It used to be thought that to be a better runner you just needed to run more. But these days, many running coaches say it’s all about cross training. “When you run a lot—whether you go for long distances or just rack up miles throughout the year—your body can break down and you can get injured,” says Alex Morrow, a personal trainer, running coach, and the owner of Resolute Running in Birmingham, Alabama. “That’s why you need to stay strong. By strength training, you’ll be likelier to keep proper form, lower your risk for injury, and find yourself able to run faster and further.”
If you have access to a TRX Suspension Trainer, a workout system made up of two straps that hang from an anchor point (like a wall, door, or bar), you can work your entire body—especially your core. “For a runner, the core is your powerhouse, so the fact that the TRX focuses on that area makes it ideal,” says Morrow. “Plus, TRX exercises often have an element of imbalance to them. The more you do them, the better able you are to stabilize your body—a skill crucial to running.”
TRX Exercises for Runners
The following four TRX Suspension Trainer moves build muscle essential for better running form and injury prevention. Start with three sets of five reps and work your way up to three sets of 10 reps of each of these exercises.
TRX Single-Leg Squat
Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings
Start in a standing position, holding a handle in each hand. Bend right knee slightly and lift left leg out straight in front of you a few inches off the ground. Squat down, holding left foot off the ground and keeping your chest up and core engaged. Make sure your right knee stays over your right ankle (don’t let the knee go too far forward). Push through your right leg to return to standing. Finish all reps on one leg before switching to the other. If you want to make this move a little easier, bend the front leg or allow that leg’s heel to rest on the ground.
TRX Cross-Balance Lunge
Targets: gluteus medius (the outside of hip)
Start in a standing position, holding a handle in each hand. Step diagonally back with your right foot so it lands behind and slightly outside your left leg. Lower down (as if you’re doing a curtsy) until your left thigh is parallel with the floor. Stand back up and repeat all reps on one leg before switching to the other.
TRX Oblique Crunch
Targets: core—especially obliques—shoulders, arms
Start in a plank position, with hands under your shoulders, back straight, core engaged, and feet in the cradle of the handles. From there, keep your feet together and pull knees directly to your chest, then push them right back out without letting your hips sag. Next, pull your knees up at an angle towards your right elbow. Then, pull them up at an angle towards your left elbow. That counts as one rep.
TRX Suspended Lunge
Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors
Stand facing away from the wall with right foot in both cradles. Sit down into a single-leg lunge, keeping left shin as perpendicular to the floor as possible. Lower down until your right knee is almost touching the ground, then, pushing through your heels, rise back up. Keep chest upright, core engaged, and shoulders back the entire time. Repeat all reps on one leg before switching to the other.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.