Weight Training Exercises for Runners

It’s a common misconception that weight training is incompatible with running. Many assume that the added muscles make you heavier and slower. While at first this theory may make sense, it is in fact misguided. The objective of lifting weights is not to reach bodybuilding status but to increase power and endurance as well as lessen the chances of getting injured.

Lifting weights or even performing bodyweight exercises benefits runners in more ways than one. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine subjected participants to varying workouts for twelve weeks, one of which incorporated weight lifting into a running regime where subjects were asked to run 4-kilometres (2.49 miles). The group who combined strength and endurance training showed better aerobic performance by 8.6% compared to the other groups who did not lift weights. This proves that strength training is in fact of great advantage for runners.

Another benefit of weight lifting that every athlete finds important is injury prevention. The joints in our body are not fool-proof and you can imagine how running makes them even more vulnerable. When you pound the pavement, most of the stress is absorbed by the knees which is why runner’s knee is a common complaint among marathoners. An effective strength training program tailored for runners can improve leg strength because this group of muscles are what protect the knees. When joints in the lower body are stable the joints from the hips up remain protected. Coach Magazine adds that weight training also introduces variety into your workout and breaks your fitness plateau. This is perfect especially if you’re trying for a new PB.

Professionals such as former Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes have years of experience under their belt and already have a good understanding of how weight training is beneficial. If you look at Dame Holmes’ workout, you will see how she utilises a variety of weights in the form of medicine balls, kettlebells and ropes. The former professional athlete is a reliable source when it comes to running advice as the Kent-born star made history in 2004 by bringing home two gold medals from two Olympic track events. Even though she has been retired for many years, she is still active in the running community and continues to join races. Dame Holmes says that doing full body workouts that combine cardio and strength is more than effective for staying in running shape.

If you are an aspiring runner, want to improve your performance, or just looking to get fit, here’s a weight training routine that you can follow:

Note: Warm up with 3-5 laps around an oval or with 100 jumping jacks in place. Complete at least three sets of this workout for best results.

Press-up: 15 reps

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Bent-over Row: 12 reps


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Barbell Squats: 10 reps


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Deadlift: 12 reps


(image: Health Magazine)

Lunge: 8-12 reps


(image: Women’s Health Magazine)

Glute Bridges: 15 reps


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Russian Twist: 10 reps each side


(image: PopSugar)

Plank: 30-60 seconds


(image: PopSugar UK)

Many people, especially runners, are afraid to lift weights for fear of bulking up but it’s actually one of the best things you can do. Weight training exercises are not just to make major muscles bulge but to build functional strength. You can add this to the list of race planning tips shared here on Barnes Fitness and you’ll be good to go in no time!

Article submitted to barnesfitness.co.uk by Amy Cranes

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