Beginner Kettlebell Circuit Workout for Runners

Welcome to the latest edition of Workout Wednesday! This week we are talking kettlebells! One of the reasons that I love kettlebells is that they are great for incorporating a cardio and strength workout in one. The kettlebell swing is a great exercise to get your heart pumping, and for that reason the swing is the cornerstone move in this kettlebell circuit workout for runners. 

I call it a beginner kettlebell workout because it is great for someone who is new to kettlebells to get a feel for the tool without too many complicated moves. There is nothing overly technical here (see notes below to ensure you are performing the swing correctly) and most of these exercises can be done with just a dumbbell too. 

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I am using a 20lb kettlebell. Choose a weight according to your own fitness level.
I like the GymBoss timer to time my intervals, but you could also just use your phone as a timer.

THE KETTLEBELL CIRCUIT FOR RUNNERS

Start this circuit with 30 seconds of kettlebell swings, then do 30 seconds of each move with kettlebell swings between each strength move. 

Kettlebell swings 30 seconds
Squat & Press 30 seconds
Kettlebell swings 30 seconds
Lateral lunge right 30 seconds
Lateral lunge left 30 seconds
Kettlebell swings 30 seconds
Single leg deadlift right 30 seconds
Single leg deadlift left 30 seconds
Kettlebell swings 30 seconds
Plank row right 30 seconds
Plank row left 30 seconds
Rest 30 seconds

Perform circuit 3 times. 

Coaches Tips:

THE KETTLEBELL SWING

Start with your legs hip width apart with your knees slightly bent and the kettlebell between your legs, above your knees. Push your hips back behind your center of gravity. With your arms locked straight use your hips to thrust the kettlebell forward. Keep your core tight, your back straight and chest up. Do not lean back or extend your back at the top of the swing. The most important thing to remember is that this is hip hinge move, not a squat, there should never be more than a slight bend at the knees. 

SQUAT AND PRESS

With your feet a little wider than hip width apart, toes pointing forward, push your hips back and lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground (or as low as your flexibility allows) while shifting your weight onto your heels. Touch your elbows to your knees and press the kettlebell ball over your head into a shoulder press. 

LATERAL LUNGE (EACH SIDE)

Runners only move in one plane of motion, forward (& back). It is important for runners to build hip strength and stability by incorporating lateral moves into their workouts to run stronger and help avoid injuries. 

With both toes pointing forward, push your hips back and take a large step to your right and bend your right knee into a side lunge position and straighten your left leg. Lower your hips as low as your flexibility will allow. Push back to starting position. Repeat on other side. 

SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT (EACH SIDE)

When you run you are balancing on one leg at time repeatedly for the duration of your run. If you perform exercises unilaterally (one side at a time) it will help reduce muscle imbalances, improve core strength & stability and increase runner-specific strength. The single leg deadlift is an ideal exercise for runners.

Standing on one leg, keep your knee slightly bent and perform a deadlift by bending at your hip while keeping your back straight and neck neutral. Extend your free leg behind you in line with your body. Lower until your back is parallel to the floor. With your back straight return to the upright position. Repeat on other side. 

PLANK ROWS

Start in a high straight arm plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your legs wider than hip width for stability. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to ankles while engaging your core. Do not allow your hips to hike up or sag down.

With your core tight and your glutes engaged lift your right elbow to row as you bend your elbow up toward the ceiling. Keep your elbows close to your sides as you raise the kettlebell. Repeat on other side. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

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While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.