Hi friends! It’s time for another round up of workouts for runners. I’ve teamed up with Allie, Angela, Laura, Nellie and Sarah and every month we bring you a different theme of workouts created specifically for runners. Want to catch up on previous roundups? Check them out here:
I’m excited to bring you this month’s workout, because it’s specifically for an area that often gets neglected when runners strength train – the upper body. When you think of effective strength training exercises for runners, lunges, step ups and squats come to mind, right? After all, it’s our legs doing the hard work while we’re running. But your upper body is working hard too and taking the time to ensure a strong, functional mobility in your shoulders and spine when you work out can make a big positive difference in your running.
You can also check out this upper body workout for runners I put together for Christine at Love Life Surf in which I explained a little more about why it’s so important to strength train your upper as well as lower body for running. (I also took the photos when pregnant with Baby T, so I’m rocking a serious bump. 🙂 )
Okay, ready to go? Here’s the Fine Fit Day upper body workout for runners. Do it as a circuit of 3 sets of 15 reps with a minute rest between each set.
First up we have a favorite exercise of mine (one that elicits the stink eye from my clients!), something I like to call the Move it, Move it Plank. From a hand plank position, take a dumbbell (or any other object) and move it with one hand to the opposite side of your mat. Repeat on the other side. Keep a strong plank position with a neutral spine throughout and try to minimize any lateral twisting as you reach. Here’s a demonstration I put up on Instagram yesterday:
Next up is the Row to Triceps Kickback. I personally like to do this in a bent-over position (hinged at hip, neutral spine), alternating between sides. With a dumbbell, row your arm with elbow narrow to your body, then extend your forearm back into a triceps extension.
The Super Scapula Superman is a great move for runners. It strengthens your back, glutes and shoulders, all at once. Lay face down on the floor, arms outstretched. Raise your arms and legs into a superman position, squeezing your glutes as you do. Once you’re in the raised position, pull your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades. Return your arms to the start position as you lower.
The Ax Chop can be done with a dumbbell, medicine ball, cable, or a resistance band. Start in a wide stance, holding either a medicine ball, or one dumbbell. Lean in to one side, then with straight arms, swing up and over your opposite shoulder. This should be a controlled movement, not relying on momentum, and as you twist, your hip and foot should follow the movement.
Dumbbell Adductions are most easily done in the gym with a decline bench and a pair of dumbbells. Think about doing a bench press from this position – instead of pressing straight up over your chest, you are pressing almost parallel to your torso, but against gravity since you are using the decline.
Finally, the Sit Up to Bench Press is another great combination of working your shoulders and chest at the same time as your abdominals. On a bench, with dumbbells at your chest, do a sit up, then press the dumbbells at the top. (Note: you always want to be working against gravity, so you may find the bench press becomes more like an overhead press to ensure that happens.)
Let me know if you try out this workout! I like sneaking in some lower body and abdominal work, even when you’re focusing on your upper body. Now, are you ready for more great upper body workouts for runners? My friends have you covered. 🙂
First, check out Sarah at Run Far Girl‘s awesome circuit workout. Not only does her workout sound like a killer, it looks pretty on paper too! 😉
Next, head over and visit Nellie at Brooklyn Active Mama. Nellie has put together a great strength routine you can do with either a barbell or dumbbells:
Angela from Happy Fit Mama has put together an awesome workout – I love using a stability ball as a bench for upper body exercises. It really targets abdominal stability as you’re doing the reps.
Laura from This Runner’s Recipes has incorporated two of my favorites – kettlebells and planks. I love this workout:
And last but definitely not least, Allie from Vita Train for Life has a deceptively simple workout you can do in the gym. (Push ups on a BOSU are no joke.)
Runners, do you work on your upper body as much as lower when you’re strength training?
What’s your favorite upper body exercise?