The last post in the series focused on the importance of a weight training regimen and why exactly it is good for us. I also shared some basic shoulder exercises and explained exactly why those exercises were beneficial to runners. In this post, I will continue to focus on the upper body, in particular, the biceps. As always, the tips and advice I provide on this blog are based solely on my own personal experiences and research. I am no doctor! These are simply some tips and tricks that have worked for me over the years and I hope they work for you as well.
How Should You Train?
Next time you head to the gym, take a look around. You’ll likely see a handful of people in the weight room, all completing some sort of muscle strengthening exercise. Some are using free weights, some are using the machines, some are using lighter weights, and some are using heavy weights. Even further, some are standing still and lifting in a fixed position (ex. seated bicep curl on a machine), while others are moving and lifting at the same time (ex. lunge with an overhead press). There seems to be a million and one ways to strength train and it can be hard to figure out exactly what to do.
First and foremost, it is important that you listen to your body. What the person next to you is doing may work for them, but not for you. Secondly, it is vital that you remember exactly what you are training for. A runner’s weight training regimen should look different than someone hoping to compete in the next Mr. Fitness. As a runner, the purpose of your strength training is to improve musculoskeletal strength in the muscle groups most used and relied upon when running.
Your biceps are actually important running muscles. As I mentioned in the previous post, you may think that your upper body is irrelevant to your running. Truth is, it has an important job. Efficient, successful running is directly linked to proper form. If your arms are flopping all over the place, you’re using a lot of excess energy. Having strong muscles can help to keep your extremities under control and therefore moving a bit more effectively.
When running, you want to keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle and drive them backward, not forward, as you move. A forward drive may encourage an over stride. A controlled backward drive allows for a quick, light turnover and therefore supports an efficient stride. The muscle that keeps your arms at a supportive 90 degrees? The biceps!
Complete the following bicep workouts a couple times per week, 3 sets at 10-12 reps. These exercises are linked to bodybuilding.com for explanation and video demonstration!
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