By Elizabeth Towe

Efficient running requires a stable-stance leg from which you can drive your body forward. Connecting the power of the stance leg to a stable torso with opposite arm rotation improves the efficiency of running.

The Step Back Lunge with Single Arm Row, one of my favorite exercises, can work all of the fundamental elements of running: hip (glute) strength for power in moving forward; balance and stability on one leg; pushing the body forward from the hip complex; and rotating around the stable central axis of the spine (with ribs and pelvis counter-rotating)

This exercise should fatigue the primary muscles of running: glutes, quads, and hamstrings while also creating a high demand on the obliques, shoulders and back for a strong core when you are upright on one leg.



  • Begin with medium-resistance tubing or cable machine on a low anchor with a medium amount of weight.
  • Stand and balance on the right leg with the handle of cable/tubing in the left hand.
  • Start a single leg squat on the right leg as you step back into a lunge with the left leg, keeping the cable/tubing arm straight. Ribs are slightly rotated toward the right leg when you are in the lunge position.
  • Simultaneously begin to lift the left leg into a knee lift and retract the left shoulder blade, row the tubing/cable, and rotate the ribs over the pelvis. Be sure to engage the glutes of the standing leg to facilitate the hip as the primary mover. This will facilitate a strong single leg stance. Remember that in running gait, the standing leg is what will propel you through swing phase to keep you moving forward with power.
  • Repeat this 10-15 times, and then switch sides.  Perform 2-3 sets on each side.

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Elizabeth Towe is a runner and a cyclist and the owner of Balanced Movement Studio in Carrboro. She graduated from East Carolina with a degree in exercise and sports science and has been personal training for over 20 years. Her ultimate goal for all of her clients is to help them realize and achieve the optimal quality in their life – and to remember to have fun doing it.