These resistance-band based exercises from trainer Tracy Griffen work the muscles around your thigh, helping to keep your legs strong and injury-free. Strong legs mean more power and less fatigue when you run.
Run on the spot for one minute to warm up, then do 20 reps of each exercise. The circuit takes about six minutes (with the first minute as running on the spot). Start with two circuits and build up to three.
Works the front thighs (quadriceps) and bottom muscles (glutes), helping to keep your knees strong and add power to your running (especially up hills!).
– Stand on the band with your feet hip-width apart, tummy in and back straight. Hold one end of the band in each hand.
– Breathing in, push your bottom out and down into a squat with your weight going into your heels. At the same time, do a bicep curl with the band, pulling the band up with both hands.
– Breathe out, straighten your legs and squeeze your bum to return to starting position. Ensure knees are relaxed at the top and do not ‘lock’.
– Repeat slowly for 20 reps.
Outer Thigh Raises
Strengthens the outside of the thighs (abductors /TFL) and hips (gluteus medius) to help reduce injury in these areas. Running off-road, it is easy for your foot to land unevenly, and strengthening the outside of your legs is very important.
– Start lying on your side in a straight line. Put the band in a loop around the ankles (you can keep it in a loop from the previous exercise).
– With your heel flexed, lift your straight top leg to stretch the band, as high as is comfortable.
– Make sure the top foot stays parallel to the ground, to work into the outer thigh and hip.
– Keep your foot flexed and lower to start.
– Repeat slowly for 20 reps on each side.
Inner Thigh Raises
Focusing on the inner thigh muscles (adductors), this exercise strengthens the groin and inner knee, helping avoid injury in these areas, especially if you’re running on uneven terrain.
– Start lying on your side, and put both feet inside the band. Take your top foot to hold down the band behind your lower leg.
– With your ankle inside the band, lift your straight leg with the heel flexed, while keeping the band anchored at the back with the other foot.
– Make sure the lifted foot stays parallel to the ground to work into the inner thigh and inner knee.
– Breathe in and return to the starting position, but keep the straight leg off the ground for the full 20 reps.
– Do 20 reps on each side.
See a quick demo of the moves here:
Meet the PT
Tracy Griffen is an Edinburgh-based personal trainer. She runs a private fitness studio in Leith and specialises in putting together exercise and nutrition programmes for very busy individuals.