Stability Training for Runners
When you’re a runner getting, an injury is a problem. Adding stability work to your training program is a great way to avoid knee, ankle or hip injuries. Working on stability can help keep your gait balanced and keep you strong during your runs. Doing stability work develops strength in the little helper muscles that keep your body stable while doing bigger lifts like running or heavy strength training.
When doing a stability phase of training you will be working the subsystem called the local muscular system. The local muscular system is predominantly involved in joint support and stabilization. The muscles in this system work muscles that movement specific, rather they help keep the joints stable during big movements such as running or heavy lifts minimizing the risk of injury allowing you to maximize results.
Many runners start a program by lacing up the running shoes and hitting the road. This can lead to injuries during the running program adding a couple days a week of stability work will pay off later in your program when you start racking up higher mileage.
Here we show you how to add stability programing into your training.
Setting up a base phase stability program might be the hardest for you to program because it is more complicated than other training phases. The reason this phase is more complicated is that you will be addressing muscle imbalances during this phase of training. If you’re unsure how to program your stability phase you might want to hire a NASM personal trainer to help get you started. If budget is an issue you can do a few sessions will a trainer and get a list of muscle imbalances that you need to address.
Common muscle imbalances are knees caving in while squatting, tipping forward while squatting, ankle caving in when squatting, feet pointing out while squatting and back arching while squatting. I know that is a lot to take in but you can fix these issues yourself if you use a mirror for a self-assessment.
Correcting muscle imbalances
If your knees are caving in this may be due to a weak a gluteus medius and minimus or abductors. If your gluteus medius and minimus are weak you most like have an overactive or tight inner thigh adductors. A simple way to solve this problem is to stretch the adductors by foam rolling the area and stretching the adductors. You can strengthen the gluteus medius and minimus by doing an exercise like tube or band walks.
If you’re feet are drifting out during a squat you can foam roll and stretch the calf muscle. When the feet drift out it is usually due to an overactive outer calf muscle. The biceps femoris short head may also be overactive causing the feet to point out during the squat adding stretching and foam rolling to both areas may help solve this issue.
When it comes to building strength for these problems I recommend doing glute bridges, one leg squats and one leg deadlifts with dumbbells. When doing the strength training focus on keeping the knee and foot straight. This should help with the flat feet issue while squatting as well.
The simplest way to address the back arching is to build core strength on the front of the body. The biggest reason this happens is because of an overactive lower back and weak abs. Great exercises for this are planks and sit ups on the ball.
Remember if you’re knees cave, feet point out or feet flatten while squatting you’re most likely doing it while running.
Programing your Stability Program
Your stability program should last about 4-8 weeks and will line up with the base building program of your running program. Because the stability program is low intensity you don’t need to worry about deloading or tapering with this part of your training.
Simple Stability Exercises you can use
Here are some simple stability exercises that you can add to your program. The one leg squat, one leg shoulder press, one leg one arm row with cable, one leg deadlift with dumbbell, chest press on ball, one leg bridges, planks with leg lifts, planks on the ball, any TRX exercise and the list goes on. A simple google search for NASM stability exercises will give you a limitless list of things that you can add to your program just make sure that it is in line with your fitness assessment that I recommended earlier.
When you’re doing a stability, phase don’t forget to add foam rolling and stretching to your program to address some of those overactive areas. Doing yoga is great but won’t address the areas that are overactive directly.
Stability training is an important part of any running program because it helps keep you, injury free during your running program. When you’re done with this phase of training switch over to a strength phase of training. If you’re having issues with the fitness assessment hire a personal trainer to help get you started with your program.
Check out our guide how to run faster