ASK ANDY: "Is there such a factor as a strenuous leg exercise for runners?"

It's marathon season when hundreds of thousands of my fitness friends run marathons in Chicago, Boston, New York, and many other places around the world. I love leg training questions for runners because it implies that the person asking the question already understands the truth about strength training and running – it helps, not hurts!

There is a long-standing myth that runners shouldn't do resistance training with their lower body, and it just isn't true. Building strength and strength in muscle groups such as the buttocks, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves not only improves performance, but also helps prevent injury.

As a footballer, I understand that well; It was only recently that soccer players and physical therapists realized that weight training can help them play better for longer.

That said, I have a functional leg workout for runners that I call Three-Way Athletic Lunges. It is important that all athletes remember to exercise all three planes of motion so that their muscles prepare for the unpredictability of the sport. Here's the workout – and fair warning, it isn't going to sound like a killer. But give it a try and let me know in the next few days how much you are sore.

Leg training for runners: Athletic lunges in three directions

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ROUND 1:

1. Lunge front:

A. 6 reps (each leg)

B. These are "normal" lunges that work in the sagittal plane (left and right side of the body)

2. Side lunge:

A. 6 reps (each leg)

B. Working in the frontal plane (front and back of the body)

3. Lunge in the back 45 degree area:

A. 6 reps (each leg)

B. Working in the transverse plane (upper and lower body)

ROUND 2:

1. Lunge forward with pounding on the floor, then throw hands in the sky (adds gradual resistance to the explosiveness of the forefoot push-off)

A. 6 reps (each leg) in the sagittal plane

B. Tap the ground in front of your front foot with both hands, then throw both hands in the sky as you return that foot to the starting position.

2. Side lunge with pounding on the floor, then throwing hands in the sky

A. 6 reps (each leg) in the frontal plane

B. Tap the ground in front of your front foot with both hands, then throw both hands in the sky as you return that foot to the starting position.

3. 45 degree lunge backwards with floor tapping, then throwing hands in the sky

A. 6 reps (each leg), transverse plane

B. Tap the ground in front of your front foot with both hands, then throw both hands in the sky as you return that foot to the starting position.

ROUND 3:

1. Lunge forwards with tapping on the floor, then "throw" a light weight into the sky (a light dumbbell, kettlebell, plate increases the explosiveness of pushing off the front foot)

A. 6 reps (each leg) in the sagittal plane

B. Both weights tap the ground in front of your front foot, then toss both hands in the sky as you return that foot to the starting position.

2. Side lunges with floor tapping and then throwing a light weight into the sky

A. 6 reps (each leg), frontal plane

B. Both weights tap the ground in front of your front foot, then toss both hands in the sky as you return that foot to the starting position.

3. 45 degree back dropouts with floor tapping and then throwing a light weight into the sky

A. 6 reps (each leg) working the transverse plane

B. Both weights tap the ground in front of your front foot, then toss both hands in the sky as you return that foot to the starting position.

To make sense of what I'm talking about, here is a retro video I made in the early days of YouTube showing those multiplanar lunges with weights.

Include this leg workout for runners in your training program. At first you'll be sore, I promise. But soon all athletes will adapt and become stronger, faster and more resilient thanks to this unique lower body workout.

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