The Ultimate Warm-up and Strength Circuits that Every Runner Needs

Hiya! Welcome to the latest edition of 'workout Wednesday' when each week I share a new running or strength training for runners workout!

This week I am sharing two circuits: I have a warm-up circuit that can be completed before the strength circuit or before your next run. Then, a full body dumbbell strength circuit that was designed to get you stronger in all the ways that will improve your running. 

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The Ultimate Warm-Up and Strength Circuits That Every Runner Needs. 

The Ultimate Warm-Up and Strength Circuits That Every Runner Needs. 


This warm-up is ideal to get your muscles ready and activated before any workout or run. Complete all the exercises in order with little to no rest. When complete repeat the circuit one or two more times.

Ultimate warm up for runners. Save to your favorite Pinterest board for later.

Ultimate warm up for runners. Save to your favorite Pinterest board for later.


Balance on one leg with your knee slightly bent. With a straight leg swing your leg out to the right then cross over the front leg to the left. Repeat 10 times on each leg. If you have to hold on to a chair or touch your foot down to maintain balance it is ok at first, but work on building balance over time. Having a strong core and good balance will benefit your running form and efficiency. 

Standing on one leg with your knee slightly bent swing your straight leg out in front, then behind. You can hold onto a chair if you need to for balance, but work to build balance over time. Repeat 10 times on each leg. 


Start on all fours with your wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Lift one arm off the floor to shoulder height while lifting the opposite leg in line with the hip. Pause in the bird dog position for two seconds before bending your extended arm's elbow and bending your extended leg's knee to connect. Repeat on the other side.


Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of one another. Lift your top leg to about 45 degrees before lowering. Complete eight reps, then bring your top leg out in front (to get it out of the way) and lift your lower leg towards the ceiling. Repeat both moves on the other side.


Lie on your back with your knees bent and lift your hips off the floor while engaging your glutes and abs. Your body should be in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.  Lower your hips to the floor and repeat. 


Start in straight arm plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your legs a little 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 (get your butt out of the air) or sag down.

Twist to the right to move into a side plank position keeping your right leg in front of your left for stability. Reach your arm to the ceiling and hold for 3-5 seconds before returning to plank position. Repeat on your other side.


This exercise could have just as easily fit in the warm up or the strength portion of the workout. 

Stand on your right leg with your knee soft (not locked) and grip the weight on each end with two hands. Start with the weight down towards the outside of your left knee by rotating your torso and shoulders. With straight arms rotate your torso in other direction to reach up and over your right shoulder. Perform the reps then stand on the other leg and repeat on opposite side. 


You'll just need a pair of dumbbells to complete this circuit. Complete the circuit with little to no rest between exercises. Do not rush the moves, pay attention to your form. Once the circuit is complete, rest for a minute or two and repeat up to three times. 

Ultimate strength workout for runners. Save to your favorite Pinterest board for later. 

Ultimate strength workout for runners. Save to your favorite Pinterest board for later. 


With a dumbbell in each hand in front of your knees, bend your knees as if you were going to jump, pushing your hips back. With power, stand up straight and onto your toes bringing the dumbbells up to shoulder height, staying close to the body. 


Hold a single weight on both ends at chest height, push your hips back and lower into a squat position until your elbows touch your knees and your thighs are parallel to the ground or as low as your flexibility will allow. Push up from the low squat position through your heels and raise your arms overhead to a shoulder press in one fluid movement.


With a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead. Take one large step back with your right leg to lunge until your front knee is lined up over your ankle and your back knee is nearly touching the floor. Once you are in the lunge position with your palms facing together, bend the same elbow as your forward leg to perform a hammer curl. Straighten your arms then push back up to starting position and complete the reps. 


Face forward with toes pointing straight ahead, hold a weight in your left hand and take a wide step out to your right side. Push your hips back then bend your right knee while straightening your left leg. With your back straight and chest up, hinge at your hips to bring the weight in your left hand to touch the floor next to your right foot. Do not round your back or allow your knee to move forward beyond your toe. Be sure to keep your torso and toes facing forward. Perform the assigned reps, then repeat on the other side.


Gripping a single dumbbell on both ends hold the weight close to your chest and stand with your feet hip apart. Cross your right leg behind the body and to the left. Bend left knee 90 degrees, or as low your flexibility will allow. In the low position straighten your arms to press the weight out from your chest. Bring the weight back to your check and return to starting position. Alternate sides.


Standing on one leg, keep your knee slightly bent and perform a deadlift by hinging at your hip while keeping your back straight and neck neutral. Extend your free leg behind you in line with your body. Grip the weight on each side with two hands and lower until your back is parallel to the floor. With your back straight return to the upright position. Perform the reps on one side then repeat on your other side.

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