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How to Work the Muscles When Running

Mix It Up! Change How You Run and Sculpt Different Muscles

Running is a simple way to tone the lower body, but if you want to turn your run into a strengthening session for other muscles not traditionally targeted, try these variations to sculpt muscles. Doing so will help prevent overuse injuries and beat boredom.

  • Abs: Slow down your pace slightly and run with high knees up to the chest while keeping the abs engaged.
  • Abs and quads: Run with straight legs, scissor kicking your feet straight in front of you.
  • Abs and calves: Do a running skip, kicking one knee high into the chest with each hop.
  • Calves: Land softly only on the balls of the feet, as if tiptoe running.
  • Calves and hamstrings: As you run, kick your heels into your glutes.
  • Hamstrings: Run backwards; alternate looking over your right and left shoulder to avoid bumping into anything.
  • Inner and outer thighs: Run sideways crossing your back foot over your front with each step; alternate leading with the right and left legs.
  • Outer thighs and glutes (aka saddlebags): Run with legs slightly wider than hips-width distance apart.
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