Some runners don’t bother with strength work, but working on key areas such as your glutes and hip muscles will allow you to run faster for longer, while reducing your risk of injury.

“Most runners have one leg that’s slightly stronger than the other, which can have a negative effect on performance,” says running coach George Anderson, who runs the training, nutrition and lifestyle website intelligentrunning.com.

“These single-leg exercises will ensure both sides of your body develop at the same rate.”

The best time to do this workout is when you’ve just come back from a shortish run, because your muscles will be warmed up.

  • Do three sets of each exercise, with a 30-second rest between sets.
  • Take a one-minute rest before going on to the next move. 

“Start with the beginner reps and durations for each exercise,” says Anderson, “and only move to the next level once you can complete the whole circuit with ease.

“For best results, I recommend doing the workout two to three times a week.”

Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK

1. Clock Mobiliser 

Beginner: 5 reps each leg
Intermediate: 10 reps each leg
Advanced: 15 reps each leg

  • Stand on your left foot and imagine you’re at the centre of a clock.
  • Rotating your hip, tap your right foot on the ground at one o’clock then seven o’clock and hold for 10 secs.
  • Mirror your foot’s movement with your right arm.

Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK

2. Single-Leg Squat 

Beginner: 10 reps each leg
Intermediate: 15 reps each leg
Advanced: 20 reps each leg

  • Balance on one foot and squat as low as you can while making sure your knee doesn’t go in front of your toes.
  • Pause at the bottom then push back up through your heel, squeezing your glutes as you go.

Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK

3. Curtsy Lunge 

Beginner: 30 sec hold each leg
Intermediate: 45 sec hold each leg
Advanced: 1 min hold each leg

  • Stand tall and step back with one foot so your feet are in line, one behind the other.
  • Lower like a curtsy, hold for the amount of time indicated, then drive back up again through your front heel.

Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK

4. Assisted Pistol Squat

Beginner: 3 reps each leg
Intermediate: 5 reps each leg
Advanced: 8 reps each leg

  • Holding suspension trainer handles, stand on one leg and raise the other in front of you.
  • Lower as far as possible, keeping your raised foot off the floor.
  • Push through your heel to return to the start.
  • Try not to lift with your arms.

Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK

5. Single-Leg Hip Hinge 

Beginner: 30 secs hold each leg
Intermediate: 45 secs hold each leg
Advanced: 1 min hold each leg

  • Stand with one foot in front of the other, then lift your back leg straight out behind you.
  • Push your bum out, keep your back as flat as possible and lower yourself until your thigh is at 45˚ to your torso.
  • Hold for the amount of time indicated, then return to the start.

Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK Lower-Body Workout For Runners: Improve Single-Leg Strength | Men's Fitness UK

6. Single-Leg Hop-Up

Beginner: 10 reps each leg
Intermediate: 10 reps each leg using a slightly higher platform
Advanced: 10 reps each leg using an even higher platform

  • Stand on one leg in front of a step.
  • With your arms behind you, lower into a squat and hop on to the step.
  • Pause to get your balance, then step back down and repeat with the other leg.  

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