My coach could not make our track workout yesterday evening. Fine by me, because it created a perfect excuse to fit in some strength training. I got home, unpacked, changed and headed to my gym downstairs.
Which brings me to talk about weights. Before I became a “real” runner (you know, one who runs outside instead of on the treadmill), I was really into weight lifting. I’ve always enjoyed it a lot. I know a lot of runners don’t and many people dread it. I just don’t understand why. From a general health standpoint, weight training is very important in terms of protecting bone density and slowing down the loss of muscle mass that comes with aging. But for athletes like runners and especially for those who sit at a desk all day, I would say it’s necessary.
So let’s talk about what I do in the weight room. A few years ago, my uncle gave me an old copy of the book The Triathlete’s Handbook which was published in 1982 or something like that. It’s an old book and the sport has come a long way since the early eighties, but a lot of basic information in the book still stands true. One chapter in the book was devoted to weight training for the triathlete. It includes a full-body weight routine which I am currently doing twice a week. I used to do it 3x a week, but I scaled down to twice a week after I started doing yoga once a week.
I adapted the workout to fit the machines that are available in my condo gym and what I like to do. You can do the same, of course. The full-body routine is great for beginners, by the way. You can do it 2-4 times a week as your schedule allows. I admit my routine is getting a bit stale right now because I’ve been doing the same thing for so long. Maybe I’m too comfortable with it. But it works and the all-over body conditioning makes me feel really good.
So here it goes. I will give you two routines to change things up but they both work the same muscle groups in the same order, more or less. Routine 1 uses mostly dumbbells while routine 2 uses machines. Of course, feel free to adjust the weight up or down to fit your strength level. I try to use enough weight to make it challenging but not to the point where I can’t finish the set.
Routine 1 (mostly free weights)
For each exercise (except for calf raises and crunches), do 3 sets of 15 reps:
Dumbbell chest presses (30 lb.)
Squats (15 lb. weight in each hand)
Shoulder presses (30 lb.)
Sumo squats (20 lb.) – I like to finish with a 4th set of fast, small reps
Bent over rows (15 lb. in each hand)
Romanian deadlifts (30 lb.)
Bicep curls (10 lb. in each hand)
Standing calf raises (3 sets x 20 reps)
Overhead tricep presses (8-10 lb. in each hand)
Back extensions on stability ball
Ab crunches on stability ball (3 sets x 25 reps)
Routine 2 (mostly machines)
For each exercise (except for lateral raises, calf raises and crunches), do 3 sets of 15 reps:
Machine chest presses (40 lb.)
Leg presses (80 lb.)
Lateral raises (5 lb. in each hand – this one is HARD so don’t go too heavy!) or sometimes I will do upright rows
Leg extensions (50 lb.)
Upper back rows (70-80 lb.)
Hamstring curls (60 lb.)
Standing bicep cable curls (30 lb.)
Leg press calf raises (I lower the weight to 40 lb. or so, just enough to give a little bit of resistance)
Tricep cable presses (20 lb.) or bench dips (my favorite!)
Back extensions on stability ball (I need to find another lower back exercise!)
Reverse crunches or standing knee lifts (3 sets x 25 reps)
These routines take me 60 minutes, maybe 45-50 minutes if I move fast between moves. Just do it and get it over with. Happy lifting!