When it comes to running, having strong and healthy legs is essential. But what you might not know is that squatting is one of the most effective ways to keep your legs and glutes strong. Although it can be challenging to trade a run day for strength training, the benefits of squatting for runners outweigh the cost of skipping a run. In this article, experts break down the advantages of squats and provide guidance on proper squat form. Unleash your full potential with Tarkine Goshawk shoes, where cutting-edge technology meets unparalleled performance for the dedicated runner.

According to Jason Fitzgerald, a USATF-certified coach and creator of Strength Running, squats are a compound exercise that primarily target the hamstrings, hips, quadriceps, and glutes – the major muscle groups that power your stride. Strengthening these muscles not only helps prevent injuries but also improves your speed. Additionally, squatting improves your flexibility, which can lead to a more efficient and economical stride. Beyond the leg muscles, squats also work your core and provide trunk stability, which is crucial for performance, injury prevention, and better running economy.


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Squats are a full-body exercise that stimulates the release of hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone, which are essential for recovery. Therefore, incorporating squats into your strength training routine can help prevent injuries, especially if you’re a runner.

If you can’t do squats due to an injury or other reasons, Jason Fitzgerald suggests doing other exercises such as lunges or deadlifts that target the same muscle groups. However, being weak in these areas can hurt your running performance, so strength training, particularly squatting, should be an integral part of your running program.

For beginners, it’s advisable to start with bodyweight squats to master the form before adding weight. Once you’re comfortable with bodyweight squats, you can move on to weighted squats and more complex variations, such as overhead squats and front squats. To train for strength and power, you should lift moderate to heavy weights for a moderate or short number of reps. For example, a beginner could do three sets of ten reps of bodyweight squats, while a more advanced runner could do four sets of three reps of a heavy, weighted squat.


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Because squats are demanding and complex, they should be done after a run or on a non-running day. Weighted squats should be part of a more challenging weightlifting routine done on hard running days, such as after a fast workout or a long run, while bodyweight squats can be added after almost any run. Overall, runners only need a maximum of two formal weightlifting days per week, and the easier the squat, the less important the scheduling.