4 easy ways to build leg strength

Your powerful pins will only carry you so far simply by running. If you want to get further and go faster, improving leg strength will put you right on track to that next PB.

4 easy ways to build leg strength

Build on the base you already have and take the time to give your leg muscles a shape-up. If you spend some time each week building leg strength then before you know it you'll be side-swerving injuries, getting faster and feeling stronger over all.  

Head for the hills

A key training session in any runner's weekly routine should be a hill session, or hill sprints, to be precise. It's a guaranteed way to work various lower body muscles as you focus on both upward and downhill reps. These gradient filled sessions build strength as your legs work harder and propel you forwards, thanks to natural resistance and gravity.

According to exercise physiologist Kenneth G. Harper Hill, we use both a greater number of muscles and a greater amount of muscle fibres on hills as our body exerts more force, as opposed to flat surfaces. Not only will they build strength, hill sprints will also improve your power, anaerobic capacity and speed. So get high, get that blood pumping, and make your legs, heart and body more powerful. Read more hill technique tips here

Use your bodyweight

One of the simplest ways to improve your strength is right in front of you. Bodyweight exercises should not be overlooked when it comes to improving strength. Whether it’s a fat-burning HIIT workout or a simple bodyweight circuit, using your own weight as your gym has endless benefits. Not only can you target specific muscle groups, it's free, functional, and you can do it anywhere.

Work some simple exercises into your every day routine with our 5 bodyweight exercises

Hit the stairs

Another power-packed freebie for your workout routine is the stairs! Easy to access and a guaranteed strength builder, heading up (and down) stairs will get your legs and your heart pumping with some vertical velocity, whether it's a lunchtime sprint in the office or a quick set in the hallway at home.  

As you traverse up each step, your muscles are forced to resist gravity and move vertically, so they push harder with every step. Your balance will also get some grafting as you're forced to activate and push off one leg at a time.

Working it on the stairs also improves your run-loving V02 max as your heart rate is forced to accelerate, making you breathe faster to take in more oxygen. Opting for the stairs over the lift is starting to make perfect sense.

Embrace the gym

Working out will benefit your running, especially if it involves adding some iron into your routine. Lunging with a kettlebell to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps, or squatting with a barbell free-weights will not only give you more power, but correct any muscular imbalances that may be lurking in your limbs.

Give our four great kettlebell exercises for runners a go!

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