Resistance bands are everywhere these days. They are affordable, they are portable and they can replace your whole gym. Quite literally…Almost all exercises that requires a gym equipment can be done with a resistance band.
But then again, can this be used by runners? Of course! yes…You can use these for all your strength training requirement and if you don’t know what to include in such a routine, here are the top resistance band workouts that I would recommend as a runner.
Best Resistance Band Workouts For Runners
Here is the list of resistance band workouts that runners can do as their strength training exercises:
- Band March
- Turtle Walk With Knees Bent
- Side Leg Raise With Bent Knees
- Straight Side Leg Raise
- Alternate Leg Lifts With Plank
- Hip Adduction On Side Plank
- Angular Walk
- Knee Rotation In Boat Pose
- Wall Sit
Types Of Resistance Bands
There are many types of resistance bands. They can be differentiated based on their size or based on their usage. Below we have provided you with all the types that are available in the market today.
Normal Resistance Bands Or Loops – These are exactly what the name says. They are a rubber loop that is closed at both ends. They are generally around 2 meters long and can be used for almost all exercises. Also, if you want to do pull-ups and you are have never done it before, you can use these bands for doing assisted pullups. If you are selecting one for pull-ups, then go for these special pull-up bands.
Resistance Bands With Handles – These resistance bands more like rubber tubes. They vary in length and diameter. Generally the heavier the resistance, the shorter and wider the band. Also, they have handles attached to them so your skin will not get damaged while working out with them.
Miniband – Minibands cute little flat rubber loops that are almost one-third of the size of the normal bands. However, they are very effective and you can even carry them in your pocket. They don’t have any handles attached to them though.
Fabric Bands – This is more like a double layer resistance bands. The outer layer has a fabric, however, inside you will have the latex band. They are of the size of miniband and generally have Velcro at their tips.
Figure 8 Bands – This is what the name suggests. It is a resistance band in the shape of eight. Also it has handles on both sides. However, these are shorter than the regular bands.
Sheet Bands – These are flat like sheets. They are much wide than normal resistance band and not a close loop. However, they are also made of latex and are available in various resistance.
Resistance Band Workouts
This is a very effective exercise to improve your glute, calves, quads and hamstring strength. Also, since you will be doing this with a resistance band, you will also be strengthening your core.
Start with a lighter strength band and increase the resistance as you start getting comfortable with the current one. For this one, you would need a mini band. You can use a longer band, but to make it loop around just your feet and keep it that way will take some creativity on your side.
Equipment: A miniband (start with the lightest one available with you)
- Loop the miniband around your feet.
- Now stand with your feet hip-width apart. This will create some resistance for your band and also, will not let it fall off.
- Lift your right leg until you have a 90 degree or less angle with your hips. This means your knee will be above the hip line.
- Hold this for a couple of seconds.
- Lower the right leg and repeat the steps with the left leg.
Turtle Walk With Knees Bent
This is a compound move and the effects will be similar to hip adduction exercise. However, since you will have your knees bent a bit and will be leaning forward a bit (around 30 degrees), you will be able to strengthen the whole of your lower body very effectively.
Equipment: One miniband (start with any resistance you are comfortable with)
- Wear the miniband around your legs just above the ankles.
- Widen your legs to about hip-width or to a width where you feel a bit of resistance on the band.
- Bend your knees a bit and lean forward a little. Keep your back straight.
- Now start your sidewalk with very very small steps. You first move your left leg to the side a bit and then move your right leg a bit.
- Take 10 such steps in both left and right directions.
- Do this 3 times.
Side Leg Raise With Bent Knees
The main focus of this exercise is to strengthen your hip adductors. The movement is not explosive but is a controlled on. Since you are not depending on momentum, you will be able to see improvements very quickly.
Equipment: Single piece of miniband. Once you get comfortable or have used up the strength of the highest band, you can combine two or three bands together to amp up the resistance.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Wear the resistance bands just above your knees.
- Now bend your knees a bit and lean forward slightly (around 30 degrees).
- Now lift your right leg sideways using the hip adductors. Keep your other glute muscles squeezed for added toning.
- Hold the position for 10 counts and put your right leg down. Repeat with left leg.
- Do this for 10 counts and for 3 sets.
Straight Side Leg Raise
This is essentially almost the same movement as above. However, you will be doing this with your legs and back straight.
Equipment: Same as above.
- Wear the resistance band around your ankles.
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. You should be feeling a bit of stretch in your resistance band.
- Raise your right leg to the side and as high as possible for you.
- Hold the position for 10 counts.
- Lower your legs to the starting position.
- Now repeat it with the other leg.
- Do it 10 times with each leg for 3 sets.
Alternate Leg Lifts With Plank
This is another compound exercise that will strengthen not only your glutes and other parts of your legs, but will also help you to develop your core.
Equipment: One miniband around your ankles. If you want to reduce the resistance a bit, wear it a bit higher than your ankles.
- Wear the miniband of your choice around your ankles.
- Go in low plank or elbow plank.
- Now, raise one foot off the ground and raise the leg as high as possible.
- Hold it for 5-10 counts and put it back to the ground.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Do this for 10 counts on each leg for a set of 3.
Note: Don’t try it in high plank as maintaining the form will become a challenge. If you want to up the game, use heavier resistance bands. Also, if you are feeling tired, you can relax in downward dog pose.
Hip Adduction On Side Plank
This is a solid exercise to improve for core strength and your hip strength.
Equipment: A miniband around your thighs just above the knees.
- Wear the miniband around your thighs above your knees.
- Go into an elbow side plank on the right side. Means your right hand is on the floor.
- Now bend the right leg behind from knees for additional stability.
- Raise your left leg up as high as possible and hold for 5 counts.
- Put it back down. Repeat it 10 times.
- Do this with other legs and for 3 sets of 10 rounds each on either side.
You will be taking big steps and at 45 degree angles. This exercise will help you to strengthen your glutes, and related muscles tremendously.
Equipment: A miniband around your ankles.
- Wear a miniband around your ankle.
- Now take a big step in front at 45 degrees with your right leg.
- Now do it with your left leg.
- Note that, you are walking, not lunging.
- Once you have taken 4 steps forward, take 4 steps backward.
Knee Rotation In Boat Pose
This will strengthen your abs, back and lower body. Also, it will improve your coordination.
Equipment: Miniband – 1 count
- Wear the miniband just above your knees.
- Now go into a boat pose.
- Bend your legs at the knees.
- Put your elbows on the ground for added balance with your back straight.
- Now move your knees from side to side and in opposite directions.
This may be one of the most effective workouts for your glutes and hip adductors.
Equipment: A miniband
- Wear the miniband around your thighs just above your knees.
- Lie on the ground on one side.
- Bend your arm at the elbow and put it under your head like a pillow.
- The legs are bent in front of you at 45 degrees with your hips and knees stacked on top of each other.
- Keeping the feet together, open up your top knee towards the ceiling. Hold for 10 counts and return back to the starting position.
- Do let the other knee rise up.
- Do this 20 times and 3 reps on both the sides.
Will walk on your calves, quads, hamstring and core. Also, it will help you to strengthen your glutes a lot.
- Stand in front of the wall with your back on the wall touching it completely.
- Your legs are in front of you and not in contact with the wall.
- Now slide down gradually so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Hold the pose as long as possible.
- Slide back up to a standing position.
- Repeat 3 times.
- Try to hold your pose for 5 mins each time. If you cannot try to start with 10 counts and keep increasing. Also, if you want to make it more effective do it as the last exercise of your last workout session.
Are Resistance Bands Good For Runners?
Yes resistance bands are good for runners. It can strengthen your muscles and make your movements more efficient. This helps you to avoid injuries and also improve your performance. Also, you have total control over your training as you will be able to increase or decrease the resistance according to your needs.
Another benefit of using resistances bands are that, they are inexpensive and are very portable and you can exercise any muscle group in your body with these. You don’t need any heavy equipment and you need very less space.
How To Run Faster With Resistance Bands?
To run faster with resistance bands, you will have to include them in your speed and agility drills. This will improve the effectiveness of the workout and will help you to run faster.
You don’t need to do anything fancy for this, if you are currently doing a speed and agility routine, then just adding a miniband to each of the exercises will do the trick.
Also, if you are looking for a speed and agility drill for runners with resistance bands, here is a very effective set of exercises that you can start to do.
How Many Times A Week Should You Train With Resistance Bands?
You should go for 2 to 3 days of resistance band training. Resistance band training is a form of strength training and as with any other strength training, you should do it for a max of 3 days a week.
If you are not doing any other form of workout, you can do it for up to 5 days. However, the remaining two days will be your rest days and will help you to recover.
Training for seven days a week will be detrimental and you may get injured in the process.
How Long Does It Take To See Results Using Resistance Bands?
As with any other strength training program, you will be able to see results using resistance bands in 30 days or 4 weeks.
However, this may be a very gross generalization as the results that you are looking for may not be only related to workout.
For example, if you want to lose weight, you can lose weight with only resistance band exercises. However, if you overeat in most of the meals, you will not be able to lose weight.
However, if you want a visible change that your friends and family will be able to see, you would need at least 90 days or 12 weeks.
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Yamamoto, L. M., Lopez, R. M., Klau, J. F., Casa, D. J., Kraemer, W. J., & Maresh, C. M. (2008). The effects of resistance training on endurance distance running performance among highly trained runners: a systematic review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(6), 2036-2044.
Mikkola, Jussi, Ville Vesterinen, Ritva Taipale, Benoit Capostagno, Keijo Häkkinen, and Ari Nummela. “Effect of resistance training regimens on treadmill running and neuromuscular performance in recreational endurance runners.” Journal of sports sciences 29, no. 13 (2011): 1359-1371.
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Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.