Total Gym Workout Essentials: Strength Training For Runners [Videos]

Strength Training Exercises for Runners


Whether you run competitively, for fitness-related reasons, just for fun, or anywhere in between, you should consider adding strength training to your weekly routine. In addition to all the physical benefits, which we will discuss further, the “mental value” of changing up your routine and trying new things is extremely beneficial. Many of us get bored and stuck in a rut doing the same things over and over again with our fitness routines. Adding new challenges, such as a new strength training routine, can kick-start your energy and interest in fitness again.


Sounds Good, But Will Does Strength Training Really Help Runners?


If your goal is to set a PR (personal record) at your next race, strength training can help to improve your performance. Strengthening the necessary muscles will enable you to have a more efficient stride, stronger acceleration, and better “kick” at the end of your runs.


If your goal is fat loss, strength training can help improve body composition by building muscle, boost your metabolism, and lead to an overall healthier lifestyle.


If your goal is to simply stay healthy and injury-free, strength training can help eliminate any muscular imbalances and/or postural limitations in the body.


At the end of the day, most folks, regardless of sport or profession can benefit from a squat and a pushup. A better approach is to make individuals more capable and better overall athletes for their sport and lifestyle. That said, there are certain strength training movements that can be done to help folks in their favorite sport. Runners, for example, deal with a great deal of lower body impact from all the miles they log. Strengthening the feet, ankles, hips and glutes will certainly be advantageous for them in terms of injury prevention and performance.


In addition, runners should not neglect the upper body and mid-section either. Running truly is a full-body movement and, therefore, strengthening the shoulders, back, chest, and core will also translate to a better, more capable runner.


A look online can have you quickly overwhelmed with all the exercises, programs, and methods out there. Many of these can be confusing and involve a lot of equipment and take up a lot of your valuable time.


The Easy Total Gym Circuit Workout For Runners


Here’s an efficient and effective Total Gym workout that eliminates confusion and only requires one piece of equipment. With this workout, we are focused on training movements, not just isolating specific muscles. Core strength, upper and lower body strength, and cardiovascular training are all covered in this routine.


This 5-movement workout should be done in a circuit. You’ll complete the first movement, then move on to the second movement, then the third, etc. Once you complete all five exercises, go back and complete the first movement to begin set #2. The movements are arranged so they alternate between upper body and lower body to get a full body workout. We’ve also ordered them so there’s only one tower adjustment needed during the circuit (between movement #3 and #4). Beginners complete 3 sets to start. More experienced exercisers can work up to 5 sets. Time yourself every time you complete the circuit so you can challenge yourself and track your progress.


  • Total Gym Reverse Lunge – 8 Reps Per Side

    • While the entire leg is working on this exercise, the quadriceps muscles and the glutes are areas of focus and two of the most important muscle groups when it comes to running.


  • Total Gym Pushup/Rollout Combo – 8 Reps Total (4 Pushups & 4 Rollouts)

    • Pushups and rollouts are two dynamic bodyweight movements that strengthen the chest, shoulders, arms, back, and abs.


  • Total Gym Hamstring Curl – 15 Reps

    • Hamstring curls are important to strengthen the muscles on the backside of the legs. In addition to the glutes, the hamstrings play an important role in running.


  • Total Gym Pull-Ups – 8 Reps

    • Pull-ups are one of the best exercises to strengthen the muscles of the back and arms.


  • Total Gym Single Leg Squat Jumps – 8 Reps Per Side

    • Single leg jumps are a great movement to develop coordination, explosiveness, and unilateral strength, which is useful for injury prevention.


Doug Balzarini

Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is a personal trainer, strength coach, international presenter, and the founder of DB Strength. He also owns a fitness facility outside of Boston called, “Iron Village Strength & Conditioning”. He was the head strength and conditioning coach for the Alliance MMA Training Center where he worked with many top professional MMA athletes. He has also worked at Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego and, most recently, spent a year in Saudi Arabia where he designed and created programming for a new state-of-the-art facility. Visit or for more information.

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