Essential Balance Exercises for Runners
As a runner, you might be focusing hard on your long runs, speed workouts, and building endurance along with lower body strength. While all of these are important to ensure injury-free and efficient running, balance training exercises are workouts that play a significant role in improving running performance.
Balance training can help improve your ability to maintain posture and movement. Additionally, it can aid in maintaining a support base for the body. If you are still wondering about the benefits of balance training for runners and why you should include it in your workout program, we have covered the points in our previous article. If you are curious to know about the different balance training workouts for runners, read on.
Balance training exercises for runners
Here are a few exercises that can help you improve your balance and stability while running. It is advisable to perform these workouts thrice a week.
1. Single leg balance
This is the most basic balance training workout. To do the single leg balance exercise, you need to use firm and level ground and stand on one leg. You may want to move the other leg back to stay in a runner’s stance. Practice holding this position for up to 30 seconds. Once you have managed to reach this point, close your eyes, and work towards the same target of 30 seconds.
2. Single-leg knee to chest
This is one of the best exercises for balance training. It is akin to the butt stretch in a standing position. Use a stable surface and balance on your left leg. Now, bend the right leg at the knee and bring the knee to the chest. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat this sequence with the other leg. Do a total of 10 reps for each leg.
3. Hip/leg swings
Use a stable surface and balance on your left leg. Now, raise the right leg at the hip and swing it forward. Do this 10 times and repeat with the other leg.
4. Single-leg squat and reach
This exercise is similar to the single-leg forward bend with a challenge. To perform this leg workout for runners, use firm footing and balance on your right leg. Place a cone about 2 feet away from your feet. Now, bend the left leg at the knee, so that the foot is off the ground. Squat down on the right leg and reach with your left hand to touch the cone. Do 10 reps and switch to do the same for the other side.
5. Walking calf raise
Find a stable surface and take a step forward with your left leg. Place the foot firmly on the ground while you bring the right leg forward and raise the knee at 90°. Simultaneously, do a calf raise on the left leg, which is in the standing position. Immediately, bring the right leg forward and repeat this action as a walking sequence. Do about five to 10 times for each leg.
Balance training exercises for runners will improve your ability to move easily on different or uneven surfaces. Moreover, a lack of stability may compromise your gait and increase your risk of injury. Balance is a complex combination of muscle strength and coordination. It is essential to make balance training a part of your training and incorporate it into your overall schedule.