Lots of runners focus on strengthening their legs and improving their cardio when they are busy training. Very few think about working their arms and improving upper body strength. But no matter what type of exercise you prefer, even if it is running, you should always work on strengthening your entire body, even the parts you don’t use that much. For instance, when we run we use our arms to help propel our whole body forward. Plus, if you have strong arms, you will be able to carry your water bottle with you on your runs without feeling any aching in your arms and shoulders!
Ready to load your guns? Here are the best arm strengthening exercises for giving your arms plenty of power.
What you need: dumbbells
How it’s done: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold tightly onto your dumbbells in each hand. These can be as heavy as you like but it’s best to work your way up rather than starting off with very heavy weights. Have your arms down by your side with the palms facing the thighs. Then just bring your arm up and bend at the shoulder. You should rotate the hands so that the palm is facing you and level with your shoulder. Pause here for a minute before lowering and repeating with the other arm. You should do this for about 15 reps on each side.
What you need: pull up bar.
Are you wondering what about pull up bars? This is the most common equipment used to strengthen arms, and here’s how you can use them. You just need to grip the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin touches the bar and then lower yourself slowly down. You should aim to do this for ten to fifteen reps. When you find this gets too easy, try to lift and lower yourself slower, as this works the muscles more.
What you need: yoga mat, dumbbells
First of all, position your dumbbells so that they are at the head of your mat. Next, get into a plank position. Ideally, your feet need to be slightly wider than shoulder-width. The dumbbells should still be on the mat, within your line of sight. Now you need to lift one of your hands and pick up a dumbbell. Make sure your hips stay still so that you engage your core muscles. Bring the elbow up so that you are now holding the dumbbell right next to your shoulder. Now simply extend the arm forward, so it is straight out in front of you. Then bring the arm back to the bent position, so the dumbbell is back by your shoulder. Repeat this for ten reps and then move onto the other arm.
You will find that most exercises that work the core muscles will also be very beneficial to your arm muscles. But hopefully, the three exercises I have mentioned will help you to greatly improve your arm strength, which can, in turn, improve your running ability!
Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.