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3 Exercises for Better Running Strength

DVRT Master, Annmarie Licatese


I’ve said it before.  In fact, I have said it more times than I can count but I truly believe that if you want to run faster and make running feel easier than you absolutely HAVE to strength training.  

That being said, making your way from machine to machine at the gym isn’t the answer. Not only is it boring (in my opinion) but it is also not productive.  If you really want to make strength training work for you and your running goals then there are more specific exercises you should be doing instead.  

While there are a handful of different exercises you could do that would be beneficial, there are at least 3 that you MUST do if you really want to make running feel easier.  These exercises all focus on unilateral (single-side) training which helps to improve both sprinting speed and endurance because it demands more from the neuromuscular system in terms of stability.  

In order to really get the most of these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training exercises, be sure to incorporate them into your routine using the Ultimate Sandbag at least two days a week.


Ultimate Sandbag Training Sprinter Stance Squat.

  • How to do it: Get into regular squatting stance then move one foot back so that the toes line up with the heel of the opposite foot.  Apply pressure to the ball of the rear foot while keeping heel off the ground. Descend into squat position allowing hips to sit back.  
  • Why it helps: Progressively works towards single leg squatting which works to develop strength in the glutes, increase range of motion in the hips and build resilience.  The Sprinter Stance Squat is also considered the superior squat for athletes, specifically females for preventing ACL injuries.  In fact, an article was just recently published on Breaking Muscle by physical therapist, Jessica Bento which goes into much greater detail on all the benefits it can provide. 

MAX Lunge. 

  • How to do it: Deadlift the Ultimate Sandbag to standing position.  Drop step while rotating the bag to the lead leg at the same time. Keep your chest tall and make sure not to rotate past the knee.  Drive through the heel back to standing position and squeeze the glutes.
  • Why it helps: Lunges are a fantastic exercise for strengthening the glutes, hamstrings and quads.  The MAX Lunge also helps to build stability and strength and maintain proper running form for both going up and downhill.  Incorporating them as part of your regular strength training routine will make mountains feel like mole hills and help you run more efficiently overall. 

Ultimate Sandbag Training Rotational Overhead Press.  

  • How to do it: Clean the sandbag up into the pressing position. Drive the ball of one foot into the ground and rotate it as if you were squishing a bug.  As the foot rotates, press the bag over the crown over of the head.  The move should be performed as a simultaneous action.  
  • Why it helps: The beauty of the rotational overhead press with the Ultimate Sandbag is that practices transferring momentum from your legs to your upper body strengthening your hips, core and shoulders.  This will help to improve overall posture, arm swing and running mechanics meaning you can run easier and more efficiently.


Check out more at how to improve your running and real world strength with Annmarie’s new DVRT programs HERE