Injury Prevention

5-Exercise Dynamic Kettlebell Strength Workout for Runners

This kettlebell workout circuit will add strength and efficiency to your stride. You don't need much, just this guide, a bit of space, and a kettlebell.

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For those that don’t want to venture into public gyms right now, or simply prefer the convenience of working out at home, this workout is for you. You don’t need much equipment or a fancy gym to get a full-body strength workout to help improve your running. All you need is some body awareness, guidance, a bit of space, and a kettlebell. Look for a 20–40 pound kettlebell for a man, or a 15–30 pound kettlebell for a woman.

These workouts aim to enhance your balance and stability, using the offset weight to challenge your body dynamically, similarly to what happens in a run.

Kettlebell Exercise One: Reverse Offset Lunge to Overhead Press with Knee to Chest

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For: Quadriceps, Psoas, Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus, Hip and Core Stability, Deltoid

How: Hold a kettlebell in the front loaded position in your right hand. Make sure the handle is held diagonally in your hand. Take a reverse lunge with your right leg and gently touch your knee on the floor. Drive your left foot into the floor and push off your right big toe to return to a standing position. Bring your right knee to your chest and simultaneously press the kettlebell overhead. Pause in this position for 2 seconds and make sure you stand tall with level hips. Bring your right foot down and repeat.

Do: 1 set of 12 reps per side, then move on to exercise 2.

Kettlebell Exercise Two: Single Leg Offset Romanian Deadlift to Bent Over Row to Knee to Chest

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For: Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus, Psoas, Hip and Core Stability, Rhomboids, Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi

How: Hold the kettlebell in your right hand beside your right hip while standing on your left foot. Slightly bend your left knee and raise your right leg straight behind you. Reach for the wall behind you as you bow. Keep your back flat and stick your chest out toward the ground. Form a capital letter “T” and pause. Row the kettlebell up with your right arm. Squeeze your shoulder toward your opposite hip. Lower the weight, then stand. Proceed to lift your right knee to the ceiling while keeping a level pelvis. Lower your leg, then repeat.

Do: 12 reps per side, then proceed to exercise three. 

Kettlebell Exercise Three: Side Plank Kettlebell Pick-Up to Knee to Chest

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For: Hip and Core Stability

How: Lie on your right side and prop yourself up onto your right elbow. Ensure a kettlebell is placed just in front of your torso. Keep your legs straight and stack your feet upon one another. Squeeze your glutes and form a straight line from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Next, pick up the kettlebell with your left arm and squeeze your shoulder blade to the opposite hip. Notice the greater demand on the lower core stabilizers. Make sure your body doesn’t move when you pick up the kettlebell. Lower the kettlebell back to the floor, then push down into the handle with your left hand. Next, bring your left knee toward your torso. Don’t move your body or let your hips drop. Return the leg and repeat.

Do: 1 set of 12 reps per side, then move to exercise 4.

Kettlebell Exercise Four: High Plank Kettlebell Drag

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For: Core Stability

How: Go into the top of a pushup position with your hands placed on the floor within hip-width apart and your feet placed wider than shoulder-width apart. Round your upper back and tuck in your pelvis. Squeeze your glutes and contract your abs. With a kettlebell placed beneath the right side of your torso, lift your left hand and grab the kettlebell handle. Slowly drag it from right to left without moving your body. Place your left hand down and switch arms. 

Do: 1 set of 12 reps per side, then move to exercise 5.

Kettlebell Exercise Five: Single Leg Kettlebell Glute Bridge

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For: Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings

How: Lie on your back with your knees bent and one foot placed on a kettlebell that is on its side. Place your hands on the floor beside you for balance. Drive your foot into the kettlebell to perform a bridge. Lift your hips up high enough to form a straight line from your shoulders to your knee. Don’t over-arch your low back. Lower your hips back to the floor.

Do: 2 mini sets of 12 per side, then return to exercise 1. Complete 3-4 total sets.

Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc, CSCS, CEP is a Strength & Conditioning Coach with 15 years of experience. He’s a co-owner of JKConditioning, a health and fitness business in St. John’s, NL, Canada, a retired competitive runner and a long time contributor to PodiumRunner.