Best Upper Body Workout For Runners – Women's Running

Best Upper Body Workout For Runners

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  August 11, 2017

Best Upper Body Workout For Runners

Balance out your strength with this quick upper body workout for runners: you’ll improve your running posture and stabilise your frame as you move.

Make sure you warm up for at least five minutes before you do these exercises, either by jogging, brisk walking or using the stationary bike, cross-trainer or rower. Ensure you feel warm before you start.

Perform each of these exercises for 45 seconds, and then rest for 15 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. One circuit should take you around four minutes. Perform the circuit twice, one or two times per week.


Single-arm dumbbell row

This simple exercise works your back muscles

upper body workout for runners credit Ben Foxall

– Place a dumbbell each side of a flat bench.

– Place your right knee on top of the bench and bend forward from your waist until your back is flat and parallel to the floor.

– Place your right hand on the bench for support.

– Use your left hand to pick up a dumbbell and keep your palm facing your torso, and your elbows in.

– Gently pull the dumbbell up to the side of your chest, keeping your elbow in close to your side.

– Lower back down to the start position and repeat.

– Repeat the set on the other side, changing legs so that your left leg is on top of the bench and your right arm does the work.

Watch point: Keep your elbows in and your back flat and don’t twist your upper body during the exercise.


Modified press-ups

Work your chest, shoulders, back and triceps with this tricky move

upper body workout for runners credit Ben Foxall

– Kneel down on the floor and place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

– Gently lower your body towards the floor.

– Push back up until your arms are straight.

Watch point: Keep your tummy muscles tight to avoid your lower back arching.


Bench dips

Strengthen your triceps, chest and shoulders

upper body workout for runners credit Ben Foxall

– Sit down on the edge of a bench or sturdy chair, and bring your feet shoulder-width apart in front of you.

– Place your arms shoulder-width apart behind you with your fingers facing forwards on the edge of the bench
or chair.

Slowly and under control, lower your body down, bending your arms until they are at a 90-degree angle, then push back up again.

Watch point: To make the exercise easier, bend your legs and bring your feet closer to your body. To make the exercise harder, straighten your legs and move your feet further away. Don’t lock your elbows when you push back up.


Standing dumbbell arm swing

Work your biceps and improve your running arm action

upper body workout for runners credit Ben Foxall

– Hold a pair of light dumbbells in each hand and stand with one foot in front of the other in a split stance to help you balance.

– Swing your arms back and forth to mimic the arm action of running.

– Pump your arms up and down, not across your body.

Watch point: Position yourself in front of a mirror so that you can make sure your arms aren’t moving across your body. Switch on your core to keep you stable during the exercise.


Watch this quick demo:
Best Upper Body Workout For Runners

Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

Meet the team

We use cookies to give you a better experience on By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our Cookie Policy.

OK, got it