Do you know that you can develop your running technique by understanding the muscles used in running? From the Shoulder to the toe, The body uses 40 to 90 percent of muscle volume when running.
But the question still remains the same which muscles are actively involved when running? And why should you learn about the biomechanics of muscles?
Learning about the running muscles can help you stay focused on the right training exercises and workouts.
Let’s understand the most important types of muscles involved in running, and their importance, and learn muscle-specific exercises to maximize your running efficacy. Further, you’ll also get to know some expert advice to prevent running injuries.
1. Quads or Quadriceps
2. The Glutes
3. Hip Flexors
5. Core Muscles
6. Calf Muscles
Upper Body Muscles Used When Running
For better running, most sprinters usually focus on lower body muscles. You’ll be surprised to know that researchers suggest a neuromechanical link between your arms and head that gets activated during running.
The most important muscles included in the running are:
- Arms: aids the balance of the runner by maintaining the upper and lower body forces.
- Biceps: strong biceps are required to swing your arms forward and backward.
- Chest Muscles: These muscles support your upper body and stabilize the runner’s stride.
- Scalene Muscles: These are the shoulders muscles that help maintain good posture when running for long miles.
Tips to Prevent Running Injuries
From runner’s knee to shin splints, running injuries can affect your daily workouts as these ailments cause temporary discomfort and severe fatigue. So, it is important to take steps to prevent running injuries. With the points mentioned below, you’ll dramatically reduce your injury risk and enjoy hustle-free workouts.
- Invest in quality running shoes to prevent foot injury.
- Daily stretches to warm up your muscles and prevent fatigue.
- Incorporate strength workouts to improve your endurance and running speed.
- Go for muscle-specific exercises and focus on supportive training muscles.
- Running coaches emphasize keeping yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and juices.
- Give your muscles time to recover and gain strength after each running session.
3 Stretches Every Runner Should Do
Every runner should pre-run and post-run stretches to warm up their muscles.
Experts suggest holding each stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds. Not only does it helps to improve the flexibility of joints, but it also helps runners to relax.
The Calf Muscle Stretch
- Face against the wall and extend both your arms out in front of you
- Place one leg forward and slightly bend your knee such that it faces forward
- Straight back your other leg and lean towards the wall to stretch your calf muscle.
- Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds, and then switch sides
The Seated Quad Stretch
- Sit on the floor and move your knees under your buttock with your foot flexed back.
- Gently place both your elbows on the ground.
- Slightly lean backward to stretch your Quad muscles.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
- Kneel on both the knees bringing one knee forward and the other leg behind you.
- Make sure that the right knee must be directly over your right ankle.
- Straighten your upper body and slightly lean backward.
- To increase the stretch, squeeze, and contract the glute muscles of your straightened leg.
- Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat the same steps with the other leg.
The Bottom Line
To sum up, being a better runner involves a deep understanding of what muscles does running work, so that you can train your muscles and build your endurance.
Whether you aim to run for long miles or go for short-distance running, your muscles must be in the best shape.
Also, make sure you’re following all the directions suggested by your trainer.
The key to best running is understanding your body and taking care of it by doing exercises and workouts.
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Yegian, A., Tucker, Y., Bramble, D., & Lieberman, D. (2021). The neuromechanical linkage between the head and forearm during running. American Journal Of Physical Anthropology, 174(4), 752-762.
The 10 most effective stretches for runners. Medicalnewstoday.com. (2022). Retrieved 27 May 2022, from
Soleus, the forgotten muscle for runners – Westcoast SCI Physiotherapy. Westcoast SCI Physiotherapy. (2022). Retrieved 27 May 2022,
Bartlett, J., Sumner, B., Ellis, R., & Kram, R. (2013). Activity and functions of the human gluteal muscles in walking, running, sprinting, and climbing. American Journal Of Physical Anthropology, 153(1), 124-131.
PharmD, Salim Habib University | A Medical and Healthcare Writer