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Getting Started With Your Weight Training Routine

weightsThis blog was written by Brandon Johnson, CSCS, FMS, USAW.

There are numerous benefits to adding weight training to your distance routine.  In an earlier blog, I spoke about some of those benefits, so hopefully you are excited to add this component to your training regimen.  The biggest question I hear is: how do I get started?

In one word, planning!  Planning (or the lack of planning) is the number one reason why training plans are not completed or routinely followed.   First and foremost, when you are planning to add weight training to your training regimen, you will need to make it convenient for yourself.  If you have the best workout on paper, but make it difficult to incorporate into your routine, it will not be successful.  Logistically, make the weight training time, location and exercise list fit the easiest possible scenario for you.  If you have to drive 30 minutes to the gym, warm-up and workout for 30-45 minutes and then drive home for 30 minutes, then you have spent close to two hours for the 30-45 minutes of work.  That is not sustainable in the long term.  To get the benefits, I would recommend two 30-minute sessions per week.

The second step, once you make it logistically feasible, is to design your weight training routine.  A lot of the same steps are useful here as with the logistics.  Keep it simple!  If your background is not as good in weight training and you try to add a complicated routine, you are setting yourself up for failure.  Do some basics that are easy to understand and can be safely practiced.  At this point, body weight exercise are perfectly acceptable.  Again, you are trying to make this part of your routine, so the simpler, the better.  At some point you will want to add an external load (dumbbells or bars), but body weight exercises are a great place to get started.

Since we are only working out twice per week, we need to incorporate 5-7 exercises that cover the entire body.  Start with largest muscle groups first and progress to smaller ones by the end of the training session.  In the beginning, do three sets of 8-12 reps per exercise.

Example workout:

  • Squats (3 x 10) with Squat Jumps between each set (3 x 5)
  • Double Leg Hip Bridge with Shoulders Elevated (3 x 10)
  • Push-Ups  (3 x 8-12 or until difficult)
  • Horizontal Pull-Ups/Inverted Row (3 x 10)
  • 3-Way Shoulder Raises (2 x 10) – this requires 8-15 lbs of weight

In summary, DO NOT let simple logistical problems get in your way of a beneficial weight training regimen.  If you make it a part of your routine with simple steps, you will improve your running performance and health at the same time.