend the knee on the front leg as you lower slowly until your back knee nearly touches the floor. Keeping your core engaged, stand tall again.

Do the two leg exercises we’ve mentioned sound similar? They are! The main difference is that instead of moving forward, you return to the same starting position. Add weight in the form of a barbell to incorporate it into your strength training.

Invisible chair

This one is great for your posterior chain as well as leg strength because it works by activating the glutes. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your feet forward. Your left foot should be in line with your right foot. Slowly lower yourself into a seated position, keeping your torso upright. Remain there for 20 seconds before returning to standing.


There are so many bodyweight exercises that you can incorporate into your routine. If you incorporate these into your routine, you’re sure to have bigger leg muscles and improve your leg power.


What are the best leg exercises for me?

There is no one size fits all – it all depends on what feels right to you!

Do I need any other equipment?

If you have an exercise mat, dumbbells and a resistance band, you can add these into your routine, but they’re not essential.

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