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Heavy lifting for runners: week two

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6 moves that improve hip drive, arm swing, and more

Movement sparks progress. For high performers, this forward momentum is powered by currents in science, technology, and subculture. To celebrate the launch of ASICS GEL-CUMULUS® 211, Furthermore and ASICS have partnered to harness the power of these currents and show you how to channel them into actual results.

Running is a contralateral sport, explains Adrianne Nina, Tier 3+ trainer at West Hollywood in California. That means opposite sides of the body work together: As the left leg kicks out in front of you, the right arm swings forward, and vice versa.

In week one of our heavy lifting program, you set the foundation for a strong body by practicing basic exercises such as goblet squats and dead cleans. This week's routine adds complexity to the movements to more closely mimic the act of running and train for the contralateral stability and strength necessary for powerful strides, Nina says.

For example, the original goblet squat becomes a double front rack variation, the split squat turns into a dynamic lunge, and the dead clean progresses to a swing. The set-rep scheme remains unchanged, Nina notes, with lots of short sets to help you build strength. Next week the focus shifts to endurance, so you’ll do fewer sets with more reps in each.

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.

If you don’t feel ready to progress in a particular exercise, replace it with last week's variation.

Double kettlebell squat

The benefits: trains for stability by loading each wrist with its own weight, which will help improve arm drive

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

Stand with feet just wider than shoulders holding a kettlebell in each hand at chest-height, with the weight resting on the forearms. Sit back until knees are bent at 90 degrees. Slowly return to start for one rep. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 3 to 6 reps on one side, resting 2 minutes between sets, then switch sides and repeat. Recover for 4 minutes, then start the next exercise.

Farmer’s forward lunge

The benefits: teaches you to maintain stability while you move your weight forward and back, important for staying in control when you shift from one leg to the next while running

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

Stand tall with a kettlebell in each hand, the left foot resting on a step, and the right foot hovering in the air. Step your right leg backward and lower into a lunge, stopping before the back knee touches the ground. Slowly return to start for one rep. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 3 to 6 reps on one side, resting 2 minutes between sets, then switch sides and repeat. Recover for 4 minutes, then start the next exercise.

Double suitcase kettlebell deadlift

The benefits: teaches each side of the body to work at once in unison and independently from the other, crucial for contralateral movements

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

Stand with feet just wider than hips and hold a kettlebell in each hand 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.  

Single suitcase carry

The benefits: trains for stability by working the obliques on the unloaded side of the body

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

Stand tall with a kettlebell in the left hand, palm facing your body. Walk for 40 yards, keeping the kettlebell at your side, for one rep. Complete 4 to 5 reps on this side, resting 2 minutes between each, then switch sides and repeat. Recover for 4 minutes, then start the next exercise.

Kettlebell swings

The benefits: this dead clean progression requires more hip drive, which will improve hip extension in every step

The load: 70 percent of your one-rep max

Stand with feet just wider than hips and hold a kettlebell on the ground in front of your feet, with your hips hinged behind you and your chest almost parallel to the ground. Lift the weight, swinging it between your legs and then up to chest height, 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.  

Protract push-up

The benefits: engages the lats and scapula for stronger arm drive; builds further thoracic 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. Perform a push-up, then lift your chest slightly by protracting the shoulder blades (drawing them apart). Slowly return to a neutral plank for one rep. Complete 3 sets of 6 reps, resting 30 to 90 seconds between sets.