Running is much more than a fitness regime for some people. It is a way of life- something that gives the runners joy and satisfaction. For some runners, running is a stress buster. Some people find happiness in running while some others consider it to be an inseparable part of their life. Whatever your reason for running is, it is important to understand that if you want to include running in your daily routine, you must not ignore a resistance band for running.
A resistance band for running will make sure that you run longer and stronger. Without the strength enhancement provided by these bands, you won’t be able to continue running for a long period, and definitely won’t be able to make it your routine.
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Resistance Bands: A Quick Rundown
Very much as their name suggests, resistance bands are long, thin and strong flat rubber bands that stretch as you apply force to them. They come in different degrees of stretching and hence require a different amount of force to flex them. These bands are color coded to make it easier for the user to differentiate between the various types. The yellow or green ones are usually the starting bands, as these require less force to stretch.
Some of the features that make these bands so awesome are:
- You can perform almost all strength enhancing exercises with a single resistance band for running.
- You don’t have to go to the gym for using these bands.
- There is no need for any additional equipment or tool when you are using resistance bands.
- These bands are very good for targeting the muscles that are actively used in running.
- These bands are a great way to tone up the connective tissue in the body.
- They are lightweight, easy to store and easy to carry.
- They are inexpensive compared to other exercise equipment and tools.
Benefits of Resistance Bands for Running
Resistance bands are the simplest kind of resistance running equipment that a runner can opt for. The primary purpose of a resistance band is to provide strength training to the runners so that they are less prone to injury and have higher endurance. Basically, a resistance band for running will do the following:
- It will ameliorate an imbalance of muscles, that will, in turn, result in higher resistance to injuries.
- It specifically targets muscles that are most involved in running, for example, calves, glutes, and quads.
Resistance Band Exercises
Now that you know how awesome these resistance bands are, it is time to know about some resistance band exercises that are important for a runner.
Never mind the name, this exercise will prove to be very useful for you because this targets the hip muscles and the entire lower body. These regions are the most vulnerable to injury while running, and doing monster stepping with a resistance band for speed training will be extremely beneficial.
For this exercise, you should loop one resistance band for running around both your ankles (and another around both your knees, if you want). Make sure that the bands are taut when you space your feet away at hip distance. Squat a little and try to step forward and bend out to that side at approximately 45 degrees. Repeat for each foot alternately until you have covered about 20 feet.
Single Leg Stand With Eversion Perturbation
This exercise is extremely beneficial for strengthening the general muscles of the ankles and especially good for runners. You do this exercise by fastening one end of the resistance band to a fixed point and the other end looped around your right ankle. Make sure that the band is taut on your right throughout.
Stand on your right leg and maintain balance for about a minute. You may choose to close your eyes. Repeat for the other leg and keep alternating the legs.
A very simple modification in this exercise is the single leg stand with inversion perturbation where the taut band is on the left side when looped on the right ankle and vice versa for the left ankle.
Dorsiflexion is the upward or backward flexion of your foot. It is a great way to strengthen the lower extremities of the body for running. There is a direct implication of ankle resistance band exercises for speed, and ankle dorsiflexion is one of the most useful among such exercises. For this exercise, you have to sit down on a mat and extend your knees.
Wrap the middle of your resistance band around one foot and hold the handle firmly. Push your foot away body as much as you can. Return to its original position gradually. Repeat for the alternate foot for a total of 12 repetitions for each foot.
This exercise with a resistance band for running is for targeting the gluteal muscles. You perform this exercise by placing the resistance band below both feet and holding it with both hands to make a taut loop.
Make sure that the knees and toes are in line and facing front, and the feet are shoulder width apart. You should then squat as if you are sitting down, hold the position for a few seconds and then return to the original position.
Sidestepping is a great way to get your hip abductors working. In fact, weak hip muscles are responsible for many knee injuries associated with running. Therefore, sidestepping is one of the resistance band exercises for knee pain.
You can loop the resistance band either above or below your knees or around your ankles. Bend your knees slightly and keep your feet apart at hip width. Step on your right side, firmly placing your right heel on the ground and then pulling your left foot over to have your feet at hip width again.
Repeat this for about 12 times each side. As you get habituated, you should increase the resistance and the number of steps each side.
Hip Adduction Exercises
Hip muscles are very important to runners and are also the ones to be overlooked. Hip adduction exercise with a resistance band for running can tremendously help runners.
You start by fastening the band to a fixed point at ankle level, the other end of the band is looped around your ankle that is on the side of the band. Keep your other foot slightly back to allow the other foot to move. Hold a firm chair as balance.
Keep your knees straight and pull the looped ankle towards the chair and hold this position for a few seconds before returning to your original position. Repeat as long as you don’t get tired. Then do the same for the other ankle.
These exercises are a great way to use a resistance band for running. These kickbacks specifically target your hamstrings and butt muscles. You have to loop the resistance band above your left ankle and fix the handle to an immovable point, as you face a sturdy chair or wall.
Slightly bend your right knee and lift your left foot in a kickback motion. Hold for a moment as far as you can take it, and then gradually bring it back to its original position. Repeat for 10 times before going over to the other ankle. Please ensure that your body doesn’t rock forward as you do this exercise.
Exercises with Bundled Bands
Your general ankle musculature can be strengthened greatly by doing exercises with bundled resistance bands. You should bundle up the band and stand on it with your right leg. Maintain balance in this position for about a minute before going back to your normal standing position. The difficulty may be increased by closing your eyes in the balancing position. This is known as the single leg stand on the bundled cord.
Another modification of this exercise is the single heel on the bundled cord and involves balancing on only the heel of one foot instead of the whole foot. Repeat as above.
Squatting with Resistance Band
This form of resistance band workouts is one of the most popular exercises for the strengthening of glutes, quads and calves. Regular squatting with resistance bands is a great way to ensure a fine tuning of your entire lower body.
Stand on one band with both feet apart at shoulder length. Squat down to grab the handles of the resistance band and stand up straight so that the handles are at your shoulder level. Then, bend your hips as if you are going to sit on a chair. Make sure that your knees and toes stay in one line throughout this exercise.
One Leg Romanian Deadlift
This exercise involves standing with a resistance band wrapped around your foot or pole (of you wrap it around a pole, make sure it is well stretched) and your knees slightly bent. You should hold the handles, one in each hand. With your waist as the hinge, bend forward and lower the handles as your banded leg raises behind you. Repeat for few times on one leg before switching over to the other leg.
Another great way to utilise your resistance band for running is to do clams. This form of exercise will tone out your thighs, glutes and hip flexors. You have to lay on your side, rest your head on your hand or forearm. Keep your legs in line with each other, one on top of the other, knees slightly bent.
Loop the band around your knees and lift the top knee away from the other knee as it stays firmly on the ground. Keep your feet together. Hold this position for a few seconds before gradually returning to your original position. Repeat for few times before switching sides.
This is a great exercise to strengthen your gastrocnemius muscles. This exercise with a resistance band for running is done by looping the band around your right shoulder and your right fore-foot. Then you stand on your right foot placed flat on the ground and lift the heel up. Hold for a few seconds before coming back to the original position. Alternate for each leg for a total of 10 times per leg.
This exercise with your resistance band will target your gluteal muscles. You should lie on your back with your knees stretched. Loop the resistance band around your waist and wrists and make sure that your palms are facing down.
Lift up your buttocks, hold for a while and then gradually return to the resting position.
This is the most common form of exercise with a resistance band for running, and targets the quadriceps and gluteal muscles specifically. For this exercise, you have to fasten one end of the band securely to a fixed point and the other end of the band should be around your waist.
Stand with your feet about 3 feet apart, one in front and the other at the back, in a straight line. Bend both knees and lower your body on towards the front knee, hold this position for some time before returning to the original standing position. Repeat ten times on each side.
This exercise is also great for your quads and gluteal muscles, and it integrates very well in your routine of resistance band workouts. This exercise is pretty similar to the static lunge described above. The only difference is that you stand with both feet apart at shoulder width.
Step forward with one leg about 3 feet ahead of the other leg, bend your knees and lower your body towards the leg in front. Alternate between the legs for a total of ten times per leg.
This is another simple modification to the lunges mentioned above. Start by fastening one end of the band to a fixed point and the other end to your waist. Stand with your feet apart at shoulder distance. Instead of moving forward, you should step to the side, in a way that the moving leg is bent but the fixed leg is straight. Repeat this for ten times before switching legs.
Walkouts and Jogouts
These exercises with a resistance band for running provide an overall strengthening with a special focus on the knees. You should fasten one end of a low resistance band to a fixed point such as a door handle, and the other end should be looped around your waist.
Walk or jog a few steps ahead till you feel the resistance of the band breaking your walk or jog. Then walk or jog backwards in the direction of the pull by the band. Repeat as much as you can without getting tired.
A simple modification in this exercise is the backwards walkouts and backwards jogouts in which you face the fixed end of the band as you walk or jog backwards.
Benefits of Resistance Band Workouts
Because resistance bands can be integrated to a lot of exercises, they are a very easy addition to your exercise regimen. Resistance band exercises for runners can help build strength in the muscles that are especially involved in running. This will make sure that the runner experiences lesser injuries and can run for longer. Resistance band workouts for men and women make running a more fulfilling experience.
There is no use of running when your body is prone to injuries. Using a resistance band will make your body stronger and allow you to run uninterrupted. So, the next time you run, make sure that you supplement it with some of the exercises with a resistance band for running. These are sure to enhance your running experience and make you more resistant to injuries that commonly affect untrained runners. Let us know which exercises you would like to include in your routine and how these exercises helped you in building strength in your running muscles.