Alex Parren, personal trainer, nutritionist, and running coach with over 6 years experience in the fitness industry suggests some essential techniques for runners using resistance bands.
As a runner, along with performance-focused goals one of your biggest objectives should be staying injury-free and being able to run comfortably without pain. As well as keeping your body strong by lifting weights, it’s important to work on strengthening weaknesses and fixing imbalances with focused exercises.
These resistance band exercises will work on parts of the body that are often neglected by runners, such as the arch of the foot and supporting muscles such as the gluteus medius, so that you can improve your running form and be a better runner than ever.
Squats are one of the best exercises out there for any athlete as they recruit multiple muscle groups and work the legs and glutes effectively. By adding a resistance band to your squats, you can make sure all muscles are firing properly and by pushing your knees out against the band, you will be encouraging proper form and forcing inactive muscles to work.
How to perform Banded Squats:
- Place the resistance band just above your knees.
- Stand with your feet wider than hip width with your toes turned slightly out. Before you lower into your squat, push your knees out against the resistance band.
- Lower into a controlled squat, making sure to keep pressure against the band throughout the entire move.
- You may feel your knees wanting to drive inwards as you stand back up – by making sure you keep pushing out against the band, you will be ensuring your glutes activate properly and support you as you rise out of the squat.
Clamshells are becoming a popular exercise for PTs and coaches to recommend as they are a great way to strengthen the hips, glutes, and pelvis as well as helping to reduce lower back pain through strengthening the core and lower back muscles.
How to perform Clamshells:
- Lie on your side and place the resistance band just above your knees.
- Bend your knees at a 45 degree angle with your legs stacked one on top of the other.
- Bend your elbow to support your head like in a side plank, using the other arm to steady yourself.
- Before you begin, make sure your body is straight and that one hip isn’t behind the other.
- Engage your core and raise your upper knee as high as it will go while keeping your feet firmly together. Don’t move your lower leg off the floor and keep your body aligned.
- Carefully lower your knee back to its starting position. That’s one rep, try 10-15 reps on each side.
Monster Walks use the resistance band to its full potential by offering constant tension in the lower body throughout the exercise. They may look a little odd, but they are an excellent way to fire up your glutes and add stability to your running stride.
How to perform Monster Walks:
- Place the resistance band just above your knees. If you want to increase the challenge, you can add another resistance band around your ankles.
- Bend your knees slightly into a quarter-squat and push out against the band.
- Take a step forward but with a very wide stance, so your foot will plant wider than hip width and you feel the full weight of tension with the band.
- Continue walking forward in this way, one leg after the other, while maintaining the quarter squat position.
- Make sure you can feel your glutes – especially the outer sides – firing hard throughout the exercise.
Banded Toe Taps
This exercise takes patience and concentration and will reward you with improved balance and stability, a stronger foot arch, and a coordinated body for optimum running form.
How to perform Banded Toe Taps:
- Place the resistance band just above the knees and push out against it.
- Shift your weight onto one leg and bend the knee slightly. You may already feel your foot arch working overtime to keep you balanced.
- While balancing on your standing leg, tap the other leg out in front of you, then out to the side, and then behind. You can tap it on the floor for balance in between each tap or keep it elevated for a harder challenge.
- One you have repeated this 10 times, swap to the other leg.
About the author: Alex Parren is a qualified personal trainer, nutritionist, and running coach with over 6 years experience in the fitness industry. When not writing about fitness and health for leading publications, Alex can be found exploring the trails in the south of England. About Meglio: Meglio is a leading supplier of fitness and physiotherapy equipment designed to keep your body happy and healthy.