Saturday, 5 January 2013

Strength workouts for runners

Each of these sessions should take no more than 20mins to complete.

A few years ago I learnt a couple of things about weight training that have stayed with me ever since. Before I go on I’d like to share them with you;

1.       When you train one part of the body during a session you must also train the opposite part. This ensures your training remains balanced. For example, if you intend on a bicep session you have to do the triceps too; chest and back etc.

2.       The only body parts/areas that should be trained on consecutive days are the abs (core) and the legs. This ensures adequate recovery and as we all know it is during recovery that improvements in fitness are made.

3.       Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to consume masses of protein either pre or post workout. As an endurance athlete you need 1.3g of protein per kg of body weight every day. Body builders need approx’ 1.7g per kg of body weight. The difference is more subtle than manufacturers of ‘muscle building’ supplements would have you believe.

I use free weights. However, you can use your imagination and utilise your own body weight, household items or pulley machines at your nearest public/private membership gym.

Many of you will be familiar with the terms ‘reps’ and ‘sets’, so I’ll not go down that road. Broadly speaking you should be looking to do 3 sets of 10-12 reps of each exercise – with a weight that you struggle to do 15reps with.

Now then, having said that, I do something slightly different; I perform each exercise immediately one after the other and then that whole session counts as a set for me. I’ll then rest for a minute and repeat the whole thing again. I do that three times in total. Does that make sense?

I got this tip from the book; the 4 hour body. Essentially, it gets my heart rate pumping a lot more than it would do otherwise, it saves me loads of time and it turns my body into a ‘fat burning furnace’ when I’m at rest.

Our focus is on all body strength. So there are 3 upper body workouts and 2 lower body workouts. As said beforehand, Olga gave me the basis for these routines but I’ve subtly changed them to suit.

Note; if you aren’t familiar with these types of exercise and you feel you might want to give them a try, why not take a note and google or youtube them. That’s what I do, if I can’t visualise something.

Upper body 1 (chest and back)

1.       50 dumbbell jog swings

2.       Decline bench press

3.       Wide arm overhand pull-ups

4.       30 Decline bench sit-ups

5.       Bent over row

6.       30 decline bench twist-sits

7.       Underarm pull-ups

Upper body 2 (arms)

1.       EZ bar curls

2.       20 Tricep dips

3.       Hammer bar curls

4.       Decline bench overhead tricep press

5.       Dumbbell curls

6.       Lying cross over extensions

Upper body 3 (shoulders)

1.       Overhead barbell press

2.       Hammer bar curls

3.       Decline bench overhead tricep press

4.       Alternate overhead dumbbell press

5.       EZ bar shrugs

6.       Bent over rows

7.       Punch bag – all out for 30secs

Lower body 1

1.       Dumbbell squats

2.       Deadlifts

3.       Bulgarian squats

4.       20 Standing calf raises (with 40lb pack on)

5.       40 seated calf raises (40kg on knees)

6.       Hamstring curls (inverted on exercise ball)

Lower body 2

1.       Single leg squats

2.       20 clams

3.       Reverse dumbbell lunge

4.       20 standing calf raises (with pack on)

5.       40 seated calf raises (weight on knees)

In a future post, I’ll show how these are included in my programme but essentially I’ll get through all workouts within every two weeks. I also sprinkle in other strength related workouts in that same time period and in a future post I’ll log what those are specifically. For now though they relate to;

        I.            Core workouts

      II.            Plyometrics

    III.            Physiotherapy workouts

    IV.            Intense circuits


  1. good stuff this mate, wish i had the time to include more of it.

  2. Finally read your last 4 posts. Apparently, last I checked before your email was exactly a day prior your explosion of writing:) I am sorry the injuries get piled up, and I elaborated my thoughts in an email. Thanks for all the kind words. I think there is a correlation between your troubles and my other friend Tracy at Checking ego out the door, fully recovering, setting goals that are manageable in YOUR life with other priorities AND doing it for the right reasons are what brings success. Pushing through head first take longer and more painful route. And with the surgery you have looming...may be access it first, treat, heal in a meantime, then get that solid base - and re-schedule the goals for 2014? Just a thought. Just how important it is to push through and do a mediocre job but do it, or do it perfect and with love later? Your choice.

  3. This is a very comprehensive workout routine! I have a question though – do you have to do it every day or every other day? I mean, muscle rest is important in preparing the body for extensive workouts, right? Another question - how can you keep your stamina after doing all these?

    Shemika Vanhoose

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Hi Shemika, I would get through all of these workouts within a two-week period i.e. 5 strength based workouts within every 14 day period. I hope that answers both questions?