Women runners should not neglect their upper body when it comes to working out. Strong arms conserve energy by counter-balancing the movement of your legs. This is why you pump your arms when you run. A strong back and shoulders help to keep your body upright and in good form when you run. This is important to help prevent injuries. Women runners need a strong upper body for peak performance. You can do home workouts with no equipment or light dumbbells.
Women runners should perform arm-strengthening exercises at home with dumbbells that weigh no more than 5 pounds. The goal is to do many repetitions with minimum resistance to build muscle strength. The dumbbell row is performed standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing toward your body. Lift both of your arms straight up to shoulder height. Hold the lift for two to five seconds and then lower back to the start position. Aim for 20 repetitions. Beginners may want to start with 10 repetitions and gradually build up to 20 repetitions.
Chest and Shoulders
The chest stretch exercise will strengthen your chest and upper-back muscles for good posture, which helps improve your running performance. Stand with your feet apart, about hip width, and point your toes forward. Squeeze your abdominal muscles tight and pull your shoulders down. Gently squeeze your shoulders back but do not arch your back. Breathe out and lift your entire chest up and out. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold the position for up to 30 seconds. Do four repetitions of this exercise.
The pushup is one of the most effective upper-body exercises you can do at home. It works your arms, chest and shoulders and you don't need any equipment. Get on the floor on your stomach and stretch your body out straight. Support your body on your hands and toes. Position your hands underneath your shoulders. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and lower your upper body toward the floor. Hold your body about 1 to 2 inches above the floor and then push your upper body back upright. Try to do 10 repetitions of this exercise and more when you are stronger.
Benefit for Women Runners
Women runners can benefit from upper-body strengthening by reducing the likelihood of injury and improving performance. You may slump your shoulders or lean forward when running, especially after you become fatigued. A strong upper body will help you maintain good posture even when you are tired. Strong upper-body muscles also help you to maintain your balance and avoid falls.
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.