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Heavy lifting for runners: week one

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As leg-dominant as it seems, running is really a full-body activity.

That’s why week one of our heavy lifting program is all about setting the foundation for a strong body. “These are all basic movements with no locomotion happening,” says Adrianne Nina, Tier 3+ trainer at West Hollywood in California. “You’ll perfect the structure of each exercise before adding more dynamic movements to improve coordination.”

The program progresses over the four weeks with single-leg variations (for balance), offset loading (for anti-lateral flexion in the core, which helps you stay stable), heavier weights, and more. The set-rep scheme is also manipulated throughout, with fewer sets and more reps in the last two routines to build endurance.

To perform the workout below, complete all sets and reps for each move before starting the next. Longer rest periods allow your muscle fibers to recover between sets. Do it at least twice this week, either as a full workout or before that day’s cardio session, Nina says.

Kettlebell goblet squat

The benefits: full-body activation and core stability, so you can maintain control through every step

The load: 80 to 90 percent of your one-rep max

Stand with feet just wider than shoulders holding a kettlebell in front of your chest. Sit back until your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Slowly return to start for one rep. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 3 to 6 reps, resting 2 minutes between sets. Recover for 4 minutes, then start the next exercise.

Kettlebell farmer’s split squats

The benefits: further core activation in the running stance, with one leg forward and the other back

The load: 80 to 90 percent of your one-rep max

Stand tall with left leg forward, right leg back with the heel raised, and a kettlebell in each hand. Lower until your front leg is bent at 90 degrees and your back knee is hovering above the ground. Slowly return to start for one rep. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 3 to 6 reps, resting 2 minutes between sets. Recover for 4 minutes, then start the next exercise.  

Kettlebell deadlift

The benefits: trains the glutes and hamstrings to evenly distribute strength in the legs

The load: 80 to 90 percent of your one-rep max

Stand with feet just wider than hips and hold a kettlebell on the ground between your feet, with your hips hinged behind you and your chest almost parallel to the ground. Over 1 second, press your hips forward and lift your chest to stand tall. Return to start over 4 seconds for one rep. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 3 to 6 reps, resting 2 minutes between sets. Recover for 4 minutes, then start the next exercise.  

Kettlebell farmer’s carries

The benefits: builds stability in the core and strengthens the lats for improved arm drive

The load: 80 to 90 percent of your one-rep max

Stand tall with a kettlebell in each hand, palms facing your body. Walk for 40 yards, keeping the kettlebells at your side, for one rep. Complete 4 to 5 reps, resting 2 minutes between each. Recover for 4 minutes, then start the next exercise.

Kettlebell dead clean

The benefits: teaches you to drive the hips forward, which helps you take powerful steps

The load: 70 percent of your one-rep max

Stand with feet at hip-width and hold a kettlebell on the ground between your feet, with your hips hinged behind you and your chest almost parallel to the ground. Press your hips forward and lift your chest to stand tall, then raise the weight to chest height. Slowly return to start for one rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps, resting 30 to 90 seconds between sets. Recover for 4 minutes, then start the next exercise.

Retract-protract plank

The benefits: properly engages the lats and scapula for stronger arm drive; builds thoracic spine mobility so you can safely and effectively rotate through the core with each step

Get in a high plank position with shoulders stacked over wrists and feet together. Drop your chest slightly by retracting your shoulder blades (drawing them toward each other), then lift your chest slightly by protracting them (drawing them apart). Slowly return to a neutral plank for one rep. Complete 3 sets of 20 reps, resting 30 to 90 seconds between sets.