When it comes to improving your running you may think you need to focus all of your energy on your mobility, flexibility, lower body strength and, of course, pounding the pavement. But, a weak upper body that crumbles into a gelatinous mess after just a few a miles could be the dead weight that’s holding you back, causing plateaus in your running performance, and may even lead to injury.
Our upper-body ‘pump and carry’ circuit only requires two dumbbells but ticks all of the right boxes when it comes to strengthening your posture, improving your core strength and building the kind of ‘structural integrity’ that will keep your chest, back, shoulders and arms going strong, long after your legs have given up.
Work your way through 8 rounds of the following circuit. Keep the rest between movements to the absolute minimum before resting for 2-3 minutes between each round, keeping your form sharp and posture tight throughout
1. Renegade row x 20
Drop into a strong plank with both hands on your dumbbells (A). Shifting your weight onto your left hand, row the right dumbbell towards your hip (B). Pause briefly, then lower the weight under control. Repeat on your left side (left+right equals two reps)
2. Front rack carry x 20m
Don’t let go of your weights just yet – instead, stand up and clean them onto your shoulders, knuckles almost grazing your chin (A). Stride forward with purpose, keeping your shoulders down and back, breathing deep into your core. (B)
3. Press-up x 20
At the end of your walk, drop back down into your plank position, with your core tight and hands on your dumbbells (A), bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor (B). Keep your elbows close to your body as you push back up explosively.
4. Farmer's Carry x 20m
Push-ups ticked off, hop to your feet and lift your dumbbells up to your side (A). Let your arms hang freely at your sides, take a deep breath into your core and begin a fast, deliberate march (B). Focus on maintain a strong, unbreakable posture.
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