Circuit Training for Runners in Ten Steps.

So you are taking the dive into circuit training. There is something quite exhilarating about pushing some weights around. I definitely feel much stronger after I am done lifting. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a big guy. I don’t go flexing in the mirror after a good workout, but lifting makes me feel kind of tough.

Do you need a nice transition from running to lifting? When it comes to health fitness and nutrition everyone needs to start somewhere! Try this easy to follow Beginner Exercise Program. It mixes cardio work with weights. Below is a little more advanced weights workout, but it is still designed for runners.

First, I will list the ten different circuit training stations. Only two of them involve leg lifts. Make sure to stretch before and after this workout. Before you do the actual circuit, find what weight is comfortable for you to lift for 8-12 repetitions for upper body exercises and 12 – 15 for the lower body exercises.

Be sure to do an aerobic activity like running, biking, or swimming before and after the circuit training routine. I ride the exercise bike for ten minutes before and after.

1. Dumbbell Press
2. Dumbbell Flies
3. Triceps Extensions
4. Dumbbell Curls
5. Leg Extensions
6. Leg Curls
7. Shoulder Press
8. Lateral Pull Downs
9. Triceps Pull Downs
10. Upright Rows

Want the detailed explanation of each lift. Superb! Knowledge is power, and in this case it truly is.

Having a stronger all around body is always a good idea for running. I was a big fan of Bruce Lee in my younger years. One of his beliefs was called developing "Real World Strength.” He didn’t train to bulk up. He trained to gain functional power.

I believe in this too. Lifting weights will help you in many different aspects of your life besides running. Circuit training can improve your posture, prevent back injuries, increase bone density, increase metabolism, and much more. You'll be quite popular with friends when they move, because of your strength and stamina.

1. Dumbbell Press – This lift is very simple. It is just like a bench press, but you are using dumbbells. If you prefer the bench press, substitute that in for this lift. Lay on your back on a weight bench with two equal weighted dumbbells. Push straight up with each arm 8 – 12 times. When you are able to do a certain weight more than 12 times for any circuit training upper body exercise, go up five pounds.

2. Dumbbell Flies – Lay on your back on a bench, just like for the dumbbell press. With dumbbells much lighter than your dumbbell press (I use 25 pound weights – Compared to 55 for the dumbbell press) push straight up. Now with both weights directly above your chest, slowly fan your arms out wide, with your elbows slightly bent. When you have your arms 180 degrees apart, bring them back together so the weights are directly above your chest again.

3. Triceps Extensions – Put one knee and the same side arm on your bench. Your chest should be parallel to the bench for this lift. Hold one dumbbell in the hand opposite the side that is resting on the bench. Your arm should start this lift in a 90 degree position with your elbow resting up against the side of your body and the weight straight down from your elbow. Then keep your elbow fixed against your side while turn the weight up so your arm is perfectly straight and parallel to the ground. Let the weight go down so your arm is 90 degrees and repeat.

4. Dumbbell Curls - Stand up for this lift holding two dumbbells at your sides. Turn your palms so they are facing forward. Keep your elbow against your side, and curl the weight up to your shoulder.

5. Leg Extensions – This is great for strengthening your quadriceps. Sit down at a leg extension machine and adjust the bar so it rests against your legs right on your ankle. Lift up making your leg straight. Remember to do the leg exercises for a total of 12 – 15 times. If you can do more than 15 repetitions for either leg lift, increase the weight by 10 pounds.

6. Leg Curls – Lay on your stomach on the leg curl machine and adjust the bar so it rests right up against your Achilles tendon. Set the weight 10 pounds lighter than you did your leg extensions at. Now curl you legs up.

7. Shoulder Press – Sit down on the shoulder press machine. Set the weight and start pushing your arms straight up.

8. Lateral Pull downs - This exercise is the opposite of the shoulder press. Sit down and set the weight. Reach up to grab the long bar. Your arms should be out just a bit wider than your shoulders. Pull the bar down and have it go right in front of your face. Stop when you get just below your chin. Slowly go back up and repeat.

9. Triceps Pull Downs - Stand up and grab the V shaped handle for the triceps pull downs. Pull the weight down and stop when your arms are also in the shape of a “V” with your hands right in front of your face. Keep your elbows steady right on the side of your body. Now pull the weight down until your arms are straight, go back up and repeat.

10. Upright rows - Sit with your back straight. Set the weights. With your arms straight out in front of you, grab the handles and pull towards you. Stop when your elbows are right next to the sides of your body and slowly go back and repeat.

That’s all of the circuit training exercises. Only wait 30 seconds between each lift. To make the workout harder, you can jog in place for 30 seconds between each lift. Now get after it. A stronger runner means a faster runner!

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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Beginner Running Tips
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