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Running and muscles

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It doesn’t just have important benefits for your general health, but also uses and trains lots of muscles. In fact, it works just about all of them. Especially when you sprint. So don’t dismiss running as an endurance sport for people with no muscles. Here, we are debunking the myth that running makes you lose muscle. Find out what muscles you train while you run and how you can train specific muscle areas to increase your running performance further.

Foot Muscles

Running can be a huge challenge for your feet. They have to absorb the shock of every step you take, on every kind of surface. Depending on what kind of surface you run on (for example grass vs. concrete), you can increase or decrease the amount of stress on your foot muscles. To strengthen your feet, you can try running part of a distance run barefoot, or walking on grass for a while after your run. Running barefoot will also benefit your calf muscles and your running style, so try it out. But this doesn’t mean that running shoes are not important: you must have running shoes that fit correctly. This allows you to run efficiently and helps you to avoid discomfort and injury.


Your lower leg muscles also put in a lot of work when you are running. This is why many Athletes train these specific muscles to improve their running performance further. Well-trained calf muscles are especially important for runners with a forefoot running style, as this causes them to use their calves more when running. Fast and intensive runs on hard surfaces or on a running track will be particularly tough on your calves – this, combined with new running shoes, can quickly lead to muscle soreness until the calf muscles have become used to the strain. One way of training the calf muscles further when running is to incorporate jumping jacks into training.

Thighs and Glutes

Your thigh muscles are the ones responsible for moving you forward when you walk or run – especially the posterior muscle chain. The development of these muscles can be positively or negatively influenced by training. For example, a sprinter will build up more muscle than a long-distance endurance runner due to the maximum exertion involved. So the more sprinting, the more training for the thighs and glutes. After a few weeks of interval sprints, there should be first changes and toning visible. If someone is looking to train these areas further to increase their performance, they can include squats and lunges into their training.

Abs and back muscles

Your core muscles are your stabilizing force when you run. They play a big role in keeping you upright and stable during runs and sprints. And the better your core muscles can do their job, the longer you’ll be able to maintain an optimal running style, but simple running will only train them to a certain degree. To improve running performance and increase the distance you can cover, try spending some time training these two areas specifically.

Arms and shoulders

When you run, your arms and shoulders become engaged by swinging. In order to better understand how vital the arms are for balance while running, try running with your hands clasped behind your back. The faster you try to run without using your arms, the more obvious the lack of a stabilizing effect will be. These muscles are only trained to a small degree when running, so any visual changes to these areas will not be as visible as others.

Running is a perfect example of how many different muscle groups can work together in one range of movement. And while running trains many muscles, it is also possible to train some – for example through bodyweight training – to improve your running performance even more.