Kettlebell Workout for Runners: The Ultimate Combo for Building Strength

Why exactly would you want to include a kettlebell workout for runners in your weekly schedule? Isn’t focusing on the miles enough? Not quite!

Starting with a single piece of equipment, a runner can use a simple kettlebell workout to see big changes in their performance:

  • Improved power output = faster running
  • Increased running economy = go longer without breaking down 
  • Strengthened the muscles and joints = who doesn’t want that?!

Read on to learn how the kettlebell can be used in a quick workout to get all the benefits mentioned!

Why We Love Kettlebell Workouts

Strength training can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. The variety of equipment – barbells, dumbells, bands, machines, and more, plus the vast amount of movements you can do, can make it intimidating to get started. 

Wait, don’t get overwhelmed! Today’s workout is simple but effective. This kettlebell workout for runners is built on two exercises that practice basic movement patterns: the squat and the push press.

Best kettlebell exercises for runners

Both movements will strengthen a part of the running chain. The squat will benefit your hips, quads, and ankle mobility. The push press will strengthen your shoulders and core, as well as challenge your shoulder mobility. 

Now, 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.

Kettlebells For Runners:

The Kettlebell Squat

Kettlebell Strength Workouts

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.

The Break 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.

Kettlebell workouts 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 the area you don’t want it – your low back.

As a result, you’ll focus on keeping the core and butt squeezed, lats engaged and elbows tight to your sides. Work on that stability to make a world of difference in your running posture!

The Kettlebell Push Press

kettlebell exercises for runners

Performing an exercise on one side (unilaterally) is surprisingly challenging compared to performing on both sides simultaneously (bilaterally). Think about how much more your core needs to stabilize to prevent you from leaning to one side. Or how much harder one leg needs to work to support your entire weight.

With greater difficulty often comes greater benefit!

Today we’ll make that extra clear for you with a single-arm kettlebell push press. Simply put, a push press is moving a weight from chest height to overhead, using a tiny bend of the legs for added power.

The Break Down:

kettlebell combo exercises

  • Start by standing on two feet, hips’ width apart, and toes facing straight ahead.
  • Hold the kettlebell 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, bend the legs slightly, loading your weight into your 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, dynamically drive out of the heels, push the hips forward, and straighten the legs.
  • As this happens, 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.

weight training exercises with kettlebells

Most important is keeping the core tight and the back straight.

Keep in mind, 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.

The Ultimate Kettlebell Combo For Runners

 

First, don’t forget to start with a quick dynamic warm up, such as our favorite follow-along routine. Then, you’ll be ready to dive into the ultimate kettlebell combo:

As promised, we’ll be combing the two movements into a dynamic routine for your whole body.

Here’s we go!

  • 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.

As we said, it’s not going to be easy! But it’s going to work WONDERS in terms of correcting your running 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 🙂