As a dedicated runner, you understand the importance of strong legs and a powerful cardiovascular system to conquer those miles. But what about your arms? Often overlooked, your arms significantly affect your overall running performance.
Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your form or an experienced runner aiming for better endurance, incorporating targeted arm workouts into your training regimen can make a difference.
These arm workouts for runners will delve into the myriad benefits of developing strong arms specifically tailored to enhance your running capabilities. We’ll explore how improved running form, reduced risk of injuries, and increased endurance are just a few advantages of arm strength.
From effective exercise routines to tips on seamlessly integrating them into your running schedule, we’ve got you covered.
Upper body strength is important for runners
Your upper body workout should include exercises to help you become a better runner. Some of the benefits of strong arms for runners include:
Improved running form
Running is not just about moving your legs; it’s about how you use your whole body. Strong arms can be like secret helpers that make your running form better in three important ways:
1. Better posture: Imagine running with your arms hanging limply by your side. It would be like trying to balance on a wobbly stool. But when your arms are strong, they help you keep your back straight and steady. A stable upper body is a strong foundation for your body, helping you run without leaning forward or slouching.
2. Increased efficiency: Think of your arms as extra engines for your legs. When you have a powerful arm swing while running, it’s like giving a little push to your steps. This push helps you move forward with less effort. So, strong arms not only keep you balanced and looking good, but they also make your running more efficient.
3. Improve endurance: Strong arms help to reduce fatigue in the lower body. This is because a strong arm swing can help to transfer energy from the upper body to the lower body. As a result, runners with strong arms can run longer and harder without getting as tired.
When we talk about running, we also need to think about keeping our bodies safe from injuries. Strong arms play a vital role in preventing some common running injuries. Here’s how:
1. Stability matters: Picture yourself running on a bumpy road. If your arms are weak, they can’t help you keep your balance.
Strong arms help to stabilize the upper body and improve posture. This can help to reduce the risk of overuse injuries, such as runner’s knee and shin splints. Strong arms act like your body’s stabilizers, helping you stay upright and safe.
2. Arm swing magic: Your arms swing back and forth while running. This swinging movement isn’t just for show. It helps you balance, control your body and with your running stride. If your arms are strong, they can guide your body better and prevent accidents.
Running long distances can be tough, but strong arms can be your secret weapon to keep you going longer. Here’s how they help:
1. Consistent pace: Imagine your body is a machine, and every part has to work together smoothly. Your arms are like the gears that help you maintain a steady pace. When your arms are strong, they assist your legs in moving in a rhythmic way. This helps you avoid sudden stops or slowdowns, making your runs more comfortable.
2. The endurance connection: Running is not just about your legs and lower body; it’s about your whole body. Strong arms help you use less energy while running. When your arms are powerful, they can help carry some of your body weight, making it easier for your legs. This means your muscles won’t tire out as quickly, so you can keep running longer.
3. Better performance: Strong arms can help runners perform better in races and other running events. This is because a strong arm swing can help runners maintain their speed and form throughout a race.
Arm workout exercises for runners
Strength training exercises can be helpful for a strong upper body. There are several different ways you can combine exercises. Here are two different exercises that can be done with dumbbells or with a resistance band.
Arm workout ONE
The group of upper body exercises is a giant set. This is a group of 4 or more exercises performed one after the other without rest. This means you will perform ALL of the first four exercises, then take a break of 45-60 seconds and then repeat this process.
Bicep curls/ hammer curls
- Hold a pair of dumbbells while standing up straight or sitting on a bench.
- Curl the other dumbbell all the way to the top of the movement for the prescribed number of reps.
- Switch arms and repeat.
Chest-supported dumbbell front raise
- Set up an incline bench to a 45-degree angle.
- Set yourself up on the bench – Chest on the upper portion of the back rest, legs placed comfortably, head above the backrest
- Hold a set of dumbbells with an overhand grip.
- Lift the dumbbells in front of you while keeping the core tight.
- When the dumbbells reach shoulder height, pause and slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip. Bend at the hips while keeping your back flat.
- Engage your core.
- Bring your upper body parallel to the floor and your arms to your sides.
- Push the dumbbells back behind you.
- Pause when your arms are fully extended behind you, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Hold dumbbells with a neutral grip with your back straight and feet shoulder-width apart. Elbows should be close to your sides.
- With arms fully extended, raise the dumbbells out to your sides and up until they are at shoulder level.
- Pause, and then slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
- Set up an incline bench at a 45-degree angle.
- Set yourself up on the bench – Chest on the upper portion of the back rest, legs placed comfortably, head above the back rest
- Hold a set of dumbbells with an underhand grip and keep your palms facing forward.
- Let your arms stretch all the way down.
- Bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells all the way up with dumbbells reaching close to your shoulders.
- Squeeze your biceps during the movement and especially at the top of the movement.
- In a controlled manner, lower the weights to the initial position.
Arm workout TWO
The group of exercises is a tri-set. This is a group of 3 exercises performed one after another without rest. You will perform all three, then take a break of 30-60 seconds and then repeat the process for the prescribed number of sets.
Bent over lateral raise
- Hold a pair of dumbbells and bend from the hips, keeping your back flat.
- With a slight bend in your elbows, lift the dumbbells up and out to the side.
- Pause at the top, then slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
- Grab a set of dumbbells with an overhand grip, and hold the weight in front of your thighs with your palms facing your body.
- Keep the weight as close to your body as possible and pull the barbell up towards your chest.
- Your elbows should remain flared out during the movement.
- When the dumbbells are at chest level pause before lowering back to the starting position.
Overhead shoulder press
- Stand with your entire body tight and rigid. Hold a barbell just above your upper chest, hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Press the bar up til your elbows are extended.
- Slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position.
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The best way to become a better runner is to run. One of the best ways to become a more efficient runner is to include strength training exercises.
Here are some specific examples of how strong arms can help runners in different situations:
- During a sprint: When runners are tired at the end of a race, a strong arm swing can help maintain speed and cross the finish line first.
- During a long run: On a long run when distance runners try to conserve energy, a strong arm swing can help to run more efficiently and reduce fatigue.
- On hills: When running uphill, a strong arm swing can help runners generate more power and climb the hill more easily.
- On uneven terrain: When running on uneven terrain, a strong arm swing can help runners to maintain their balance and avoid falls.