I want to try and add some upper body strenght training to my workouts. Would you recommend running using hand weights?
Improving your upper body strength, as a runner, is a very good idea. This is often the part of the body neglected by runners, who tend to always concentrate on their leg strength. One of the benefi ts of upper body strength in a runner is the ability to maintain good posture and control even over long distances. This helps prevent the onset of lower back pain as well as tension and pain that can occur in the upper spine and shoulders while running long distances. Another benefi t is an increase in speed during time trials and track work due to the increased power that can be generated by the upper body.
Strengthening the upper body by carrying hand weights while running is, however, not advisable. It will not provide any specifi c strengthening effect, but rather will add to the overall weight of your body and thereby increase the stress and strain on your joints and the soft tissue.
It would be more benefi cial to do specifi c weight training exercises, either in the gym or with hand weights. The emphasis should be on the upper back muscles and core muscle strengthening. A signifi cant improvement will be felt after training with weights three times a week, for a period of approximately six weeks.
Toni Hesp – Modern Athlete Expert
BSc Physio (hon)
BSc (Med) Sports Science (hon)