Dumbbell Workouts for Runners (Exercises + Tips)

Dumbbell workouts for runners offer a dynamic and versatile way to enhance your running performance, whether you're pounding pavement or trails.

Dumbbell Workouts for Runners (Exercises + Tips)

Dumbbell workouts for runners offer a dynamic, efficient, and versatile approach to enhancing your running performance. Whether you're pounding the pavement or hitting the trails, integrating dumbbell exercises into your routine can be a game-changer.

These workouts are not just about building muscle—they're about creating a balanced runner's physique that brings together strength, endurance, speed, and injury prevention.

With just a pair of dumbbells, you can unlock a multitude of benefits that directly translate to your running. Say goodbye to the monotonous routines and expensive gym memberships. We're about to introduce you to a series of targeted dumbbell exercises that are perfect for runners of all levels. These exercises are designed to complement your running, providing the strength and power you need to push past plateaus and reach new personal bests.

In this guide, we'll explore how dumbbell workouts can be your secret weapon for:

  • Boosting overall strength, vital for those challenging runs
  • Increasing endurance, helping you run longer and more comfortably
  • Preventing common running injuries by strengthening key muscle groups
  • Improving your running speed, giving you the edge in races and time trials

Strength Training with Dumbbells

Strength training is an essential component of a well-rounded running program, and incorporating dumbbells can take your workouts to the next level. Dumbbells are incredibly versatile and effective tools for building strength, improving endurance, enhancing running efficiency, and reducing injury risk.

Why Dumbbells?

  1. Versatility and Convenience: Dumbbells are perfect for a wide range of exercises that target all the major muscle groups used in running. Their portability makes them ideal for home workouts, allowing you to train in the comfort of your space.
  2. Balance and Stability: Unlike machines, dumbbells require you to control and stabilize the weight, engaging more muscles and improving your overall balance and coordination, which are crucial for runners.
  3. Symmetry and Muscle Imbalances: Running can sometimes lead to muscle imbalances. Dumbbell exercises help address this by allowing you to train one side of your body at a time, promoting muscular symmetry and balance.
  4. Customization for Every Level: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced runner, dumbbells offer the flexibility to adjust weight according to your strength level and training goals.

Incorporating Dumbbells into Your Running Routine

  1. Targeted Strength Training: Focus on exercises that strengthen the legs, core, and upper body. Movements like squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows, and presses are particularly beneficial for runners.
  2. Core Workouts: A strong core is essential for running efficiency and injury prevention. Dumbbell exercises like Russian twists, weighted planks, and renegade rows target the core muscles effectively.
  3. Progressive Overload: Gradually increase the weight or reps over time to continue challenging your muscles. This principle of progressive overload is key to building strength and endurance.
  4. Prevent Overtraining: Incorporate strength training 2-3 times a week, ensuring adequate rest and recovery between sessions. It’s important to balance dumbbell workouts with your running schedule to avoid overtraining.
  5. Warm-Up and Cool-Down: Always start with a warm-up to prepare your muscles and end with a cool-down to aid recovery. This practice helps prevent injury and enhances the effectiveness of your workouts.

Strength training with dumbbells is a highly effective way for runners to build strength, enhance performance, and stay injury-free. By integrating dumbbell workouts into your training plan, you can achieve a stronger, more balanced, and resilient runner's body.

Remember, consistency is key—regular strength training, combined with your running routine, will lead to noticeable improvements in your running performance and overall fitness.

The Best Dumbbell Workout for Runners

dumbbell workouts for runners

Prepare to meet the 'manmaker', a powerhouse movement in the world of dumbbell workouts tailored for runners. This isn't just an exercise—it's a fusion of five dynamic movements, each crafted to activate and challenge your entire body.

It's a routine that synchronizes every muscle group, from your core to your limbs, while giving your cardiovascular system a serious workout.

The beauty of the manmaker lies in its complexity and efficiency. As you transition seamlessly through each movement, you'll feel every muscle in your body engage, your breathing deepen, and your heart rate soar. It's an all-encompassing workout that's as challenging as it is rewarding, perfect for those looking to add an extra dimension to their running training.

Before we delve into the steps, you'll need a pair of dumbbells. For those new to this exercise, we recommend starting with a moderate weight—about 15 pounds for women and 20 pounds for men. This weight provides enough resistance to challenge you without compromising on form and safety.

Step #1: The Pushup

dumbbell exercises for runners
upper body dumbbell workout for runners

This is where the upper body dumbbell workout portion comes in.

  • Set the dumbbells on the ground, about shoulder width apart.
  • Set yourself up in a straight arm plank, hands gripped on top of the dumbbells.
  • Feet should be set to hips’ width apart.
  • Keeping the body in one line, shift your weight forward over the toes and drop to bottom of the pushup, keeping elbows squeezed into your sides.

Step #2: The Row

strength training for running
  • Once you’ve done the pushup, you’ll return to your straight arm plank.
  • From here, use the right arm to pick up the dumbbell and drive the elbow back.
  • Engage your lats and squeeze the shoulder blades to lift the dumbbell.
  • Try your HARDEST to keep the hips square to the ground, though the right side will want to twist up.
  • Return the weight to the ground with control.
  • Repeat on the left side.

Step #3: The Deadlift

dumbbell leg workout for runners

The deadlift is when you transition to a lower-body dumbbell workout.

  • After both rows, return to straight arm plank.
  • From here, either jump or step your feet in to your hands.
  • Now you’re going to sit your hips back and slightly bend your legs, pressing the knees out.
  • With a straight back and engaged core, use the hips to deadlift the two dumbbells off the ground to find a standing position.
  • Dumbbells should be hanging down by your sides.
  • From standing, simply thrust the hips and raise the elbows to catch the dumbbells at the front of your shoulders, arms bent up to create a shelf.

Step #4: The Squat

strength training for running
  • From here you’ll find the bottom of your squat position.
  • Again, hips sit back, back stays straight, and knees press out (and not past the toes!)

Step #5: The Overhead Press

strength training for running
  • So you’re sitting at the bottom of the squat, holding the dumbbells at your shoulders.
  • Now engage the glutes and core as tight as you can.
  • Press out of the bottom of the squat to standing, pushing the hips forward.
  • At the same time, drive the arms with the dumbbells straight overhead.
  • You’ll end in a standing position, dumbbells locked out overhead, fists facing each other.
  • Make sure you aren’t arching the back, or letting the ribs jut out in front of you.

Can you believe all of that equates to just 1 manmaker?!

Hey, we never said strength training for running was easy 🙂

Building the Workout

This workout is going be broken into 3 sets, with 3 minutes rest scheduled after each one.

The workout:

  • 5 manmakers (pushup, 2 rows, deadlift, squat, overhead press) – @ an easy speed
  • One 400 meter run – @ an easy pace
  • 3 minutes rest
  • 5 manmakers @ a moderate speed
  • One 400 meter run – @ a moderate pace
  • 3 minutes rest
  • 5 manmakers @ the most intense speed you can control…push it!
  • One 400 meter run – @ the most intense pace you can hold…this is the end, so leave it all out there!

And that’s it!

The idea is to use the rest to build intensity as the sets go on.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself on this!

Why We Love Dumbbell Exercises for Runners

The manmaker is action-packed.

It requires a lot of your body, your core specifically, and your breathing.

Not to mention, it builds a solid arm swing for your running.

By keeping the elbows squeezed in tight for the entire movement (especially under weight), you can train the arms to find strength in the most optimal arm swing position.

And even better, you immediately get to practice that arm swing on the 400 meter run!

We hope you love and benefit from this strength training for running as much as we have! Enjoy, runners!

strength training for running

And for sticking with us to the end, enjoy 2 WEEKS of FREE strength and mobility training. Dumbbell workouts for runners  (just like this one), created just for OUR RUNNERS! No gym required.

Get them here 🙂