Six exercises all runners should be doing, according to a physical therapist

Fend off injuries and improve your running form with these six moves

Woman doing dumbbell exercise outside
(Image credit: Alamy)

If you haven’t caught on yet, strength training and running go hand in hand. No matter how much you’d rather be outdoors clocking miles, gym time can make all the difference to keeping your body strong and injury-free.

Spending time strengthening your legs, core, and upper body can reduce the risk of common running-related injuries. If you don’t know where to start, we recommend this routine from physiotherapist Tash Gale.  

Watch Tash Gale’s workout for runners


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There are six moves in the routine and you’ll need minimal gym equipment to do it: a dumbbell, a step, and a small exercise ball. 

Gale recommends that runners strength-train between one and three times a week (depending on your training capacity) to help avoid injuries.

Each of the exercises in this routine strengthens the muscles you use while running, which helps to improve your load tolerance as well as your running technique. 

There are no given sets or repetitions (reps), but in other similar videos by Gale, she suggests eight to 12 reps and three or four sets. 

If you’re not sure what dumbbell weight to use for the step-ups and Bulgarian split squats, aim for a load that challenges you, but not to the extent that you’re struggling to complete the reps. 

Benefits of strength training for runners

If you’re a runner who is looking to get faster, stronger, and run for longer, then the answer lies in strength training. It increases your muscle strength, which in turn increases your power. It also reduces your risk of injury by increasing the stability of your joints and helping to correct muscle imbalances—all this helps to keep issues of overuse at bay.

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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,, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.