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How Runners Should Lift Weights

Published on February 9 by Georgia

Running and weightlifting might seem like opposing forces - one light and fast, the other heavy and strong. But for runners seeking peak performance and injury prevention, incorporating strength training is a game-changer. So, lace up your trainers, grab some weights, and learn how to lift like a runner!

Benefits Beyond Bulking:

Forget the outdated notion of weightlifting making you bulky. Runners benefit from weights in multiple ways:

  • Increased Strength: Stronger muscles, especially in your core, legs, and glutes, improve running economy, reducing energy expenditure and boosting speed.
  • Reduced Injury Risk: Strong muscles and bones better handle the impact of running, decreasing the likelihood of overuse injuries.
  • Improved Form: Stronger muscles lead to better mechanics, making your running form more efficient and powerful.
  • Enhanced Power: Strength training improves explosiveness, making hills and sprints less daunting.
  • Better Balance and Coordination: Weightlifting improves coordination and balance, aiding in injury prevention and agility.

Lifting Like a Runner:

Focus on Compound Exercises:

Prioritize exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, like squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows, and overhead presses. These movements mimic the running motion and offer greater bang for your buck.

Moderate Weight, High Reps:

Unlike bodybuilders, runners aim for moderate weights (60-70% of your one-rep max) with higher repetitions (8-12 reps). This builds strength and muscular endurance, crucial for maintaining form and power throughout your run.

Don't Neglect Your Core:

A strong core is the foundation for good running form and injury prevention. Include exercises like planks, side planks, and anti-rotational exercises in your routine.

Listen to Your Body:

Start slow, gradually increasing weight and intensity as you get stronger. Don't push through pain, prioritize proper form, and allow sufficient rest and recovery between workouts.

Incorporate Plyometrics:

For advanced runners, plyometric exercises like jump squats and box jumps can enhance power and explosiveness.

Seek Guidance:

A certified personal trainer can create a personalized program tailored to your running goals and fitness level. They can also ensure proper form and technique to avoid injury.


Consistency is key. Aim for 2-3 strength training sessions per week, leaving enough rest for your body to recover and adapt. Combine weightlifting with your running routine to unlock your full potential as a runner.

So, step out of your comfort zone and embrace the weights. You might be surprised how much stronger, faster, and injury-resistant you become!

Additional Tips:

  • Consider consulting a doctor before starting any new exercise program.
  • Pay attention to your warm-up and cool-down stretches to prevent injuries.
  • Invest in proper footwear for both running and lifting weights.
  • Track your progress and celebrate your achievements to stay motivated.
  • Join a running group or find a training buddy for added support and accountability.

By following these tips and incorporating weightlifting into your routine, you'll be well on your way to becoming a stronger, faster, and more injury-resistant runner!