For many runners the thought of lifting weights can be a counter productive experience. Why would you want to lift weights , they can make you bulky & slow you down which is the exact opposite to what a runner would want to do.
Over the many years of training clients , I have trained quite a few for marathons & other long distance running events & a crucial part of their plan is weight training as it will strenghten & condition the body making it faster & will also reduce the chance of injury.
Here are my favourite exercises I like to incorporate in a clients programme.
Connect a standard handle to a tower, and move the cable to the highest pulley position. With your side to the cable, grab the handle with one hand and step away from the tower. You should be a few feet away from the pulley, with the tension of the weight on the cable. Your outstretched arm should be aligned with the cable.
With your feet positioned shoulder width apart, reach upward with your other hand and grab the handle with both hands. Your arms should still be fully extended. In one motion, pull the handle down and across your body to your front knee while rotating your torso. Keep your back and arms straight and core tight while you pivot your back foot and bend your knees to get a full range of motion.
Maintain your stance and straight arms. Return to the neutral position in a slow and controlled manner.
Lie on the bench so your eyes are directly under the bar. Grasp the bar just outside shoulder width. Arch your back hard so that your lower back is completely off the bench. Your shoulder blades should be pulled together.
Squeeze the bar tightly and pull it out of the rack (if you have a spotter—and you should when the weight gets very heavy—have him help you get the bar into position).
Take a deep breath and lower the bar to your sternum (in line with the bottom edge of your pecs), tucking your elbows in at to your sides. When the bar touches your body, drive your feet hard into the floor and press it back up. Exhale at the end of the rep.
Hip Thrust / Glute Bridge
Set up the barbell parallel to the bench. Position yourself on the floor, with your shoulders and shoulder blades against the bench. Again, if they don’t reach the bench when you are sitting on the floor you can raise your butt a little bit off the floor. Roll the barbell toward you, over your legs until it’s directly over your hips.
Put your elbows on the bench and your hands on the bar to steady it. It is very important that your body is aligned and your spine is neutral. Take a deep breath in, then exhale all the air out through your mouth and brace your core.Drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips (and the barbell). Come down smoothly, with your core still braced.
Begin with the barbell supported on top of the traps. The chest should be up and the head facing forward. Adopt a hip-width stance with the feet turned out as needed. Descend by flexing the knees, refraining from moving the hips back as much as possible. This requires that the knees travel forward. Ensure that they stay align with the feet. The goal is to keep the torso as upright as possible.
Continue all the way down, keeping the weight on the front of the heel. At the moment the upper legs contact the lower legs reverse the motion, driving the weight upward.
Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using the prescribed grip. Note on grips: For a wide grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance wider than shoulder width. For a medium grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance equal to your shoulder width and for a close grip at a distance smaller than your shoulder width. As you have both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, bring your torso back around 30 degrees or so while creating a curvature on your lower back and sticking your chest out. This is your starting position.
As you breathe out, bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the bar; therefore do not try to pull down the bar using the forearms.
After a second at the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position when your arms are fully extended and the lats are fully stretched. Inhale during this portion of the movement.