Having a well-rounded strength training program is important for everyone—no matter the distances or paces you typically run. Yes, building your leg muscles is important for powering your miles, but so is building your chest and core muscles.
“Having a strong core and upper body will make you stronger and more efficient when it’s time to head out and log your miles,” Lindsey Clayton, senior instructor at Barry’s in New York City and co-founder of the Brave Body Project, tells Runner’s World. “A weak core means no stability. Weak arms means sloppy running form. A weak chest means bad posture.”
So Clayton created a seven-move chest and abs workout that you can do in any space you have access to, whether it be a corner of the gym or a corner of your living room. You can do this workout on your scheduled cross-training days, or tack it onto the end of a short, easy run.
How to do it: Perform each exercise for 50 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between each exercise. Repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times through, resting as needed between each set of the circuit. Each move is demonstrated by Clayton in the video above so you can learn proper form.
A set of dumbbells is required to complete this workout. (Note: You can use two sets of dumbbells—one medium and one heavy—if you have them, but one set of weights will still do the trick.)
Push-Up to Down Dog
Start in a high plank position (hands flat on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width, wrists in line with shoulders, legs extended so body forms a straight line from head to toe), then perform one push-up by bending elbows (allowing them to flare out at a 45-degree angle from shoulders) and lowering your chest to the floor. Press through hands to push back up to high plank position. Next, go into a downward dog by sending your hips back into an inverted V position. Return to high plank position and repeat.
Alternating Chest Press
Lie faceup, knees bent, feet planted on the floor, and holding a dumbbell (horizontally) in each hand above chest. Lower dumbbell down toward chest with left arm, then press back up toward the ceiling. Lower dumbbell down toward chest with right arm, then press back up toward the ceiling. Repeat, continuing to alternate arms.
Tempo Eccentric Chest Press
Lie faceup, knees bent, feet planted on the floor, and holding a dumbbell (horizontally) in each hand above chest. Slowly lower dumbbells down toward chest with both arms for about three counts, then quickly press arms back up toward the ceiling. Repeat.
Close Grip Chest Press
Lie faceup, knees bent, feet planted on the floor, and holding a dumbbell (vertically) in each hand above chest—hands should be as close together as possible. Lower dumbbells down toward stomach with both arms, then press arms back up toward the ceiling. Repeat.
Lie faceup, knees bent, feet planted on the floor, and holding a dumbbell (vertically) in each hand above chest—hands should be as close together as possible. Slowly open your arms, keeping a slight bend in the elbows, as you lower weight out to each side. Once wrists are in line with the chest return to the starting position. Repeat.
Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flexed, and hands on knees (arms straight). Engage core to crunch up, keeping your hands on your knees. Hold tension there, then extend your left arm and left leg away from you. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side, right arm and right leg. Continue to alternate.
Lie faceup with legs straight up in the air holding a dumbbell (vertically) with both hands, arms straight above your chest. Extend arms and legs away from each other into a hollow-hold position with arms and legs hovering a few inches off the ground. Draw hands and feet together to meet in a V position. Repeat.