These are the top banded strength training exercises recommended by running coaches.
Despite the general consensus that strength training makes runners faster, more efficient, and less prone to injury, many still skip the weight room or half-heartedly crank out a few reps of biceps curls and call it a day. The reasons vary; gyms can feel crowded or intimidating, some of us prefer to stay outside, and at-home weight sets are expensive and space-consuming.
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Resistance bands snap back against all these excuses. They’re relatively cheap—you can buy a complete set for the price of one lightweight dumbbell. They take up minimal space, which makes them easy to store at home, tuck into a travel bag, or bring to the park. And, most importantly, they’re incredibly versatile. Constructed from flexible latex that’s color-coded according to its thickness, bands are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Smaller bands are typically looped around the limbs and used to add resistance or feedback to bodyweight moves, while larger bands can be used in place of weights or anchored for pulling, pushing, and isometric movements. When it comes to training with resistance bands, progression and regression are pretty simple: Beginners should start with a lighter band that offers less resistance and level up as their strength increases. Advanced athletes should challenge themselves with a thicker, heavier band.
There are hundreds of exercises runners can do with just a few different brands, but, to get you started, we asked three running coaches to share their favorites. Here are their top eight recommendations.
How to use this list: Review the exercises below as demonstrated by Bradford Shreve, certified personal trainer at Life Time Athletic at Sky in New York. Perform each move according to the reps and sets instructed for a killer total-body workout or perform the Lateral Banded Walk, Banded Squat With Leg Lift, Plank Row, and Star Jacks as a pre-run warm-up.