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Kettlebell circuit for runners: simple and effective conditioning exercises to boost your running performance

Angelica Avolio - Personal Trainer & Nutritionist

If you love running and would like to take this activity one step further to a more competitive level, then simply going for a jog won’t be enough to guarantee you a place on the podium in races. In fact, it is important to develop strength and power along with endurance to be a well-rounded runner and win over your competitors. 

Conditioning circuit for runners using kettlebells

As a runner, you need to work on your power and strength if you want to succeed. Furthermore, circuits are great to develop endurance and accustom your body to prolonged stress, so they are an essential part of every runner’s training protocol.

Below you can find a circuit to condition your legs and become a powerful runner. 

If you prefer, we also have a downloadable pdf with the workout below.

Instructions

Repeat each exercise one after another until you get to the last one. Then rest for 45 seconds. This is one circuit.

Repeat the whole circuit 4-8 times, depending on fitness level.

Double Thruster

Technique

  1. Start by grabbing a kettlebell with each hand, then hold them from the handles and place them sideways against your shoulders, with the palms facing each other
  2. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart
  3. Hinge the hips back and bend your knees to squat down
  4. Once in a squat position, push through your feet to stand back up, whilst also pressing the kettlebells above your head
  5. Lower the kettlebells back to your shoulders. This is one repetition

Reps: 

Perform 10-12 repetitions

Cossack squat

Technique

  1. Hold one kettlebell using both hands, then stand up with your feet wider than shoulder-width
  2. Shift your weight to one leg, while extending out the other one and holding the kettlebell at chest-height
  3. Bend the knees of the leg you are standing on to lunge down
  4. Without standing up completely, shift your body weight and the kettlebell to the other leg to achieve a lunging position. This is one repetition

Reps: 

Repeat 8-12 times on each leg

Swings

Technique

  1. Stand upright whilst holding one kettlebell in front of you using both hands and keeping the arms extended down
  2. Hinge the hips back to move the kettlebell behind your legs
  3. Using your glutes and hamstrings, and keeping the core engaged, pull the kettlebell up, until it is in line with your face
  4. Keeping the core engaged, move the kettlebell down to the original position. This is one repetition

Reps: 

Perform 10-20 repetitions

Walking lunges

Technique

  1. Grab a kettlebell with each hand, then extend your arms down to hold them on the side of your legs
  2. Stand upright, then step forward with one leg, while keeping the other one in the same place
  3. Bend the knee of the front leg to lunge down
  4. Pushing through the front foot and moving the back leg forward, bring yourself back up into an upright position. This is one repetition
  5. Repeat with the other leg.

Reps: 

Perform 10-15 repetitions on each leg.

Final words

As a runner, you must ensure to work on your strength and power, along with endurance, in order to win over your competitors in your next running race. Performing this circuit a minimum of 2 times a week will help you develop strength in your legs so that they can generate more explosive power and enable you to run faster with less effort. 

References

Hulsey, C.R., Soto, D.T., Koch, A.J. and Mayhew, J.L., 2012. Comparison of kettlebell swings and treadmill running at equivalent rating of perceived exertion values. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research26(5), pp.1203-1207.

Beardsley, C. and Contreras, B., 2014. The role of kettlebells in strength and conditioning: a review of the literature. Strength & Conditioning Journal36(3), pp.64-70.

Грибан, Г.П., Костюк, Ю.С. and Жуковський, Є.І., 2017. Kettlebell lifting as a means of physical training of cadets at the higher military educational institution. The Journal of Physical Education and Sport (JPES), pp.2685-2689.

Falatic, J.A., Plato, P.A., Holder, C., Finch, D., Han, K. and Cisar, C.J., 2015. Effects of kettlebell training on aerobic capacity. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research29(7), pp.1943-1947.

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