No Excuses Strength Training Workout for Trail Runners

Hilary Spires believes anyone can run farther or faster than they thought possible with the right training. She operates Rugged Conditioning (, instagram: @hilsport55 where she helps runners with race coaching, athletic training programs, and mindset training. When she's not helping athletes she's usually out on the trails.

One of my favourite parts of trail running is the diversity of movement. You’ll face quick turns, unstable footing, climbing, and running, all within the same hour. If you want to make it through your run fast and free of injury, your training program better include some agility, balance, strength, and quick-feet drills.   

Knowing the importance of strength training is one thing, but actually doing it is another. Adding another gym day to an already full running schedule can be tricky, so instead of skipping it altogether, try this quick home workout directly after your run. You’ll be all warmed up and in your gear already, so no excuses!

What you’ll need

  • Tape or rope
  • Two cones (don't have cones? Use an old pair of shoes!)
  • A bench or stool

Run through all 7 exercises consecutively, rest for 2 minutes and repeat 2 – 3 times.  

Single Leg Negative Squat

Improves: mobility, strength, stability

Reps: 8 per side

  • Standing with one leg on the bench, slowly drop down into a squat as low as you can go
  • Work to get your lower leg parallel with the bench
  • Only go as far as you can while maintaining good posture
  • Return to standing position

Single Leg Glute Bridge

Improves: glute activation, stability  

Reps: 15 per leg

  • Lay flat on your back and lift one leg (be sure to keep the non-working leg still!)
  • Engage core and driving through the heel
  • Keep your hips level and be sure to get a full extension at the top, you should make a straight line

Lateral Bound and Hop

Improves: explosive power, balance

Reps: 10 (there and back is 1)

  • Start loaded up on the right foot
  • Keeping a tight core, bound to the left foot as far as possible
  • Absorb and stick the landing!

Hops Side to Side

Improves: agility, foot speed

Reps: 15 per foot (there and back counts as one rep)

  • Hop side to side over a line for 15 touches each side
  • Work to minimize time on ground for quick feet

Figure 8 Drill

30 seconds continuous

  • Place 2 cones 2 feet apart
  • Start facing one side and move laterally in a figure-8 motion through the cones continuing to face the same direction
  • Work on foot speed and change of direction

Shoulder Taps

Improves: stability, core, strength

Reps: 10 per shoulder

  • Holding perfect plank position, touch opposite shoulder with each hand
  • Alternate sides
  • Focus on keeping hips square to floor with as little movement as possible

Side-plank Dips

Improves: balance, core, upper body strength

Reps: 1 minute per side

  • Raise hips to form one straight line
  • Focus on keeping core engaged and stack your feet

About the Author

I'm Hilary, and I believe anyone can run farther or faster than they thought possible with the right training. With over a decade of experience combined with multiple certifications, I'll teach you everything you need to toe the line with confidence, learn more about what I do at 

Published on Apr 30, 2018