Top 5 Benefits Of Upper Body Strength For Runners

Whether you’re a beginner runner or a seasoned marathon athlete, upper body strength is something all runners can benefit from.

All athletic movements draw power from both the upper and lower body.

That’s why, while running, you’re not only relying on your legs to propel you forward but also using your torso, back, arms, and chest. Your upper body isn’t just there for the ride.

In this post, I’ll briefly explain the main reasons and benefits of upper body resistance training for runners. I’m also sharing a few of my favorite upper body exercises to add to your cross-training plan.

Sounds great?

Let’s lace up and dig in.

  1. Arms Strength And Running

Arms strength is key in a runner’s efficiency. With every foot strike, you’re pumping your arms. The stronger the arms, the more power you generate.

  1. Improved Posture

Strengthening your upper body helps improve posture and keep good form, especially as you tire at the end of the long run.

Your running technique drastically impacts your performance potential.

You’ll never run at your best if you can’t maintain proper technique throughout your runs.

  1. It Makes You Stronger In general

Adding strength to your upper body makes you more athletic in general.  Once you start spending more time strengthening your upper body, you’ll be surprised at how easy others’ exercises will get. I’m talking about real technique, not overcompensation which we all know it’s cheating.

Almost every workout you do, from Yoga to HIIT classes, contains upper body exercises, such as push-ups, planks, and press-ups—all of which call for a decent level of upper-body strength.

Sports and active lifestyle concept. Purple running shoes and two dumbbells on pink background. Flat lay. Top view
  1. Prevent Injury

Injuries are an inevitable part of being a runner. The cumulative stress of regularly logging the miles will, sooner or later, take a toll on your body.

Soreness, aches, cramps, strains, and inflammation can all plague the neck, arms, shoulders, and back.

Again, strengthening your upper body is one step toward helping you keep and improve proper running techniques.

  1. Increased Resting Metabolism

When you build muscle mass, you increase your resting metabolism, and that helps your body shed more calories.

Muscle is active tissue.

Every pound of muscle burns about six calories per day at rest. In fact, a pound of muscle burns roughly three times as many calories as a pound of fat—that’ quite a lot.

That’s why strength training is often recommended for people trying to lose weight.

Of course, don’t take my word for it.

Research shows that packing on roughly three pounds of new lean muscle can elevate your resting metabolic rate by roughly seventh percent.

The Exercises You Need

By now, I hope you’re sold out on the importance of upper body strength while running.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite runner-friendly strength exercises to add to your cross-training routine.

Workout directions.  Perform 12 to 15 of each exercise with a challenging weight, but shoot for maximum reps on body weight exercises. Rest for two to three minutes before repeating the circuit as many times as your fitness allows.

  • Renegade Rows
  • Bench Dips
  • Standing dumbbell arm swing
  • Inverted rows
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Push-Ups
  • Overhead Triceps Extension
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press



As a runner, improving your upper body strength will not only make you look good but also perform good so why not.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by. Keep training strong.

David D.