6 kettlebell exercises to help you run stronger

Sumo squat with upright row

Why? It lengthens the inner-thigh adductors, which are often tight in runners.

How? Feet shoulder-width apart, hold the kettlebell waist-high with both hands, shoulders back and abs pulled in. Inhale to squat, bringing the kettlebell to the floor.  Exhale and come up, raising the kettlebell to your chin

Most runners have strong hamstrings and quads – at the expense of other muscles. “Kettlebells activate abs and glutes, while bringing the upper body into play,” says trainer Rosaria La Pietra (pilatesk.co.uk). Try twice-weekly kettlebell sessions on rest days. Start with three sets of 12 reps for each exercise. Begin with a 4kg kettlebell.

Plank with arm row

Why? It strengthens the abs, delts and stabiliser muscles, improving balance and posture.

How? With hands on the floor, raise your body to a press-up position.  Inhale and lift the kettlebell to the side of your ribcage with your left hand. Exhale to lower. After six reps, repeat with the other arm.

Two-arm swing

Why? This exercise mobilises joints, gets the heart rate up and sets off a firing sequence through the posterior chain of muscles, especially the glutes.

How? With feet shoulder-width apart, lean forward   from the hips and hold the kettlebell between your legs.  Swing the kettlebell forward to chest height. Exhale and lower to the
start position.

Shoulder bridge

Why? It’s a great workout for the glutes. Fitter runners can intensify the exercise by holding one leg in the air.

How? Lie with bent knees, feet together. Holding the kettlebell base, bring arms
up and over the chest. Exhale, pull abs in, squeeze glutes and roll hips off the floor. Hold for eight breaths, and come back down on the exhale. 

Triceps extensions

Why? This counteracts  the hunched spine and internally rotated shoulders that often afflict runners.

How? Keeping your back straight, lift the kettlebell over your head.  Inhale, bend your elbows and lower the kettlebell back behind your head. Exhale and return the kettlebell to the start position.

Warrior windmill

Why? It develops strength in the thighs, shoulders and back, and helps expand the lungs.

How? Hold the kettlebell in your left hand. Open your legs wide and bend your right knee. Bring the left arm up over the shoulder. Straighten your body, keeping your left arm in position.

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