Once per week, I head to the gym for a quick lifting session. I believe gym workouts for runners are important, but I don’t think you need to do a lot. Most of the strength benefits can be realized in twenty minutes per week.
I perform two sets of the same workout – I rarely deviate from it. I do think that I should vary the workout sometimes, but I stick to basic movements that benefit me greatly. Minimal rest is taken between sets – a simple transition to the next exercise with maybe an additional 15-30 seconds to catch my breath.
Alternatively (if they were available), I would use kettlebells as a full-body strength exercise. They’re effective for building muscular strength while being functional enough for runners.
Every set is challenging and places a great deal of stress on the body. This is important because the workout is short. I need very difficult exercises or else the workout would have to be longer. I intentionally keep the gym session short, intense, and perform every set with a fairly slow cadence. My goal is to stress my system hard enough to increase testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH) production.
Numerous studies have shown that these workouts (much like hard 200′s or hill sprints) increase beneficial hormone production like HGH and testosterone. These hormones aid in muscle development and recovery. Since endurance activity like distance running can actually decrease testosterone, it’s important to maintain healthy levels of these key hormones with gym sessions that stimulate their production.
The Lifting Routine
I tend to lift more slowly than most people simply because it is more effective. By eliminating momentum and ensuring a constant muscle stress, I am getting more out of the workout. Since I’m only doing one session per week, it’s important that every exercise is as productive as possible.
You will also notice that I don’t do any tricep extensions, bicep curls, or targeted muscle lifts. My goal here is to train movements, not muscles, and focus on compound exercises that require multiple joint movements. I’ll leave the calf raises and quadriceps extensions to the body builders. They are not function enough for my needs as a runner.
The following evolves based on how I feel week-to-week but generally stays the same. I perform two sets of:
- 10 walking lunges with a 25 – 35 lb. plate held above my head.
- 15 reps on the bench press at 95 lbs. Alternatively, will do 15 reps of chest press with 35 lb. dumbbells.
- 15 dead lifts at 85 lbs.
- 6-7 pull-ups with full extension.
- 8 pistol squats (one-legged squats) holding a 10 lb. weight.
- 12 body weight dips.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive workout plan (and a full Diet and Food Fighter Guide), then check out the Rebel Fitness Guide. It’s 135 pages with videos to demonstrate each exercise, teach you how to dominate the grocery store, and how to succeed in getting in great shape. And there’s a 90 day, 100% money-back guarantee. Read more about the Rebel Fitness Guide.
How do you think I can improve my gym workout? How do you lift?Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe
Get the Strength Running PR Guide ebook and tips to run faster (without the injuries).