Since we are supported on a single leg while running, it’s important to work on balance, strength and stabilization. When training on a single leg, we are also able to engage smaller muscles such as the gluteus medius and abductors which may not be fully activated in dual leg exercises.

These exercises will teach your hips and ankles to stay stable and square through all of the weight transfer that occurs when you run. Practicing and mastering bodyweight movements on a single support can greatly increase your body awareness, strength and running economy!

 

Rear Elevated Single Leg Split Squat: Squats could be considered the foundational exercise for runners. This variation works on balance as well as engaging the gluteus medius muscle – helpful to those who are plagued by IT Band and other knee issues.
3 x 10 Reps/Side

How: Get in a staggered stance with your feet hip-width apart, your back foot elevated behind you on a bench. Lower your torso straight down toward the floor, bending your knees and allowing a slight hinge at the hips. When your front leg is parallel to the floor, pause, then press through your heel to return to start.

Single Leg Deadlift: Since most runners tend to be quad-dominant, single-leg deadlifts can help activate those glute muscles.
3 x 10 Reps/Side

How: Stand tall. Engage your core by drawing your belly button inwards, and gently squeeze your glutes. Maintain a soft bend in the standing knee. Keeping your back straight, shoulders back and chest open, slowly push your hanging leg back to near horizontal as you reach your hands to your toes, with straight arms. Make sure the hinge comes from your hips, rather than rounding forwards, flexing through your spine. From the lowest point, consciously squeeze your butt to engage your glutes in working alongside your hamstrings to bring you back to the upright start position.

Single Leg Calf Raise: Often, we work our other leg muscles and forget about our calves. Strengthening your calves can help increase endurance for long training runs.
3 x 10 Reps/Side

How: With a wall or chair to hold onto for balance, slowly rise to your toes on one foot and then lower back down.