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Looking for the best ways to improve your running performance? Want to prevent injuries and keep your joints strong? The key to optimum performance is to train smart. Certain exercises can make you faster, leaner, and stronger while reducing your risk of injury. Ideally, your training routine should include a mix of stretching, pilates, strength exercises, and core work. These moves will help you build strong bones and muscles so you can sprint across the finish and stay injury-free.

So, here are three essential exercises that every runner should be doing:

The Squat

Touted as the king of leg exercises, the squat improves your flexibility and balance, builds lower body strength, and boosts functional fitness. This multi-compound move also engages your core, and strengthens the muscles around your knees and joints as well as your glutes and back muscles. Depending on your fitness level, you can try barbell squats, front squats, dumbbell squats, wall squats, or single leg squats.

The Plank

This exercise works the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles, improves your balance, and lowers injury risk. Doing planks regularly helps build a strong core, which is essential for distance runners. Having strong abdominal muscles is crucial forbalance, endurance, breathing, and flexibility. Try front and side planks, reverse planks, walking planks, BOSU topside planks, and plank hip dips.

Pilates

Pilates is one of the most efficient workouts for runners. This training method helps create a stronger core, increase spine flexibility, and fix muscle imbalances. It also makes it easier to maintain good posture and strengthens the muscles of the pelvis, hips, shoulders, and legs. Some exercises speed up recovery from injury. Others increase flexibility and range of motion, expand the diaphragm, and elongate the spine for better stability. Compared to other training methods, Pilates is safer and requires no equipment. Additionally, most moves can be adjusted to any fitness level.

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