Importance of Strength Training for Trail running


Strength training provides a long list of benefits to all runners.

For trail runners, it’s particularly important. The nature of trail running often requires less speed and more strength in order to navigate technical terrain and steep climbs and tricky lose terrain descents


Adding squats, to movement planks to push ups to pull ups, coupled with active foam roller and stretching. All these help activate and strengthen your muscles. These repetitive exercises target the muscles needed for your fastest, strongest, best trail running outings ever.

  • Adding strength and cross training improves running by building your overall strength, this helps you run fast and efficiently to navigate over the trails with speed, agility and confidence.
  • Adding strength with core exercises twice a week to your training routine can help you build speed and prevent injuries.

Running on the trails, rocks, wet rooted surfaces uses different muscles than road running, which creates different needs for your core and strength. The uneven nature of a trail the undulating ups and downs and the challenges created by the varied terrain all call for different sources of power and precise foot placement. 


Whether you’re a novice trail runner or someone who likes the 100milers. who just , you need to strengthen those muscles for a stronger, faster, and more comfortable trail run. 


My top 10 strength exercises to improve my legs for the trails.

  1. Standing on the Bosu ball squats – start with no weights then add dumbbell weights when stronger. 10-15reps on each leg. 
  2. Forward plank on the ball. 20pluses slowly moving the ball forward with your elbows. 
  3. Step ups onto a high bench ( rule is have the step same height as your knee. As above add dumbbell weights when stronger. 10reps on each leg. 
  4. Kneeling on the Pilates ball hip thrusters. Use the Bosu ball to start then move to the Pilates ball when stronger. 20reps. 
  5. Standing cable hip inner and outer add-abductions. 20reps of each one each legs ( must be done light ).  
  6. Kneeling on the Pilates ball Superman’s. Use the Bosu ball to start then move to the Pilates ball when stronger. 10reps on each leg, alternate your opposite arm to legs and always pause this movement. 
  7. Reverse and side step lunges. 10reps of each on either leg. 
  8. Side plank on the Roller, start on the mat and when stronger move to the Roller, can also hold the plank on the Bosu ball. Hold for 20-30seconds each side. 
  9. Leg press machine-keep you feet close together on the top and move to as wide as you keep you foot stance to calf raises on the bottom. 15-20reps of each. 
  10. Single leg hamstring tilts. Holding one dumbbell. When you stronger this can be done on the Bosu ball. 10-15 leg tilts on each leg. 


Always warm up before doing any strength exercises. 10-15minutes away from the treadmill. Try using different cardio machines then the one you gravitate too. Stair master, Elliptical or Row machine are my favorite for my clients. By using a different cardio machine you will have other muscles working and cardio output then your normal run. 


For a more comprehensive program or other strength exercises don’t hesitate to e mail me on


Remember to grab a theraband or a foam roller and stretch or active roll for 10minutes after you strength training. Simple consistent stretching goes a long way to prevent niggles and injuries later in your season. 


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