Isometric Exercises for Runners: Build Foundational Running Strength


If you thought that only dynamic exercises are good for strength and endurance, we must tell you that you are mistaken. If you are a runner looking to improve your strength, you need to look to isometric exercises to help you improve your running while coincidingly improving your strength.

Isometric exercises are a type of exercise that only focuses on a specific group of muscles, which means that the muscles do not change during the workout. 

But that does not mean that dynamic exercises are not good for building and maintaining strength. Some high-intensity workouts can really pump up the endurance and help build up the overall strength.  

What are the benefits of isometric exercises? 

To really understand what the isometric exercises are and how beneficial they can be to your running performance, let’s take one isometric exercise as an example – the plank. 

The plank is an exercise that supports your entire body on just your forearms and toes, and it includes virtually all significant muscles a runner needs – abs, thighs, glutes, and back. If you have ever done a plank, you must know how difficult it is to hold yourself for even 30 seconds. As you hold the pose, you are building muscular endurance, which is really effective, especially for your core muscles

One other benefit of isometrics is improved posture. Because you have to hold a certain position for each exercise, especially if you try to hold as better posture as you can, that will make your entire body hold a healthy posture during your daily life, as well as during your runs. And good posture means that you have lower chances of injury, as well as improved running performance. 

What exercises to do?

Here are some isometric exercises that will increase your running endurance by strengthening your major muscles. 

If you form a habit out of doing these exercises regularly, then you will definitely be able to see the progress quite quickly. 

You do not need to hold any of the exercises for too long, just three to four rounds of 30 seconds will be more than enough to make your progress apparent. 

Static lunge

This exercise targets quads, glutes, and calves. 

Stand with feet about hip-width apart, and then step forward with your right leg making sure that your calf is at a 90-degree angle with the floor. Keep the proper posture by keeping your back straight, chest up, and your hands on your hips. Sink a bit deeper into your lunges and hold for 30 seconds. 

Then, get back to the standing position and switch sides. Repeat for three to four times on each leg. You should feel the burn even after the first round. 

Isometric Calf Raises

Having strong calves is an essential thing in running. Although calf raises probably were not high on your list of exercises, they should be. Calf raises are the best way to include all calf muscles in your workout. 

Stand on the edge of a static box. If you need balance help, try holding to the wall or a sturdy object nearby. Raise yourself to the top of your toes and hold the position for a full minute and then return to the standing position. 

Remember to give your best to hold the position for as long as you can, the burning in your legs is welcome, it means that the exercise is working. 

Isometric Wall Chair

Wall chair is probably one of the best lower body exercises because it builds strength and endurance in glutes, calves, and quads. 

Stand tall in front of the wall- approximately 2 feet away from it. Then, lower yourself to a sitting position with arms across your chest. Keep in mind that your thighs should be parallel to the ground. Hold the position for a minute and then slowly return to the standing position. 

 If you are some form of superhuman and you find this exercise too easy, try lifting your right and then your left leg while holding the position. 

Forearm Plank

We already talked about why plank is an effective exercise, but most of the people do not do it properly. When you are planking, try keeping your back straight and tightening your abs. That is when you will feel the burn. 

Many other isometric exercises can improve your running endurance, such as hamstrings exercises with Activ5. Remember that regular exercise is crucial to strengthening your muscles.