Apr 27

Upper Body Workout for Runners! #WednesdayRoundUp

Yeeehawwww! It’s time for another end of the month workout round up with all my crazy ass runner friends! This time we’re focused on upper body workouts for runners and how a strong upper body can help with fatigue, form and pure power in performance.

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Of course we will begin with my workout and no, I did not choose these exercises just because I had professional shots taken by Anna Mattoon. That would be seriously vain and self-indulgent, now wouldn’t it? But it does make for a nice poster…


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a coach told me how important upper body strength was to my running performance. I was trying to qualify for Boston on my second marathon attempt and, had hired a coach since I needed to knock a whopping 15 minutes off of my previous time. Among many other things, he told me how to use my muscular and strong upper body – – “when your legs get tired, your feet will follow your arms!” And, during that second marathon, many years ago, that was exactly what I thought of as I was grinding out the final 5k of the race. It worked. I qualified with 10 minutes to spare.

I still think about that advice and have relied heavily on my upper body strength in many ways, to support my running habit.

Of course, my favorite way to work my upper body these days is swimming. If you have access to a pool or open water, use it, otherwise here are my three key moves, which I incorporate in my weekly strength sessions:


One of my favorites but be careful not to chafe your elbows on this one! Maintain a good plank first then “walk” it out, one arm at a time. When you get really good at it, lift one foot for maximum core benefit. I know this is supposed to be about your upper body but, why not train as many muscle groups at one time as you can?

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Simple move with maximum benefit. The key to this move is to keep your shoulders low and maintain a straight line from your shoulder to your elbow. You can do both arms at once, alternate and even add a lunge. Get crazy.





If you only have one, use it flipped over and place your hands on it, to do the push ups. This moves not only helps you strengthen your chest and triceps, it has the added value of working your core as you try to maintain your balance.



If you hate these moves or have done then ad nauseam, do not despair! I have five others for you to try courtesy of my very experienced friends…


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Carly | FINE FIT DAYScreen Shot 2016-04-25 at 2.38.10 PM


Nellie | BROOKLYN ACTIVE MAMAScreen Shot 2016-04-25 at 2.43.36 PM


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And finally, I need to announce the winner of the WaterFi Waterproof iPod that will most certainly change your life…


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CONGRATULATIONS Christine! Now you will really want to start getting those laps in!


Do you have a go-to upper body workout?

What is your favorite upper body part to train and why?

What are three things you would rather do than work your upper body? Yes, just three.




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  1. Ive got only ONE THING.
    CARLA recently posted…When I feel like quitting (guest post).My Profile

    1. YES! Don’t we all want to do that? 🙂

  2. Ha, I would have chosen them because I had professional photos done. I’m jealous of Christine.

    Anyways, these are helpful. Upper body is something I desperately need to work on. Since I stopped swimming many moons ago, my upper body resembles that of a twig now.
    Hollie recently posted…Five Secrets about Buying Running ShoesMy Profile

    1. But it cuts though the air like a knife and makes you lightening FAST!!!!

  3. And now I need to get another BOSU! Killer moves and killer photos. And can we all share Christine’s new iPod?!? Happy Workout for Runners Day!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Upper Body Workouts for RunnersMy Profile

    1. Two BOSUs are always better than one 🙂

  4. I have such pathetic arms. They’re a bit better since I started doing push-ups but not much.
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: Stacey Does SkechersMy Profile

    1. HAHAHA!!! Keep working on them mama – although I’m not quite sure how you could improve upon your amazing running skills so maybe just leave them alone 🙂

  5. Yay congrats to Christine! Love these round ups and love your workout – I need to get a BOSU (or two) soon! I’ve been trying to work upper body more and more to avoid the T rex arms I have otherwise.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…6 Upper Body Workouts for RunnersMy Profile

    1. HAHA!! I love my Bosu (I only have one at home) but I usually incorporate it into anything I’m doing 🙂

  6. Look at all these awesome photos of you! Looking fierce! I was just considering joining a gym this week to have access to a pool again. I don’t swim very often, but I love having it as an option. All these variations are great- I get tired of my same old strength workouts.
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…One week until the runner’s reset! (Answering some of your questions)My Profile

    1. I cannot praise the swim enough for ALL that does for a runner’s body and lungs!! Plus, it’s just a great change from all the pounding we usually do 🙂

  7. Loving all these workouts! I am so excited to start swimming again! Such great cross training and who doesn’t want to be in the pool all summer? You look AWESOME in these photos!! Woo hoo!!
    Natalie recently posted…The Boston Marathon 2016: My Race RecapMy Profile

    1. Thank Nat!!! And yes, if I lived in sunny L.A. you can BET I would be in the pool even more! Happy swimming 🙂

  8. I just did all of these moves during my workout today! Well, minus the bosu ball… I just did regular & tricep pushups on the ground. I like training my shoulders the most I’d say, because I feel like flies, overhead presses, etc. just feel good!
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness recently posted…Superfood Chocolate PB Chia Smoothie + Amazing Grass Giveaway!My Profile

    1. I agree. I also just like to keep it simple when it comes to upper body stuff. The basics work for me since I only strength train once a week.

  9. No shame in choosing exercises you have bangin’ pics for! 😉

    I love upper body – especially biceps. My trainer in Atlanta called me a “dude.” Whatever.
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Super-Easy Taco Tuesday + WIAWMy Profile

    1. Whatever is right! Keep it up!!

  10. I love upper body workouts. My favorite has always been flat bench chest presses either with dumbbells or barbell. My go to is anything working out my back. Both make me feel really strong at the end!

    1. Hey Kris!! Nice to see you back here!! You always did love your strength training 🙂

  11. First of all let me just say that you have the best arms on the planet. You should be an arm model. No joke!! I remember my friends all asking me who the chick with the amazig arms was at the first AHU! Hahaha anyway love the round up and I actually did a bunch for my workout yesterday!!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Rock Legend Alice Cooper Answers Q&A on New Children’s App!My Profile

    1. You are too much…but I love it 🙂 I used some of the moves from everyone’s post too! So much good stuff!!

  12. I hate walking planks with a passion, lol! You make it all look so easy 🙂

    1. I’ve been doing them for SO long and, I have to say, I prefer to walk them than just holding them!

  13. I love that walking plank move!! This series is so much fun, I love checking out everyone’s workouts. Also – those photos? Beautiful!!!!
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…Monthly Workout Round Up – Upper Body Workout for RunnersMy Profile

    1. Agreed!! And thank you 🙂 walking planks are one of my favorites too and, when it comes to strength training, I don’t have many!

  14. Even though I don’t run, most of my cardio focuses on the lower body, so I am always looking for a good upper body workout. These are great ones! I’ve done pushups on the bosu, but I never thought about putting my feet on one too! I may be able to do that without hurting myself.
    Dana recently posted…The Love List renewal, from head to toeMy Profile

    1. Don’t hurt yourself but…I bet you can do it 🙂

  15. i know i’m late to comment but i really love and appreciate this post. during my pregnancy the last 7.5/8 months, i’ve definitely been more into cardio than strength training. however, we just moved and got our workout room (slash office!) setup, and now i have my little 3 lb hand weights ready for me. i pump my arms with the weights when i’m on the treadmill, and honestly it really starts to burn after 20 min. baby steps, lol. i know after the baby i’ll be ready for some more strength, but i’m loving the (slow) running and teaching the cycling classes. in fact, i rather teach a class than take it, oddly enough. i guess i work harder when i’m up front, hahaha 😀 GREAT post!!! love it and all you do
    danielle recently posted…WIR – Moving & TwirlsMy Profile

    1. I always preferred teaching a class to taking it. In fact, the only way I got my strength training in for a number of years, was by teaching a “functional fitness” class. Now? I stubble though my strength days which is why I love doing this round-up!
      Thanks Danielle!!

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