And please...by all means...feel free to share your personal experiences and opinions. If you don't know what any of these exercises are, you can do a quick search on the internet...or go to You Tube and do a search. Alternatively, just ask me using the "comments" section. I have included links for some of the exercises.
I plan to update this list as I learn more and have more experiences.
Here's the list:
Exercises that seem to positively affect running performance:
Burpees – Great full body workout…one of the best. Can’t do too many the day before a serious run because they suck a lot of energy out of the legs. Not sure if they actually improve running performance but they are such a good all-around exercise, they are worth the effort.
Pull-ups – One of my favorites. Help running…to a point. Negative is that they are hard to do. Many people can’t do one so they need to use assisted pull-ups machine or use elastic bands. Careful not to strain too much.
Lunges – Very good for running. When you first do them, you have to be very careful not to over-do them as they can make you very sore. They help make you stronger and more mobile which is a good combo. Don’t do the day before important running workouts. A good example of a walking lunge can be found here. If you add rotations, it can be very running specific.
Single-leg squat/pistol squat – Very much like lunges…maybe even more effective. The pistol is very difficult and very few people can do them…but you can work towards it by doing a single-leg squat using a chair or stool.
Step-ups – Good for runners. Lunges and single-leg squats seem to accomplish a lot of the same thing.
Single-leg glute bridge - Really good for turning on the glutes. You can see an example here.
Turkish get-up – Great exercise. Good because it’s full body, adds strength and doesn’t put on mass. Need a dumbbell or kettlebell. Negative is that it is somewhat complicated and can be very tough to learn without instruction.
Jump rope – Good for running. A little goes a long way. Don’t overdo it. Need to develop the skill. Jumping rope is like doing fairly safe plyometrics.
GHD sit-ups – I used to love these for running but you need a GHD machine and you need a certain amount of abdominal strength before even attempting them. A quick demo is here. Not so sure about these anymore. Might be easier to mess these up than I realize.
Hex-bar deadlifts – Good balance between posterior and anterior chain. Help improve hamstring strength and flexibility in a safe way. This helps running performance. Improves my squat and clean capability. Big negative is that hexbars are not easily available. You can see it here.
Good exercises that do not seem to negatively or positively affect running performance:
Thrusters – Great exercise…but they involve a two-legged squat which I find often affects running performance negatively. However, they have so many benefits…and they are such a full body exercise…I feel they are worth doing.
Wall balls – Great conditioning…but they are a two legged squat. In moderation, they seem OK.
Front squat – Almost put this one on the negative list. But the front squat puts less strain on the lower back so you seem to get your “legs” back quicker.
Box jumps – I always thought these would help running more. Can be hard on the calf and Achilles. Jumping rope seems to be more suited to runners due to faster cadence. Also good in moderation.
Dips – Hard on the shoulders…at least they are hard on my shoulders. But they are good exercise if you can do them.
Kettlebell swings – Russian swing is preferred. Need some instruction. Helps you learn to generate power from the hips. American swing is only for people with very good shoulder mobility. Otherwise, it hurts your back. I never do them.
Farmer’s carry – A nice simple and surprisingly safe exercise. Builds strength. The negative for runners is that it seems to put on mass. At least it did for me.
Dumbbell snatch – There is learning curve…as there is with many exercises. A lot safer than the barbell snatch. Good power exercise.
Power cleans – Big learning curve. Need instruction. Good for generating power from the hips. Combine well with burpees.
Presses (strict, push press, etc) – Careful not to over-do it. Can strain lower back if shoulder mobility is not adequate. You should be able to do upper body pushes with some competence.
Ground to overhead variations (clean & jerk etc) – see power cleans & presses.
Toes-to-bar – Good for anterior chain. Can be too tough for many people. Sometimes knees-to-elbows is a good replacement.
Cable row – There aren’t many horizontal pulling exercises and this is a pretty safe one.
Exercises that seem to negatively affect running performance:
Back squat - The problem I have with these is that I feel awful running when I do them. They tighten up my lower back and my gait feels all off. Also, they seem to put on mass which is not good for running. If I go a little light and very low volume, it’s not so bad.
Deadlift – Similar to problem with back squat. It takes too long to get my running gait back. I find the hex-bar deadlift a good substitute for both the squat and the deadlift. You need good hamstring flexibility to do deadlifts properly. That leaves me out.
Air squat – I can do them but they wreck my running.
Planks – They strengthen you…but not in a good way. I feel they actually hurt running performance. My experiences are congruent with this article.
Crunches – Not good. See this article.
Push-ups – Can’t explain why I am so down on them. Maybe they are just too tough on my shoulders. But even when I could do them well, they didn’t help running.
Bench press – Hurt my shoulders. Have never seen them recommended for runners.
Barbell snatch – Just too technical for me. Hurts my back and shoulders without improving much of anything that I can’t improve another way. The only reason I ever try to work at it is that Crossfit loves it…and I have tried...on a couple of occasions…to complete the Crossfit Open.
Sumo high pull deadlift – Not all that functional. Seems to carry a high injury risk...at least for me.