Weightlifting For Runners

People often assume that the key to successful running is to simply practice running. However, this is not the case. Weight training has lots of benefits for improving running techniques and for helping you become stronger when you run.

If you begin weight training, you will see an improvement in your running skills and times. 

Weightlifting For Runners

If you are unfamiliar with weight training, this article will help you to understand what weightlifting exercises can help develop your running techniques.

Beginning weight training can be difficult if you are new to it, but these exercises will help to improve your running and allow you to see your running develop to a high standard. 

Find out more about the exercises that you can do to become stronger and improve your running. This article will give you step-by-step instructions on how to complete the weighted exercises so you can gradually become stronger. 

Choosing Weights As A Beginner

As a beginner, you mustn't push yourself too hard when using weights for the first time. You should also remember that our bodies can be used as weights, you do not need to lift dumbbells or kettlebells to weight train. 

If you are uncomfortable with lifting weights and want to begin at a lower level, you can do bodyweight exercises that will help build up your strength before you gradually increase the weight. 

When you are choosing a weight, begin by using a really light weight. Start to lift the weight 10 times to see how you feel throughout the exercise. If you think you can add some more weight to it, gradually increase the weight until you are happy with it.

You can then begin to increase your weight every couple of weeks, the same way that you do when increasing your running distance. 

You mustn't try to lift weights that are too heavy too quickly. If you do, you could cause permanent damage to yourself. You should never begin with heavy weights if you are a beginner as you could tear or harm your muscles, which will impact your running.

Begin with light weights and work your way up to the heavier weights at a slow pace. Make sure that you always listen to your body!

Mistakes That Runners Make When Weight Training

There are some common mistakes that runners make when they begin to weight train for the first time. As you are aiming to improve your running, you need to make sure that you are using the weights properly to prevent any injuries or muscle damage.

Here are some of the mistakes that runners make when they first start to weight lift. 

Only Lifting Low Weights

If you are using low weights and performing a high number of reps, you will be developing your endurance. However, if you remain to lift the lighter weights that you are comfortable with, then you will never see an improvement in your strength.

Using lighter weights to start weight training is important as this will prevent injuries, but you will need to gradually increase your weight to see an improvement in your strength. 

Lifting Too Heavy Too Quickly

If you are new to weight training, you should never lift heavy weights too quickly. By doing this, you are putting yourself at risk as you will be very likely to damage your muscles. 

Tearing your muscles or causing long-term damage can also hinder your running progress, so it is advised that you start to use lighter weights and then gradually progress to the heavier weights. 

Only Training Certain Body Parts

A big mistake that runners make when weight training is that they only train their legs as they believe that this will help to improve their running. 

Weight training your legs will help you to develop your running, but you will need to weight train your whole body to see significant development in your running. Training your core muscles, arms, and shoulders will help you to feel stronger and see an improvement in your running. 

What Weight Exercises Are Good For Runners?

Here are some exercises that will help to develop your strength so you can improve your running. These exercises target different areas of your body so you can give your body a full workout and not just focus on strengthening one area. Find out more about the exercises below!

Upper Body Workouts


Push-ups are very common upper body exercises and are one of the effective ways to build chest muscles at home as you can do them anywhere and they do not require weights. To begin, position yourself in a high plank and engage your core. Your back and legs should be straight as there should be a straight line formed from your head to your feet.

Then, you can begin to bend your elbows and lower your chest down to the floor. Once your chest is near the floor, push yourself back to the starting position. You need to keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise and make sure that your hips remain up. 

To make the exercise easier, you can begin by doing the push-ups on your knees and then gradually progress to push-ups on your feet. You can also make the push-ups harder by adding a weighted plate to your back. Only do this if you are used to using weights. 

Reverse Fly

A reverse fly exercise strengthens your back and shoulders, which can help you to improve your running techniques. You will need to use dumbbells for this exercise, so choose the weights that you are comfortable with. Position yourself with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. 

Next, bend your legs slightly and lean forward so that your stomach is parallel with the floor. The dumbbells should hang straight down. 

While your back remains flat, lift your arms to the side until they are in line with your shoulders. There should be a straight line from one hand, across your back, to your other hand. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down and gradually lift them back to your shoulder height. 

Core Exercises

Sit-Ups With Weights

Sit-ups are great for strengthening your core, especially with added weights. Use a dumbbell of your choice and lie on the mat with your face looking at the ceiling. Hold the dumbbell in one hand and lift it straight up in front of you.

Keeping your arm straight up and engaging your core, sit up whilst keeping the dumbbell straight in the air. 

Make sure that you keep your arm straight up and then lower yourself back down to the starting position. You can repeat the sit-ups on the other side by holding the dumbbell in the other hand. Don't use a dumbbell that is too heavy as this will cause you to experience injuries. 

Leg Raises

To perform leg raises, you will need to lie on your back on the mat. Keep your hands down by your hips to support you, especially if you are not used to working your core. Begin to lift your legs straight up so your body is positioned in an 'L' shape.

Next, engage your core and begin to lower your legs down, but do not place them on the mat. Keep them an inch off the mat, and repeat the exercise. 

You can add extra weight to this exercise by putting a weighted ball in between your ankles. Only do this if you are used to lifting weights. 

Lower Body Exercises

Glute Bridges

To perform glute bridges, begin by lying on the mat facing the ceiling. Your back should be flat and your knees slightly bent. Lift your right leg, keep your knees in line, and lift your hips.

Slowly lower them back down, and repeat the exercise Once you have completed the exercise on one leg, you can swap to the other. 

You can use your body weight for this exercise or add a weighted plate on your hips for extra weight. You can hold the plate with your hands to stop it from sliding. 


Lunges are one of the best leg press alternatives for getting massive legs, and for strengthening your lower body muscles, so they are an important exercise for runners. You will need to have a dumbbell in each hand, so choose weights that you are comfortable using and that are not too heavy.

Weightlifting For Runners (1)

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, step forward and lower yourself until your other shin is vertical to the floor. Use your heel on the floor to push yourself back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. 

You can perform this exercise only using your body weight or add dumbbells that you are comfortable with. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, strengthening your entire body will help you to develop your running skills. By training your whole body, you will see a difference in your running as running is a lot more advanced than just using your legs.

Training your core will help you to keep the correct form, and training your back and shoulders will help you to run faster. 

It is important to make sure that you do not use heavy weights too quickly as this can cause you to damage your body. Make sure that you gradually increase your weights and do not use heavy weights too quickly.

You can also try these cardio workout for runners if you're looking to boost your stamina as well as improve your core strength. 

Kevin Harris