Single work leg is vital for every runner’s strength routine.
Why? Running really is a single -eg sport, as only one foot touches the ground at any given time. Single-leg strength becomes even more important when running trails.
We are good at developing the big running muscles – hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and glutes – but neglect the smaller stabilization muscles that keep the hips, knees, and ankles healthy. Runner Touch (beginning version) is a great exercise to start single-leg strength work.
✅ Improved balance
✅ Increased range-of-motion
✅ Engages hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, and foot muscles
✅ Increase stabilizer muscle strength around knee and hip joints
How to do Runner Touch (beginner version):
- Balance on the one leg (working leg), with foot facing forward and knee over the 2nd/3rd toe. Working leg should be slightly bent, not locked.
- Grasp dumbbells at the end or use appropriate weight kettlebells.
- Contract core, then hinge forward while extending the opposite leg backward with toe pointed. Arms will move downward from the shoulder.
- When fully extended, the body forms a letter ‘T’.
- Pause, then engage glutes to come back to standing position. Non-working foot gently touches ground by toes. Maintain full weight on working leg. Repeat hinge & stand.
- Switch legs and repeat.
✅ Engage glute to promote hip extension. Contract the core to neutralize the lower spine.
✅ Start with bodyweight and master form and balance. As proprioception increases, add dumbbells or kettlebells.
✅ Working leg maintains balance through all repetitions.
bodyweight < dumbbells < kettlebells
Trail leg knee drive forward & balance (similar to finish step-ups)