The Importance of Upper Body Strength for Runners

Runners naturally have stronger leg muscles. There’s more work happening in the legs, therefore more muscle is being built. Increasing strength for runners in the upper body is vital to remaining strong from run to run.

I’ve run with so many runners, men and women, who focus on stretching and strengthening their quads, hamstrings and calves, rather than working the core and upper body. This leads to weakness and imbalance. It may seem weird but a stronger core and upper body can help running.

Think about being on a longer or more challenging run. Posture starts to suffer the more fatigue the body becomes. Before you know it, the shoulders are hunched forward and your head and neck are out of alignment. Which is no good.

There is a gal I see running often on my own runs. Her shoulders are hunched throwing off the rest of her body. When she starts out she stands more erect. After she has done a few miles (loops in my neighborhood), her body is more compressed and fatigued. It looks like every movement is a struggle.


I’ve noticed this in my own running as well. When I’m really tired or have had a tougher run, my shoulders start to come forward more throughout the day. I feel a tightness in my upper back and all I want to do is stretch throughout the day.

Why is strength training is so important for runners? Think about when you’re tired on a run. Your legs start to feel like jelly or like you can’t continue for much longer. The mind starts to talk the body out of going farther. BUT if you start to involve the arms and engage your core, boom, suddenly there’s more energy. It might be slight but there’s a definite difference.

Using strength in the core and upper body will help propel your body forward when it’s tired. It can make a huge difference during any run.

An easy way to add strength is by practicing yoga! Sure there aren’t usually weights involved except, body weight! Adding a few extra planks will help build core and upper body strength. Feeling extra saucy, try some crow poses which also help build core and upper body strength.

After building up to a few plank holds, give this 30 minute upper body and core strengthening yoga video a try. It will make a huge difference in whole body balance.

If you like using body weight for strength building try this video for a quick cards type of yoga.



Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction.  If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.

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