10 physio-approved exercises for runners that will help you build strength and mobility

Strengthen your legs and core with this functional workout

Woman exercising with medicine ball in gym
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Improving your running performance isn’t just about clocking mile after mile. Of course, this helps, but it’s not the only way.  Strength training is also key. From improved performance to preventing injuries, strength training for runners is as important as lacing up your trainers and hitting the pavement. 

Leg (obviously) and core strength play a big part in running performance. You need to keep your legs strong and injury-free to carry your body through each mile you run, and building core strength will help to improve your form, speed, and reduce the risk of common running-related injuries.

That’s why we love this routine from physiotherapist Tash Gale. It focuses on functional exercises for a stronger core and legs as well as improved mobility.

Functional training is a type of fitness you need to support everyday movement such as sitting, standing, and lifting. 

You’ll need a range of equipment—dumbbells (or adjustable dumbbells), a barbell and resistance bands—for all the moves so it’s probably one to save for your next gym day.  

Watch Tash Gale’s runner’s strength workout

@galephysio

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Gale recommends performing 8-12 reps of each exercise. Repeat this for two or three sets for a full workout.

Why should runners strength train?

Incorporating regular strength training into your running plan is important. Your weekly miles help you build endurance and improve your aerobic capacity, but strength training will help you run for longer and keep injuries at bay. 

Exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts will strengthen your leg muscles. Building the powerhouse of the body (the core muscle) will help your whole body hold its stability and posture, making your running more efficient as your spine and back are better supported.

If you’re looking to improve your running, Fit&Well has a huge catalog of advice and tips. Try these three core exercises for runners and don’t forget to strengthen your hips too. 

Need some new running apparel? Have a read through our guide to the best running shoes for men

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 


Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors, Metro.co.uk, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.