How To Grow A Runner: Side Steps

Keep the big picture in mind when developing your strength-training routine. 

No strength-oriented movement for the runner should be off the table. Of prime importance, however, is developing the big picture thinking that allows us to see how different exercises all fit together to help build a more complete athlete.

While it’s important to know and understand which exercises will get a muscle firing (and why), it’s equally important to recognize the limits of this approach for bigger picture athletic development and education.

This “How to Grow a Runner” video series will go through a series of well-known leg exercises designed to improve your running in some way—side steps with a band, the squat, the lunge, the step up, a single-leg squat and, finally, a running drill—and explain how each exercise can improve the others, especially when putting them all together as part of the same strength-training program.

In this video, we show you how to do side steps using a resistance band. This exercise teaches external rotation and hip stability, both of which play an important role in how we squat, lunge, step up, do a single-leg squat and—ultimately—how we run. But there’s too big a gap between this single activation exercise and running a blistering mile or not slowing down late in a long race. So, we will take what we learn in this video and apply it to a series of more complex exercises in upcoming videos. “More complex” means more moving parts, an increased range of motion and increased load, all of which work together to help you become a stronger, more resilient runner.


About The Author:

Nate Helming coaches strength and mobility for national and international-level road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes and ultrarunners at San Francisco CrossFit, as well as elite-level amateur runners and triathletes outside the gym. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter and check out his videos on The Run Experience YouTube channel.

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