Best Strength Training For Runners: The Ultimate Kettlebell Combo!

When it comes to strength training for runners…there are no excuses! This KILLER workout requires just one kettlebell and a little bit of space!

Strength Training For Runners: Why We Love The Kettlebell

strength training for runners

It’s pretty crazy how one little (okay not that little 🙂 ) piece of metal can take ANY movement to the next level.

We love the kettlebell for many reasons, but mainly for its versatility and ability to make a squat, deadlift, olympic lift, etc so much tougher!

Today we’re going to highlight two of our favorite movements: the squat & the push press.

Together, these two make for some spicy strength training for runners.

But before we get started…if you don’t have a kettlebell, don’t worry! For the purposes of this workout, a dumbbell or water jug will work just fine!

Strength Training For Runners: The Kettlebell Squat

strength training for runners

This one’s pretty simple, on paper.

You’re going to perform a squat just how you normally would, but now you’re going to hold a kettlebell tight to your upper chest for the entirety of the movement, and for all the reps thereafter.

Let’s break that down:

  • You can hold the kettlebell by either the handle or the round base. Whichever feels most stable for you.
  • The kettlebell should be just above the heart, elbows squeezed into your sides.
  • Legs will be slightly wider than hips’ width.
  • Toes point as straight ahead as possible.
  • Starting from that standing position (butt squeezed), sit the hips back, tracking the knees out, wider than the feet.
  • Knees should never be forward of the toes.
  • At the bottom of the squat, fire the glutes and press the knees out to return to standing.

strength training for runners

The BIGGEST focal point of this piece of strength training for runners is keeping the back straight as you squat and return to standing.

Because of the added weight, you’ll be tempted to round the back and shoulders forward, which will turn off your core and put all of the stress in areas you don’t want it (*low back).

To keep this from happening, keep the core and butt squeezed, lats engaged and elbows tight to your sides.

This one will make a world of difference in your running posture!

Strength Training For Runners: The Kettlebell Push Press

strength training for runners

Isn’t it amazing how much harder it is to do something with just one arm or one leg, versus two?

Today we’ll make that extra clear for you with a single arm kettlebell push press 🙂

Simply put, a push press is moving weight from chest height to overhead, using a tiny bend of the legs for added power.

For those of you doing this for the first time, let’s break it down:

strength training for runners

  • Start standing on two feet, hips’ width apart, and toes facing straight ahead.
  • Hold the kettlebell (by its handle) in your right hand, elbow bent and weight resting just above your collarbone.
  • Elbow should be bent up as high as possible, and squeezed in to track directly front, not spilling out to the side.
  • From here you’re going to bend the legs slightly, loading your weight into the heels.
  • Knees will track out like in the squat, but you’re not going to sit the hips back and go as low.
  • From the bottom of the knee bend you’re going to dynamically drive out of the heels, pushing the hips forward, legs coming to straight.
  • As this happens, you’re going to punch the kettlebell directly overhead to the sky, keeping elbow facing forward and bicep right next to your ear.
  • At the top, your thumb that’s around the handle should be facing backward.
  • You can keep the other arm extended in front of you for support.

strength training for runners

Our big focus for this piece of strength training for runners is keeping the core tight and the back straight.

The ribs will want to splay out as you press the weight overhead, so you’ll have to work extra hard to keep the body straight, and the low back from arching.

Strength Training For Runners: The Killer Combo

As promised, we’re going to mix these two movements up.

Here’s your workout:

  • 10 KB squats
  • 10 KB push presses on the right
  • 10 KB push presses on the left
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 8 KB squats
  • 8 KB push presses on the right
  • 8 KB push presses on the left
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 6 KB squats
  • 6 KB push presses on the right
  • 6 KB push presses on the left
  • Rest 30 seconds

…all the way down to 2 reps of each.

Like we said, it’s not going to be easy! But it’s going to work WONDERS on your form, stamina, posture and everything else in between.

Good luck, runners!

And as a little gift for sticking with us to the end, enjoy 2 FREE weeks of strength and mobility workouts JUST like this one! NO GYM REQUIRED. Click HERE for some more ways to sweat 🙂

  • Claudia Gunter

    Great article. It’s exciting to finally see kettlebells incorporated into a runner’s workout! I also train runners with #BATTLEROPES!

  • vchaney

    Hi. Looks like a good workout. What weight kettle bell would you suggest to start with?