Bodyweight Workout For Runners: 12 Exercises, No Equipment Required

Whether a 5k, marathon, or ultra trail race, training for races involves much more than interval training, tempo runs, hill work, and long runs. There are numerous components to being a well-rounded athlete in addition to your running, which should be worked into your daily routine. 

Some of these pieces to the puzzle include getting sufficient sleep, eating a nutritious diet, staying hydrated, and for our purposes today, strength training

Yes, adding more workout sessions per week can be tricky at times, as it fills up our schedules even more, but they are essential to include. It is, however, completely necessary to join a gym if you don’t have the time or are trying to cut down on expenses. 

You can perform a full bodyweight workout for runners in the comfort of your own home with no equipment needed.

This guide will look at the importance of a full bodyweight workout for runners, its benefits, and a step-by-step guide of some great bodyweight exercises to get started today! 

We will discuss: 

  • Benefits of Strength Training For Runners
  • Strength Training Tips 
  • Full Bodyweight Workout For Runners: No Equipment Needed (Complete with step-by-step instructions and gifs!)

Ready?

Let’s jump in! 

A persone doing a push up.

Benefits of Strength Training For Runners 

Why should you add strength training to your general training program, you ask? Because it provides a ton of benefits to make you a better runner and all-around healthy, strong athlete.

More specifically, strength training can:

  • Fix imbalances and weaknesses in the body to help avoid overuse injuries

And these are just to name a few!

A person doing a pull up in the park.

Strength Training Tips

Here are some general tips to help work this total bodyweight workout for runners into your weekly routine:

  • Add two non-consecutive strength training sessions into your weekly routine.
  • Ideally, leave at least 4-6 hours between these sessions, so if you run before work at 6:00 am, try and do your full bodyweight workout for runners after work in the afternoon. 
  • Focus on good posture and form for each bodyweight workout exercise to decrease the risk of pain or injury
  • Be consistent. If you skip too many days, you’ll feel sore after each bodyweight workout, and you won’t be able to adapt adequately. 
  • If you are not currently strength training, begin with 2 rounds of 8 reps of each of these exercises, and gradually build up until you get to 3 rounds of 12-14 reps.

So, are you ready to get your workout on? Let’s check out 12 full bodyweight workout exercises for runners that you can include in your strength training sessions; no equipment necessary for these! 

Full Bodyweight Workout For Runners: No Equipment Needed

#1: Bodyweight Squats 

Bodyweight workout: squat

The classic squat! The squat should be a staple in all runners’ bodyweight workouts. Here, we will look at a traditional bodyweight squat, but there are endless variations you can add to your workouts. If you want to spice it up, check out our 20 squat variations, here.

  1. Stand tall, core engaged, with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your toes pointed out slightly.
  2. Bring your hands together at the middle of your chest.
  3. Bring your hips back as if you were going to sit back in a chair and lower down to 90 degrees where your thighs are parallel to the floor. 
  4. Be sure your back stays straight and your chest up at all times. 
  5. Push through your heels back up to your starting position. 

Note: Ensure that your knees do not collapse inward when you lower into your squat. You want to push your knees outward to avoid this.  

#2: Reverse Lunges 

Reverse Lunge bodyweight exercise.

Another classic exercise for runners is lunges. This unilateral exercise forces us to work each leg separately, which is excellent for improving imbalances. 

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, chest up, and shoulders back, looking straight ahead. 
  2. Take a big step back with your right foot, placing the ball of your foot on the floor behind you. 
  3. As you take this step, bend both knees until they reach 90 degrees. Your right knee will be just above the ground, and your left thigh will parallel the floor. 
  4. Push off your back foot and return to the starting position. 
  5. Alternate legs.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Note: Ensure you take a large enough step back that your front knee does not pass over your front toes and that both legs are at 90 degrees when you reach your lunge position. 

#3: Lateral Lunges

Lateral Lunge bodyweight exercise.

Here we have another lunge variation:

  1. Stand tall with your feet together, chest up, and shoulders back, looking straight ahead. 
  2. Take a big step to your left, hinge forward at the hips, and sit back as you would sit back in a chair, bending your left knee into a lunge position.
  3. Push off your left foot and return to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

#4: Single Leg Glute Bridge 

Single-leg glute bridge bodyweight exercise.

This unilateral exercise is much trickier than a traditional double-leg glute bride as it causes instability. This exercise will work your glutes to the max in addition to your hamstrings and lower back. 

  1. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent, arms by your sides, and heels on the floor at hip-width apart.
  2. Lift your right leg and extend it straight parallel to your right thigh. 
  3. Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground, aligning with your left knee. 
  4. Hold this position for a second, activating your glutes and keeping your hips aligned. 
  5. Lower your hips to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

#5: Hamstring Walkouts

Hamstring walkout exercise.

Now that we’ve warmed up our hamstrings, let’s really give them a workout with this exercise: 

  1. Lie on the floor, facing up, arms by your side. 
  2. Bend both knees bringing your feet close to your glutes.
  3. Push up on your heels and extend your hips as if pushing up into a glute bridge with both feet. 
  4. Take short steps forward, alternating your feet, until your legs are fully extended, bodyweight supported by your heels. 
  5. Pause in this extended position for a moment.
  6. Retake short steps, this time back toward your starting position. 
  7. Repeat for the desired amount of reps or time.

Moving on to the calves:

#6: Calf Raises 

Calf raises
  1. Stand tall with your shoulders back and core engaged.
  2. Push up through the balls of your feet and raise your heels until you are on your tip-toes. 
  3. Slowly lower yourself back down. 
  4. Repeat for the desired amount of reps or time.

Note: To increase the difficulty of this exercise, you can perform it by balancing on a single leg or on the edge of a step to lower down below floor level. 

Now that we have worked our legs to the max, leaving no muscle left behind, let’s move on to our core. 

#7: Up-Down Plank 

Up-down plank.

This exercise is a mix between a plank, and a push-up, creating a core/upper body workout, that will also raise your heart rate.

  1. Lie face down on the floor, hands on either side next to your shoulders, palms facing down.
  2. Engaging your core, push yourself into the full plank position, body in a straight line from head to foot. 
  3. Your hands, elbows, and shoulders should be in a straight line, shoulder-width apart, with weight distributed between your arms and toes.
  4. The closer together your feet are, the more difficult the plank becomes. If you need more stability, separate your feet, so they are further apart. 
  5. Now, take your right arm and lower down onto your right forearm.
  6. Do the same with your left arm so that you are in an elbow plank. 
  7. Then, push back up on your left side with your left palm, and then on your right, back up into a full plank position. 
  8. Alternate which arm you lower yourself down with each time. 
  9. Repeat for the desired number of reps or time. 

One more core exercise, but now one that works the obliques:

#8: Side Plank 

Side plank exercise.
  1. Begin by lying on your right side with your legs extended, top foot slightly in front of the lower foot lined up front to back, and right forearm propping yourself up.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor, keeping your body straight and firm.
  3. Hold this position for the desired amount of time. 

Note: If your hips begin to sag, adjust them as necessary back up into the correct position.

#9: Superman 

Superman exercise.
  1. Lie facedown on the floor with your arms extended in front of you and your legs straight behind you. 
  2. Engage your glutes and core and lift your arms and legs off the ground simultaneously, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  3. Hold this position for a second.
  4. Gently lower yourself back to the floor. 
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps or amount of time. 

Now let’s move to our upper bodies: 

#10: Push Up 

Push up.

In this version of a push up, we will keep our hands right next to our chest, and our elbows will bend straight back instead of out to the sides. 

  1. Lie on your stomach, palms on the ground lined up on either side of your chest, and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Push through your hands, extending your elbows as you raise yourself up and keeping your body as straight as a board.
  3. Lower yourself back down in a controlled manner, bending your elbows until your body is barely above the ground. 
  4. Repeat for the desired amount of reps. 

Note: To work up to this exercise, you may begin with performing push-ups against a wall, on your knees, or on a bench for extra help. 

#11: Chin Up 

Pull up exercise.

Exercises that involve pulling are tricky to do with no equipment, such as resistance bands or dumbbells. Still, it is a significant movement to add to your workouts. Therefore, you can perform this exercise if you have a stable bar at home or a jungle gym at a local park. 

In this example, I am using a suspension device, but it can be done anywhere you can pull yourself up. This is a modified version as some weight is removed as I have my feet on the floor.

  1. Sit crossed-legged on the floor, holding on to the bar, or your suspension device, palms facing in.
  2. Pull yourself up until your chest has reached your hands. 
  3. Lower yourself down in a controlled manner. 
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps or time. 

And now, for everyone’s favorite (a bit of sarcasm here…), a full-body workout in just one exercise, the burpee

#12: Burpee 

Burpee.
  1. Stand tall with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower yourself down into a squat position.
  3. Place your hands on the floor in front of you.
  4. Jump your feet back to a plank position with your back straight and hands under your shoulders. 
  5. Do a push-up.
  6. Jump your feet back to their starting squat position and immediately jump straight into the air, arms extended overhead, landing softly. 
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps or amount of time.

There you have it, a full body workout for runners with no equipment needed that you can do in the comfort of your own home, the park, or a hotel room when traveling. 

If you do have some equipment or access to a gym, we have other great workouts for runners for you to try:

Upper Body Workout For Runners

Squat Variations For Runners 

Have fun! 

Photo of author
Katelyn is an experienced ultra-marathoner and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the trails. In the running community she is known for her ear to ear smile even under the toughest race conditions. She loves sharing her knowledge and experience with everyone and has a great desire to motivate others to hit the trails alongside her. Run for fun!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.