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A Simple Circuit For Runners to Start Cross Training With Weights

Cross training is a very effective method for staying healthy and boosting your athletic performance. One of the best things that a runner can implement into their training schedule is regular weight lifting sessions. This workout will work all of the major muscle groups in your body and can serve as a good introduction to lifting weights.

Author: Blaine Moore
Date: Mar 27, 2011 - 10:27:07 AM

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Cross training is a very effective method for staying healthy and boosting your athletic performance. One of the best things that a runner can implement into their training schedule is regular weight lifting sessions.

It is inadvisable to just jump right into lifting if you have never lifted before or after a layoff of some months without lifting weights. Instead, you should spend 2 to 4 weeks on a specific workout that gets your muscles used to the motions and stresses that are unique to lifting weights and which are much different from pounding out miles on the trails or pavement.

The following workout is good for people who have not lifted for some time, or who have never lifted before, and want to ease their way back into it safely.

If you have never lifted weights before, write this workout down and bring it to a gym where one of the personal trainers can teach you how to do each specific exercise. You can expect to spend 5 to 6 minutes per circuit.

If you are a complete novice to weight lifting, then start out by doing 1 circuit the first week, and then 2 circuits the second and third weeks. If you have experience weight lifting but have not been lifting for a while, then you can start with 2 circuits the first week and then do 3 circuits the third week.

This workout is done as a circuit, which means that you perform a set of each exercise and then immediately start the next exercise with as little rest as possible. You can either rest for a few minutes between circuits, or just continue with the first exercise if you are doing more than one circuit.

This workout is designed to hit all of the major muscle groups in your body by working similar muscles a few sets apart from one another. This way, you will have had plenty of rest to do 3 sets continuously with no rest in between circuits if you want.

For exercises that are not relying solely on bodyweight, you want to choose dumbbells that you can comfortably lift 15 times. You will do each set for 30 seconds, no matter how many repetitions you have done.

Start with some type of warm-up, such as a jig jog on a treadmill or easy spinning on an exercise bike. You want to get your blood flowing. One mile on a treadmill should be good, or 10 minutes on an exercise bike. Between exercises, you should drink plenty of water. Aim for at least 10 to 11 ounces of water per circuit.

The circuit goes as follows:

  1. Jumping Jacks

  2. Body-Weight Squat (advanced: use dumbbells)

  3. Bench Press

  4. Body-Weight Lunges (advanced: use dumbbells)

  5. Deadlift

  6. Bent Over Row

  7. Crunches (advanced: swiss ball crunches)

  8. Pushups

  9. Medicine Ball Twists (you can substitute a light dumbbell)

That is one circuit. If possible, try to do these in order, but if you mess up and do something out of order you can just continue where you left off and do the one you skipped in the spot of the exercise that you accidentally did.

Remember, the idea is not to lift a lot of weight. The idea is to get your muscles used to the motions used in weight lifting so that you do not pull something in your first week or two. Each exercise is for however many reps you can complete in 30 seconds, but it is not a race so don't worry if you take your time. Your individual muscles will have plenty of time to rest between their own personal sets so you should feel good throughout the workout. Don't worry if you elevate your heart rate a bit because you are not stopping and resting.

The most important thing to remember after any weight lifting workout is to eat something. If you do not eat anything after your workout, you may as well not have gone. You don't have to get fancy; a granola bar or banana is fine, or else fruit juice or a protein shake if they are available. Within half an hour to an hour after you finish lifting try to eat something that is a little more substantial.

Remember to drink plenty of water in the hours following your workout. By keeping yourself well hydrated and providing a small but steady stream of food in the hours following your workout, your muscles will have a chance to repair the damage that you have done to them.

Your muscles may be a little sore for a few days following the workout. When you are just getting started, it's okay to wait for the soreness to go away before doing another workout; within a few weeks, that soreness will only last for a very short time and you will be ready to start increasing your workload.

Are your workouts a waste of time? Download The 3 Components of an Effective Workout and learn how you are sabotaging yourself every time you exercise.

Blaine Moore is a running coach in Southern Maine with 20 years of training and racing experience that he shares on his blog at Run To

View all articles by Blaine Moore

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