Using the kettlebell for runners is a great asset to any training plan, since incorporating the kettlebell can help quickly improve performance on the run. However, with so much of their training already planned, many runners question whether it’s worth their time to incorporate the kettlebell.
Are kettlebells good for runners?
Kettlebell training is so beneficial for runners. Kettlebell workouts are a great way to build muscle, prevent imbalances and help reduce the risk of injury on the run. In addition, adding just a few kettlebell exercises each week can be enough to help improve your running performance.
Adding a kettlebell to bodyweight exercises increases the resistance and therefore requires more strength to complete. Kettlebell exercises are more effective than standard bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, sit ups, etc.
Runners can include kettlebell workouts in their cross training as a time efficient way to increase strength.
What is the right kettlebell weight for runners?
You’ll need to find an appropriate kettlebell weight in order to successfully reap the benefits. For most beginners and athletes using a kettlebell for cross training only, the appropriate weight range is as follows.
- Women: 18 – 26 pounds
- Men: 32 – 44 pounds
It’s surprisingly easy to incorporate and benefit from using the kettlebell for runners. Simply including one workout each week, or sprinkling in a few kettlebell exercises throughout the week, will help build strength and avoid injury.
Here are some of the best, most effective kettlebell exercises for runners.
10 Kettlebell Exercises for Runners
Grab your kettlebell and stand with feet about hip width distance apart. Hold the kettlebell in one hand and hinge forward, bending at the hips. Let your arm straighten as the weight of the kettlebell pulls it toward the floor.
Bend the knees slightly, continuing to hinge forward at the hips. Lift the kettlebell up toward your side, bending the arm to do so. Lower back to the floor and repeat on the opposite side.
Place a kettlebell on the floor in front of you. Bend forward at the hips to pick up the kettlebell with both hands. Keep the back flat and legs straight as you lift the kettlebell with both hands. Rise to a standing position while holding the kettlebell, and then bend forward to return it to the floor.
Around the World
Flip the kettlebell to hold it by the bell side, and bring it up to shoulder level. Pass the kettlebell from hand to hand as you rotate it around your head, adjusting your arms to facilitate the movement.
Stand with your feet spread wider than hip width distance, placing a kettlebell on the floor in between your feet. Squat down towards the floor, and grab the horns of the kettlebell with both hands. As you return to standing, lift the kettlebell from the floor.
Return to your squat position, holding the kettlebell with both hands in between your legs. As you rise up to standing, powerfully lift the kettlebell from the floor. Swing the kettlebell into the air, extending your arms straight out in front of you as it reaches eye level.
Single Leg Deadlift
Extend one arm directly out in front of you while lifting the opposite leg straight back behind you, lowering into a bird-dog position. With your lower hand, grab the kettlebell by the horns. Return to a standing position while lifting the kettlebell with one hand. Lower back to a bird-dog and repeat on the opposite side.
Hold the kettlebell by its bell, bringing it up to your chest with both hands. Step forward with one foot and lower into a lunge position. Continue to balance the kettlebell at chest height as you step your back foot forward to return to a standing position.
Stand with your feet together and hold the kettlebell in one hand, letting it fall down to your side. Place the opposite hand on your hip and bend sideways toward the kettlebell.
Begin in a seated position, with legs bent in front of you. Hold the kettlebell by its bell with both hands at your chest. Remain in this position and twist your torso from side to side.
Straight Leg Sit Ups
Lay flat on the floor with legs extended straight. Hold the kettlebell above your chest with both hands. Sit up, keeping your legs straight while balancing the kettlebell in both hands. Return back to the floor and continue to repeat.
Try completing a few of these exercises after each run throughout the week for a time-effective way to benefit from the kettlebell. If you’d prefer, you can complete them altogether for a cross training workout. Here’s an injury-preventing kettlebell workout for runners.
Full Body Kettlebell Workout for Runners
Set 1: Arms
- Bent Over Row x 10 each side
- Around the World x 15
- Deadlift High Pull x 15
Repeat all exercises x 3
Set 2: Legs
- Sumo Squat + Kettle Bell Swing x 15
- Single Leg Deadlifts x 10 each side
- Weighted Lunges x 12 each side
Repeat all exercises x 3
Set 3: Core
- Weighted Side Dips x 15 each side
- Russian Twists x 20
- Weighted Straight Leg Situps x 15
Repeat all exercises x 3
There are so many benefits of using the kettlebell for runners! As your strength and endurance increases, try increasing the number of repetitions you complete in each set. This full body workout will help you build balanced strength and avoid inactive muscles on the run.
Add this kettlebell workout into your training plan each week to see how your running improves!