Advanced strength training for runners
R un Happy team member and run/strength coach Dr. Kate Bochnewetch shares five advanced upper body exercises to improve your run.
Lifelong runner Dr. Kate Bochnewetch has a joy for the sport that extends beyond her own experiences with the run. As a physical therapist, Kate is passionate about working with runners to get stronger and recover from injury. She has a love for helping runners find balance in their training.
Dr. Kate believes it's important to include upper body strengthening into runners' workouts so they can achieve stronger, better, longer runs. To learn more about why strength training is key to improving your run, check out our article about beginner upper body exercises here.
Add these advanced exercises to your routine
Dr. Kate shared five advanced exercises that are perfect for runners who are looking to level up their strength training.
Dumbbell floor press
Lie flat and face up on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at chest level. Press up until your arms are fully extended, then lower the dumbbells back to your starting position. Do three sets of 6–8 reps. Muscles worked: pectorals, triceps, deltoids. Special equipment: dumbbells
Standing dumbbell single arm overhead press
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in one hand at your side and keep your empty hand slightly extended past your hip for balance. Raise the dumbbell to your side at about chin level into your starting position. Your arm should be at a 90-degree angle to start. Push up and extend your arm, lifting the dumbbell over your head slowly. Return to starting position. Do three sets of 6–8 reps per side, alternating sides after each set. Muscles worked: deltoids, triceps, upper trapezius, some pectorals [upper], abdominals. Special equipment: dumbbells
Dumbbell bent over row
Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend forward at the waist until you're at about a 120-degree angle to the floor (think not quite parallel). Your arms should be straight to start with the dumbbells settling at around knee level. Pull the dumbbells at or just past your body. Return to starting positions. Do three sets of 6-8 reps. Muscles worked: lats, upper/mid back (trapezius). Special equipment: dumbbells
Dumbbell lateral and front raise combo
Stand straight and hold a dumbbell in each hand at your side. Bend your knees slightly and raise the dumbbells laterally until they’re at about shoulder height. Bring them down slowly to starting position, then raise them again directly in front of you. Do 10–12 combos total (5–6 of each). Muscles worked: deltoids. Special equipment: dumbbells
Start in a crawling position with your hands, knees, and toes touching the floor. Raise your knees about six inches so that only your hands and toes are touching the floor. Keep your back straight and begin your crawl. You should be moving your right hand with your left leg, and your left leg with your right hand. Do this for about 40 seconds. Muscles worked: deltoids, abdominals including deep abdominals, some lower body muscles (quads). Special equipment: n/a, but make sure you have a flat surface and plenty of space to move around.
Now that you have some excellent exercises to help improve your run, head to our Run Happy Blog to explore other running workouts, training tips, gear stories, and much more. Be sure to follow Dr. Kate Bochnewetch on Instagram and check out her coaching and PT business, The Running DPT.