You might think that running is all about the legs. And frankly, it’s a lot about the legs, but that doesn’t mean that we should be ignoring the importance of upper body workouts for runners. Most of those who have races in mind imagine that working out the upper body will hinder their race times because of the extra weight which those muscles would bring, but this is far from the truth and in fact training the upper body gives runners a competitive advantage. Not only the body is developed in a balanced way, but training the upper body, runners are designed to minimize the chances of getting injured in the long run. Here are a few upper body workouts that runners should try.
4 Upper Body Workouts For Runners
1. Lat Pulldowns
This exercise is performed seated at a machine with your knees under a pad and a grip on the bar. You can hold the bar a bit wider than your shoulders, or a lot wider, depending on which muscles you want to target. This upper body workout for runners helps because when you are running you swing your hands, and in order to make sure they don’t just wobble around you activate your back muscles in order to control your entire upper body and make sure your posture is in check.
2. Cable Seated Rows
This one works the back muscles as well, and it is done seated. In order to do it correctly you must make sure that you don’t move forward and back too much (just a little, using your lower back muscles), and that your hands stay close to your body as you pull them back. The movement needs to be controlled and if done properly this can be an amazingly effective upper body workout for runners.
3. Standing Shoulder Presses
Now that we’ve worked our backs, let’s give a bit of attention to our shoulders and deltoids. This exercise strengthens our shoulders, but also the area between our shoulders and our neck (the delts). The reason why this is a really good upper body exercise for runners is because as we swing our hands when we run we need to make sure they don’t swing out of control. I know the back muscles help with this too, we’ve just discussed this, but the deltsand shoulder muscles make sure your hands don’t dangle, as this would put a lot of pressure on your upper spine (not to mention it would become very uncomfortable, very quickly).
4. Good Old Fashioned Pushups
This is an amazing weight-free upper body workout for runners. First of all, it works your chest, which- if you keep in mind the balanced body idea we talked about earlier- is important if you want your running to be smooth. If your upper body is fatigued, your running form will suffer which can only bring disadvantages to your game. Secondly, as you perform the pushups you must keep your core engaged. That means you are working both your abdominal muscles and your lower back muscles, and this is the sort of combo that helps you in the long run (literally). It helps your keep form easily, and it prevents you from getting tired too soon because it makes your workout more effective.
Are you a regular runner? What upper body workouts for runners would you recommend to us? Share your ideas in the comments section below.