Become a faster Skyrunner with a strong upper body
27 April 2020

Become a faster Skyrunner with a strong upper body

Skyrunning is nothing like street running and going up and down the mountains requires a strong upper body.

In this blog post you can read more about Snezana’s experiences and knowledge about strength training for upper body and which types of muscles you need to train.

Blog by Snezana Djuric, Arduua Frontrunner

and a continuation of the story…

Mountain equipment for your safety

Picture by John Wolfrik

Importance of upper body muscles

Strength training is a very important part for all runners.

 Maybe some people think – no matter what the strength training will look like to me, I will not run like a sprinter, I run long runs.

Are there any? Sure there is. But this is a wrong thought. If you are doing strength training, it does not mean that you have to look like a sprinter. More specifically, your muscle mass will not be high if you do what you need.

What is certain is that every runner needs strength training. Let’s start with the basic things. Core needs to be strong, your base needs to be strong in order to run as well as possible, do more effective workouts, and improve your technique.

A smart man once told me – running does not create a strong abdominal wall, but running requires strong abdominal muscles :).

Well, let’s start with that. Abdominal and back exercises are very, very important! For every runner. For every person, it doesn’t have to be a runner. Skyrunners, did you happen to have lower back pain when you are on the hill, or after the race to feel the consequences? What does that tell you? Did you happen to look at the photo from the race, think – why did I get distorted like this?

Abdominal and back muscles keep the spinal column upright. The stronger and more stable the muscles, the better!

Ok, that’s not the end of course. Well we have to do whole body exercises :).

© 2017.

The upper body muscles also need to be strengthened. Those muscles participate in breathing, when we run our breathing is very important, which means … exercise!:)

Running activity requires more oxygen than the sedentary lifestyle. With movements similar to the mechanics of the bellows, the diaphragm shrinks to draw air into the lungs. At the same time, the intercostal muscles relax to contract strongly as the exhalation takes place. During this time, the diaphragm relaxes and pulls into the chest. With the lever push and pull, the lungs are filled with air and then empty to meet the needs of the oxygen racing organism.

The chest muscles have an important function in moving the torso forward. As the pelvis moves forward with each step, the pelvis rotates slightly to one side and the other. This movement slightly twists the spinal column and would cause instability in the abdomen and chest area if left unchecked. So the strain and relaxation of the chest muscles helps to keep the torso in a vertical position and corrects the variations caused by moving forward at high speed. Pushups, pushups, pushups…J

If the chest muscles lose strength and power, breathing is compromised, but the activity of the auxiliary muscles that support the spinal column and move the arms is impaired, causing movement to slow down.

Picture by John Wolfrik

For example: the legs may be able to run 1.6 kilometres in less than 4 minutes, but if the lungs do not have the capacity to provide enough oxygen, the runner will be able to achieve the speed that his lungs allow, not the speed that his legs could reach under other circumstances.
(PS. This example does not apply for all runners, and it’s taken from my personal experiences with a history of breething problems as a child).

To avoid such misalignment, the diaphragm and all supporting muscles must be trained as well as the lower extremity muscles.

Of course, leg exercises are a must :). Strengthening the ligaments, tendons, all the muscles of the legs because they all participate in the running. When you insert strength training in addition to running training, you will see progress for sure!

In this text, I wanted to explain a little more about the importance and role of upper body muscles because I think runners pay less attention to that part than legs :).

I hope I helped, and you will start with the exercises. For your sake :)!

Snezana Djuric, Arduua Frontrunner

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