Essential Upper Body Strength Training for Runners

Essential Upper Body Strength Training for Runners | happyfitmama.comA runner’s legs get all the attention.

Rightly so. We need to strengthen our quads, fire up the glutes, stretch out the ever tight hamstrings and of course, keep our calves strong and loose.

Just because the lower body gets all the attention, doesn’t mean your upper body doesn’t need any love. It’s not just going along for the ride. To be an efficient runner, you need to have your whole body work together to stride through the miles.

A strong upper body in a runner will help you power through when your legs are getting tired in the late stages of any hard effort workout or race. If you’ve ever spectated a race before, you know what I’m talking about. You’ll see runners with hunched over shoulders and arms barely moving as they cross the finish line. Most likely, their feet are shuffling, not gliding along like you want.

With trail and mountain running, I’m finding that strength in my arms and back are really needed as I’m climbing/power hiking up the hills. If I’m collapsing in my upper body when I fatigue on the hills, I’m making my legs work 10x harder than need be. But if I pump my arms faster, my legs follow suit. It’s the same thing even when you are running on flat ground. To run faster and more efficient, you need your whole body to be strong and in sync.

Now, I’m not talking about building bulky biceps or lats. I’m talking about building strength to help carry you through the miles.That’s all a runner wants, right?

Here’s two upper body focused workouts just for runners.

FYI – While I am a certified professional, I am not your trainer. Listen to your body and it’s limitations. Please check with your physician if you are new to exercise or have any questions regarding your health and exercise.

Essential Upper Body Strength Training for Runners |

Essential Upper Body Strength Training for Runners |

Feel free to do either of these complete workouts. Or pick a handful of upper body exercises and lower body exercises to give you a full body workout 2-3x/week for the maximum benefit.

The most important thing is that you are strength training in addition to running. Because a runner can’t survive on running alone.

Looking for more upper body workouts for runners?  Check out 6 different workouts HERE.

Linking up with Coaches Corner.

7 comments on “Essential Upper Body Strength Training for Runners

  1. We absolutely agree! Where the major muscles of the back attach near the hips and lower back, weakness in the upper body, or muscular imbalances, can impact our training and racing efforts!

  2. The legs follow the arms! I notice a huge difference when I pay attention to my upper body in strength training. Even if aesthetically it doesn’t look too different, the difference is there in good form.

  3. I rely on my strong upper body when my legs eventually get exhausted and heavy during long runs or races. What Laura said is true — > the legs follow the arms! My entire upper body is sore right now from my strength training on Wednesday so…it’s working!? Plus, a strong upper body and core only help keep injuries at bay 🙂 Happy running weekend mama!
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  4. I was just recently thinking in the gym that I need to do more than the 3-4 leg machines I do. Thanks for this starting point.

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