Barbell Workout For Runners

Create full-body strength with this five-move workout

All the exercises in this month’s workout require a barbell. Barbell work can be very beneficial to runners because the core is forced to work so much harder to stabilise the body than when using bodyweight, dumbbells or machines. Keeping the weight relatively light and the reps high, the following moves will leave you with a core primed for strong, fast, injury-free running.

Reps and sets: Complete each exercise independently of the others. For each exercise, do three sets of 10-15 repetitions. Rest 90 seconds between sets and three minutes between exercises.

barbell workout

Russian twist

Muscles: Lats, deltoids, abs, obliques
Why do it?
– To create a strong, stabilising core
Technique:
– Position one end of a barbell in a wall corner
– Hold the other end in both hands
– Bend your knees slightly and, with arms outstretched, bring the bar down to one side – to about hip-level – twisting the chest, shoulders and head in the same direction
– Keeping your core tense, swing the weight back to the start position and across to the opposite side
Top tip:
Keep a minimal bend in your elbows throughout the movement and, if it becomes too easy, add a weight plate to the end of the bar that you’re holding

barbell workout

rollout

Muscles: Abs, lower back
Why do it?
To firm up your abdominals
Technique:
– Kneel on all fours and, with shoulders directly over the bar, grab it with an overhand grip
– Brace your abs and quads, and roll the bar out until your arms are fully extended
– Pause for a second, and return to the starting position by completing the movement in reverse
Top tip:
Move within a comfortable range of motion – don’t strain your lower back

barbell workout

side bend

Muscles: Abs, obliques, lower back
Why do it?
Strong obliques aid posture and help to support your spine
Technique:
– Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell on the back of your shoulders
– Keeping a straight back, bend to one side as far as possible, inhaling as you do so
– Exhale as you move back to the starting position
– Inhale and repeat towards the other side
Top tip:
Ensure that you tense your core and keep everything but your torso static throughout the movement. Those with lower back problems should avoid this exercise

 

barbell workout

 

straight-arm sit-up

Muscles: Abs, obliques
Why do it?
– A great (but tough!) exercise to get the whole body working – perfect preparation for cross-country or technical trail running
Technique:
– Lie flat on your back
– Hold a barbell with straight arms and a shoulder-width grip directly over your head
– Keeping the bar directly overhead, sit up
– Pause for a second in the straight-legged sitting position, before reversing the movement with control
Top tip:
Do the exercise without the bar if it’s too difficult to begin with – simply position your hands overhead as if holding a bar

barbell workout

Zercher squat

Muscles: Quads, abs, lower back, upper back, forearms
Why do it?
This exercise forces the abdominals and lower back muscles to work overtime to keep the body upright, creating a core of steel
Technique:
– Position a bar on a squat rack just above waist level
– Position your quads under the bar, lock your hands together and place the bar in the crevice between your forearm and bicep
– Step away from the rack and stand upright, so that the bar is positioned around chest height
– With feet shoulder-width apart, head up and core braced, squat down so that your bum goes just below your knees (inhale as you do so)
– Exhale and push through the floor as you squat back up to standing
Top tip:
This is an advanced exercise that should be done with a spotter present. It’s important to start with a very light weight and to keep a straight back throughout

Illustrations: Peter Liddiard

Men's Running

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