This small bell-shaped weight doesn’t look like much but the kettlebell is the ultimate tool in full-body strength training, and in particular for runners – the legs.
This handy little training aid may be small but it packs a hefty punch when it comes to strengthening and conditioning our bodies.
And if you’re not a fan or don’t have time to hit the gym then that’s not a problem.
Kettlebells are small enough to be stored in any sized home and they even make a quirky doorstop.
As well as being small and compact the kettlebell unlike big and bulky barbells and dumbbells can be used with different motions and movements to target specific muscles within a small space.
Studies have shown that strength training will not only make our muscles, tendons, and ligaments stronger but can help protect us from running-related injuries and as runners will improve our running performance, therefore strength training should be part of every runner’s training regime.
To incorporate kettlebells into your schedule doesn’t need to take up a lot of time you could do them at the end of your run along with your stretches or add them as part of your cross-training routine, and here’s how to use kettlebells for running.
The absolute must movement for everyone.
The kettlebell swing gets the heart rate up and works the whole body and shreds the fat all in one swift, smooth movement.
ABDOMINALS, HIPS, GLUTES, HAMSTRING, LATS (latissimus dorsi), SHOULDERS, PECS (pectoralis), and helps grip.
Clean and press
HAMSTRING, GLUTES (clean movement) QUADRICEPS (squatting movement) HIP FLEXORS, ABDOMINALS, TRAPS (trapezius), LATS, SHOULDERS, UPPER CHEST, TRICEPS and helps with stability
The deadlift primarily focuses on the larger leg muscles so a great movement for strengthening and conditioning the legs.
HAMSTRING, GLUTES, QUADRICEPS, CALVES.
The core, upper and lower back are also worked.
Single leg deadlift.
By changing the deadlift (above) slightly you will turn the focus more onto your core and traps as well as staying focused on the lower legs.
HAMSTRING – GLUTES – QUADRICEPS – ABDOMINALS (particularly the obliques) TRAPEZIUS MUSCLES (upper back and shoulders) – FOREARM MUSCLES (flexor carpi ulnaris, palmaris longus, flexor carpi radialis, and pronator teres)
The pistol squat is an advanced exercise and that focuses on the lower body and is better done with a lighter kettlebell than what you would use with the deadlift.
GLUTES – (Maximus, medius, minimus) – GASTROCNEMIUS – ABDOMINALS – OBLIQUES – HAMSTRING – LOWER BACK – DELTOIDS – SHOULDERS.
A great strength builder for the quads.
QUADRICEPS – HAMSTRING – and is great for stabilising the core.
Another great full-body movement that targets runners problem areas.
QUADRICEPS – HAMSTRINGS – CALVES – ENTIRE CORE (abdominals, obliques,) as well as grip strength.
The kettlebell row is a great way for runners to help strengthen the upper body, the part of the body that many runners neglect.
UPPER BACK MUSCLES ( rhomboids, trapezius) BICEPS – CORE as well as grip strength.
The lateral lunge is a lunge done sideways and is great for strengthening the legs.
GLUTES – HAMSTRING – QUADS – INNER THIGH.
This glute toning exercise is a runners favourite but it targets more than just the buttocks.
GLUTES – HAMSTRING – HIPS – THIGHS – CORE.