Light Weights

Hi, just a query. I'll start with a little background, being running competitively now for about a year and have begun to take it a little more serious. My current week involves around 40 miles with 1xtempo, 1xspeed, 1xlong run plus other 'run of the mill' runs (total 5 days). I also do 1 night of core circuits a week. I'm starting to look at doing light weights etc. just to build a bit of upper body and leg strength. Will this be beneficial to me? And if so, has anyone any links for runners doing weights? Thanks


  • Should add that I'm targeting 5k/10k races for the summer, probably won't go much higher than that in terms of distance.

  • Not entirely sure why anyone bothers with 'light weights' but I am assuming you mean more endurance than hypertrophy.

    I do strength training twice a week at the minute - I am more triathlon than pure runner though.  I do traithlon specific circuits aimed at injury prevention and functional strength.


    As a runner  (before crossing over) I always did some weight training - I feel it balances the body and from a purely aesthetic point of view - it helps to makes you look toned all over rather than having muscly legs and scrawny arms.  But why just do upper body - lunges and squats - even just with body weight, are great for endurance runners too.  


    Personally I think you can't go wrong with a few circuits that includes lunges, press ups, pull ups (or modified version if like me you can't do them), planks (front and side) and squats.  This isn't the perfect lifting regime but it sure gets most of you.  (stick some burpees at the end and you get a teensy bit of plyometric in there too image  )    


    Here's a link for more ideas:


  • As our old friend Moraghan would tell you, you don't do weight training to replicate running, you do weight training to strengthen your muscles.

    From the article gymaddict posted above:

    "People tend to gravitate toward workouts that emphasize their natural abilities. Since runners are masters of endurance, it makes sense that in the weight room, we'd adopt the classic formula for building muscular endurance--light weights, high repetitions. But lifting heavier weights for fewer reps is necessary for increasing strength. Strong muscles enhance the stability of your joints--which reduces the wear and tear on ligaments--and make you a better sprinter and hill climber."

    I do a regular core/strength routine a couple of times a week, some of it's using weights but mainly bodyweight exercises. I've got no conclusive proof it makes me a better runner or less injury-prone, but the abs are looking better.  image

  • As pp says, resistance training should be done with the aim of increasing strength rather than endurance.

    I also do a resistance session a couple of times a week, similar to what ga suggests but also using a resistance band (i have somehow lost my weights recently) to add rows, biceps curls and should press.

    If I'm feeling energetic ill also Include jumping squats and lunges.
  • After two of my shorter runs a week I'll do either lunges or squats then either chest press or row, then once a week I'll do all four plus, shoulder press, bicep curls and something for my triceps. The first four are for running, the rest for asthetics. I'd like to do more but think I am maxed out timewise. I have infinately less knee problems since adding lunges and squats back into my gym routine. (As suggested by SomeOldDog on this website - thank you).

  • Ive been doing weights once or twice a week for about a year - pull ups, press ups, bench press, shoulder press. To failure aiming for 8-12 reps with the weights

    Occasionally do abs/core and biceps etc but not very often


    Id recommend it to all runners. Have seen big improvements in running posture especially when tired.


    In terms of aesthethics i look a bit better (standard was high to start with image ) but still have runners body ie small shoulders, skinny arms


  • I'm doing some strengthening work at the gym. I started doing it due to ITBS and pes anserine tendinopathy. Typically I am using the machines rather than free weights at the gym with 3 sets of 12 reps - its a struggle to complete each set. At home I make some use of dumbbells for deadlift, squats etc, plus resistance band exercises. Although I can't prove it, I am starting to feel better prepared for running, and less susceptible to injury. Fixed machines used, in order of priority for me:




    Leg curls (hamstrings)

    Leg extension .(quads)

    Leg Raises (no weights) (core)

    Abdominal crunch

    Shoulder press

    Chest press

    As you can see, its very biased towards lower body, but thats the bit that doesn't function too well when running!
  • Yep, I do a weekly gym workout too with the following exercises:

    30 Pressups

    9 Wide arm chin ups

    12 reps lat raises (side 8Kg dumbells)

    12 reps fwd raises (8 Kg dumbells)

    20 reps each arm bent over rowing with 20Kg dumbell

    I also shoulder press my 5 year old son weekly: 12 reps (not joking image)

    Barbell Squats 60Kg (40kg on a 20kg bar) 10-12 reps

    Hamstring machine (difficult to quantify weight, circa 30Kgs?) 12 reps

    Bent leg situps 60 reps

    Crunch situps 50 reps

    For my calves I do daily eccentric exercises on stairs

    This lot pretty much exercises all the muscle groups I can think of. My intention in respect of upper body exercises is to maintain muscle, not build. The leg exercises are pretty tough.....12 reps is failure. I do intend these to be to a degree strengthening; in order to aid with hill work/speedwork.

    I'm 5'9 and just under 11 stone (152Lbs). I'm training for a sub 36:30 10K in 2 weeks.....fingers crossed!!

  • I wouldn't do any circuit training. It is possibly a waste of time if are focus on performance.

    Work on your maximal strength and power. 2-3 exercises (backsqiat, step-up, deadlift, stiffleg deadlift, ......)2-3 sets, 3-4min rests between sets, 2-6 reps.

    Find out abot strenght and conditioning for runners at:


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