We all know and love the benefits we derive from running. Our leg strength and our cardiovascular fitness are greatly increased. Mentally and psychologically, running enables us to think more clearly, and it is an excellent form of stress release. Running keeps our weight down and melts away fat.
It is sculpts and tones us...from the waist down.
Over the years, I have found that a weight lifting regimen, two or three times a week, goes a long way toward increasing upper body strength, toning muscles from the waist up, and giving one the edge over competitors.
First, let's make one thing perfectly clear. Runners, who also lift weights, will never be mistaken for body builders. But, we don't want to be.
Weight lifting for runners is for the purpose of building upper body strength, not upper body bulk. For that reason, runners should concentrate on low-weight, high-repetition workouts.
Let's start our weight lifting routine with the core. A strong abdomen equals a strong back. Include crunches, or other abdominal exercises into your training schedule.
I try to do 300 crunches daily while I watch the news, a sporting event, or a television program. Back in high school, we used to do an exercise called "six inchers." You lie on your back, raise your legs up, approximately six inches off the ground, and hold for 10 seconds. Do a set of ten, and you'll feel the burn in your lower abdomen.
My 20-minute weight lifting workout is conducted three times a week. I do a 3 sets of 15 bench presses, with a two-minute break between sets. I then proceed to 3 sets of 25 reps of curls, followed by 3 sets of 15 rowing exercises. I pick up the bar, holding it at my waist, "row" to my chest, then back to my waist.
Throughout the week, I visit my chin-up bar, where I try to do 10 chin-ups.
That's the routine that works for me. I believe if you put in about a half hour a day, three times a week, upper body weight lifting can supplement and enhance your running.
Plus, it makes you look and feel good.