The upper body plays a crucial role in maintaining proper posture and conserving energy. Here are some upper body workouts for runners!
I have always been a fan of strong arms on ladies. For some reason a lot of women believe that lifting weights and doing arm specific exercises will result in super bulky scary man arms–this is completely untrue. When you lift weights and train your arms, you get a gorgeous defined womanly upper body that make any sleeveless dress look amazing! Plus it doesn’t hurt to look even better in your running tanks in your race photos!
Not to mention that upper body strength is essential for good running posture. Since running is a complete body sport, in addition to the squats/lunges/calf raises we do, we need to make sure we are paying equal attention to the biceps and triceps too so that we can stay upright at the end of races.
Just in time for sleeveless tops for the summer I have teamed up with my favorite group of bloggers for our Monthly Workout For Runners, and now we are focusing on Upper Body Workouts.
Why Runners Should Incorporate Upper Body Workouts
Running, at first glance, may appear to be a sport that solely involves the legs. After all, it’s our feet that pound the pavement, our calves and quads that feel the burn, and our hips that guide our stride. But seasoned runners know there’s more to efficient and powerful running than just leg work. The upper body plays a crucial role in maintaining proper posture, regulating pace, and conserving energy. Hence, incorporating upper body workouts is not just beneficial, but essential for runners. Here’s why:
1. Improved Posture
Maintaining an upright, yet relaxed, posture during runs helps with respiratory efficiency. A strong upper body—specifically the back and core—supports the spine and keeps the runner upright, especially during long runs when fatigue sets in and slouching becomes tempting.
2. Balanced Muscle Development
Only focusing on the legs can create a muscle imbalance in the body, potentially leading to injuries. An upper body workout balances out this muscle development, ensuring an even distribution of strength and reducing the risk of posture-related issues.
3. Enhanced Arm Drive
The arms play a pivotal role in driving the body forward, especially during sprints or uphill climbs. Strengthening the biceps, triceps, and shoulders allows for a more potent arm drive, which can give you that extra push when you need it most.
4. Increased Core Strength
The core acts as a stabilizer during runs. A strong core—achieved not only through targeted core exercises but also through comprehensive upper body workouts—helps in maintaining stability, especially on uneven terrains. This reduces the risk of trips and falls.
5. Better Respiratory Efficiency
A strong chest and intercostal muscles facilitate deeper, more efficient breathing. This ensures a better oxygen supply to the muscles, which can improve endurance and delay the onset of fatigue.
6. Energy Conservation
A balanced, strong upper body helps evenly distribute the effort required during a run. Instead of overburdening the legs, runners can use their arm drive and core strength to aid in the movement, conserving energy in the process.
7. Injury Prevention
Overuse injuries are common among runners. Incorporating upper body workouts can not only alleviate the stress placed on the lower body but also ensure that the muscles and joints of the upper body are conditioned enough to prevent strains or injuries.
Incorporating Upper Body Workouts For Runners
For runners, the goal isn’t necessarily to build massive biceps or a broad chest, but to develop functional strength. Here are some recommended exercises:
- Push-ups: An excellent exercise for the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Planks: Great for the core, but also engages the shoulders and chest.
- Pull-ups or assisted pull-ups: Target the back muscles, which are essential for posture.
- Dumbbell rows: Strengthen the upper back and shoulders.
- Bicep curls and tricep dips: These will help improve the strength of the arm drive.
Incorporating upper body workouts into a runner’s training regimen is not about aesthetics; it’s about performance, efficiency, and injury prevention. Just like how the engine of a car isn’t its only essential component, a runner’s legs aren’t the only muscles powering their movement. So, the next time you’re planning your training, ensure you have a balanced mix of lower and upper body exercises. Your running performance will thank you for it!
For more strength training posts check out:
- 10 Strength Training Exercises for Strong Legs
- Two A Day Workouts For Runners
- 5 Practical Reasons Why All Women Should Be Lifting Weights
How often do you work on your upper body? What is your favorite upper body workout?
Hi! I’m Nellie. I am a busy mama of three, wife to my high school sweetheart who loves to cook, workout and stay organized! I love to share helpful printables, the best recipes and fitness tips for the modern mom. I strongly believe that every mom can feed their family well, take proper care of themselves and have fun along the way! Read my story.
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