Running is a very complex movement that involves all the major muscle group of your body moving in a rhythmic and synced manner. Your legs may be responsible for your ultimate goal running but think about the rest of your body. What is happening to your upper body when you run? Are your abdominal muscles, including your oblique’s playing a role in the rhythm of running? Yes and yes. Your arms, shoulders, abdominals and everything in between play an important role in your running success.
Your arms provide assistance in your running motion by helping to keep time and add forward momentum. Your shoulders, trapezius and upper back keep you straight, allowing your diaphragm to be as efficient as possible. Along with controlling the forward motion, your oblique’s and abdominal muscles create balance between your upper and lower body.
There is also a constant twisting motion created by your running motion—right leg and left arm move forward and then the left leg and right arm move in the same way. Without your arm movement, your fluid running motion is more difficult. If your abs and oblique’s are weak, then that constant balance in your bodies desire to twist becomes much more difficult to achieve.
So there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s important to ensure that your upper body strengthened in order to properly support your running motion and efficiency. Here are four strength training exercises to help you improve your running. Don’t be concerned about bulking up and adding extra weight. When performed properly these exercises will give you added strength, without added weight.
In a standing position, hold dumbbells in each hand at your sides with your palms pointing towards your hips. Alternating between each arm, contract your bicep and pull the dumbbell towards your shoulders keeping your palms facing your body.
Repeat 15 times, on each side and complete three sets.
From a standing position, hold a dumbbell in one hand and lift overhead until your arm is fully extended. With the palm of your hand facing the ceiling, keep your upper arm close to your head and lower the dumbbell behind your head, use your triceps to raise the dumbbell back to the starting position. Repeat 15 times, on each side and complete three sets.
Shoulders & Trapezius:
In a standing position, hold one dumbbell in each hand. Lift both shoulders towards your ears in a shrugging motion. Repeat 15 times and complete three sets.
In a standing position, roll your shoulders in a circular motion, ten times forwards and 10 backwards to complete one set. Repeat two more times for a total of three sets.
In a standing position, hold a broom handle across your shoulders behind your neck. Using a twist motion that initiates from the waist rotate from side to side 50 times.
Repeat two more times for three sets.
And if you’re in a real hurry, the one total upper body move that’s worth the effort? You guessed it, push-ups. Anytime, practically anywhere, it’s an equipment-free exercise that’s easy to incorporate into anyone’s training plan.
Originally posted in irun.ca