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Strength Training for Runners: Plan B

Updated on June 14, 2007

"A runner with strong legs but weak arm muscles and weak core muscles will always be slower than a runner with total-body fitness."

Workout B

This plan targets muscles the will help you decreased injury risk and increased performance while runner. You will see the results quickly, and it doesn't add much time to your workout (t takes less than 30 minutes, two days a week).

The Plan

Do Workout B at least twice a week, resting at least a day between each session. The workout includes five exercises. Perform the first three (1, 2, and 3) as a circuit: Do one set of each and move to the next without resting in between. When you've completed one circuit of the three exercises, rest for 60 seconds. Repeat one to two times, for a total of two to three circuits. Alternate between the final pair of exercises (4 and 5): Do one set of 4 followed by 30 seconds of rest, then one set of 5 followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat until you've done two to three sets. Use the heaviest weight that allows you to complete every repetition of every set. You shouldn't finish the last set feeling like you could have done five more repetitions.

1. Stability-Ball Leg Hip Extension/Leg Curl

Lie on your back on the floor and place your calves on a stability ball. Extend your arms to your sides to help support and balance your body [1]. Push your hips up so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees [2]. Without allowing your hips to sag (keep with your body at all times), roll the ball as close as you can to your hips by bending your knees and pulling your heels toward you [3].

Modifications: To make it easier, only do steps one and two, and skip the leg curl. To make it harder, do the exercise with just one leg, holding the other leg in the air above your hips.

Repetitions: six to eight

Muscles worked: hamstrings, glutes, core

2. Rotational Shoulder Press

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders, your palms facing each other [1]. Press the dumbbells overhead as you rotate to your left [2]. Lower the dumbbells as you rotate back to the center, then rotate to the right as you press the weights upward again. That's one repetition.

Modification: To make it easier, do half of the repetitions without the rotations.

Repetitions: six to eight

Muscles worked: shoulders, triceps, core

3. Stability-Ball Knee Drive

Place your hands on a stability ball and get into pushup position, your body forming a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles [1]. Keeping your arms straight, quickly raise your left knee as close as you can to your chest [2]. Lower it and repeat with your right leg.

Modification: To make it easier, perform it in a regular pushup position with your palms on the ground, not the ball.

Repetitions: As many as you can in 30 seconds

Muscles worked: shoulders, core

4. Alternating Dumbbell Row

Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length in front of you, palms facing your thighs. Keeping your back naturally arched, bend at the hips and lower your torso until it's nearly parallel to the floor. Keep your arms straight as you bend your hips so that the dumbbells hang straight down [1]. Pull the dumbbell in your left hand by bending your elbow and raising your upper arm toward the middle of your back [2]. Lower and repeat with your right arm. That's one repetition.

Modification: To make it easier, perform the move with both hands at once (using both hands requires less core stability).

Repetitions: 10 to 12

Muscles worked: middle back, biceps, core

5. Lower-Body Russian Twist

Lie on your back with your upper legs perpendicular to the floor, and your knees bent 90-degrees [1]. Without changing the bend in your hips or knees, lower your legs to the left side of your body while keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor [2]. Lift them back to the starting position, and repeat to the right side of your body. That's one repetition.

Modification: To make it harder, keep your legs straight.

Repetitions: 10 to 12

Muscles worked: core


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