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Strength training and injury prevention tips from David Jordan, PT and Director of The Fitting Rooms

Personal trainer & competitive bodybuilder, David Jordan, talks about how strength training and injury prevention is key for runners.

David Jordan co-founded The Fitting Rooms

David Jordan is a competitive bodybuilder who achieved British runner up at the NPA Nationals,  co-founder and director of The Fitting Rooms (an exclusive personal training gym in London Bridge) and a personal trainer. David has helped numerous people over the years throughout their training for various running events, including the London Marathon, with strength training playing a key role.

Here David gives his top advice for runners on both strength training and injury prevention along with some example training programmes…

Personal trainer, David Jordan, knows that strength training is key for runners
Strength training for runners

Strength training for runners is critical for both injury prevention and peak performance. An appropriate strength programme should be periodised into different training phases over the months running up to the race date.Your programme should target building strength and power in the muscles which support your ankles, knees, lower back and core. These strength gains will significantly benefit you when it comes to producing a personal best in running times.

Unilateral exercises, such as lunges and split squats, are an essential part of programmes geared towards strength and conditioning for runners as they promote structural balance, a key factor in reducing injury risk, and help with stability and core strength.

Below is a two-phase, one-day weight-training programme to be used alongside your running plan. Phase One would be considered general preparation phase looking at structural balance and building a foundation of strength and then Phase Two would be looking to peak performance. Ideally you would strength train all year round alongside your running, however the below could be used for an 8-12 week phase before an event (4-6 weeks per phase).

Phase 1
Order Exercise Sets Reps Rest Tempo
A1 Split Squat DB 3 10 60s 3-0-1-0
A2 Pull Up NG (assisted if need be) 3 10 60s 3-0-1-0
B1 Romanian Deadlift 3 10 60s 3-0-1-0
B2 Poliquin Step Up 3 10 60s 2-0-1-1
C1 Single Leg Calf Raise 3 15 45s 2-1-1-1
C2 Overhead Press 3 12 45s 3-0-1-0
D1 Plank 2 60 secs 30s
Phase 2
Order Exercise Sets Reps Rest Tempo
A1 Barbell Squat 4 6 75s 2-0-1-0
A2 Bent Over Row 4 6 75s 2-0-1-1
B1 Romanian Deadlift 3 8 60s 2-0-1-0
B2 Broad Jump (1 leg landing) 3 8 60s
C1 Single Legged Hip Thrust 3 10 45s 2-0-1-1
C2 Incline Chest Press DB 3 10 45s 2-0-1-0
D1 Renegade Row 2 20 30s 2-1-2-1
Strength training is key to support your ankles, knees, lower back and core
Injury prevention for runners

In order to safe guard yourself against injury you’ll need to focus your strength training on building up the muscles that support your core, ankles, knees and back. Below we’ve listed the muscles you want to be targeting and the best exercises to do so:


The calves help protect the ankle joint when running and ensure stability, they are also essential to train to prevent Achilles Tendonitis. Calf Raises both the seated and standing variation are the best for this.


The hamstrings work at both the knee joint and the hip joint, providing protection for both the knees and back. Also stronger hamstrings will prevent against any hamstring pulls. Exercises to train the hamstrings include: Hamstring Curl, Romanian Deadlifts, Nordic Curls, 45’Back Extension and Good Mornings.


Strong glutes (your bum) are essential to prevent against both knee and back injuries from running, your programme should therefore include exercises to strengthen these such as: Hip Thrusts, Split Squats and Lunges.


This is the tear drop shaped muscle just to the inside of the knee. The VMO helps to keep the knee joint in the correct alignment and is essential for protecting against knee pain. The best exercises for strengthening the VMO are: Poliquin Step Up, Peterson Step up and Split Squats.

I wouldn’t recommend trying to cram all these exercises into one workout, instead you’d want a selection of them built into a structured programme that covers the whole body. After 4-6 weeks you’d then look to periodise your programme on including some of the other exercises. Below is an example of a full body workout with an emphasis on injury prevention for runners.

Order Exercise Sets Reps Rest Tempo
A1 Split Squat DB 3 10 60s 2-0-1-0
A2 1 Arm Row DB 3 10 60s 2-0-1-1
B1 Hamstring Curl 3 10 60s 3-0-1-0
B2 Poliquin Step Up 3 10 60s 2-0-1-1
C1 Standing Calf Raise 3 15 45s 2-1-1-1
C2 1 Arm Shoulder Press DB 3 12 45s 3-0-1-0
D1 Hip Thrusts 3 12 45s 2-0-1-0


Here at Jogger, we’re fortunate enough to interview a wide variety of people, including David Jordan. You can read more in-depth interviews from athletes over on the Interviews section of our site.

Please note that if you are unsure of how to correctly and safely perform any of the exercises suggested here that you should seek the help of a professional.

Sam Walker
the authorSam Walker
Sam is a regular gym goer who loves a strong spin or step class. Her main fitness goal is to tone up and be a healthier / fitter version of herself.

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