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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Apologies for bombarding the forum with questions, but another thing I've been wondering whilst out on the road, is that as I'm tiring I try to use my upper body to get my legs moving (I've always been taught that if your arms are moving your legs will follow), I've not much strength up top. Will going to a gym once a week and working on my upper body improve my running at all, or is that just a myth in my head?

Also, is there any way of improving upper body strength whilst running or is it best just done in the gym?
 

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not too sure on that one, I go to the gym once or twice a week but I have not noticed much improvement in my running :( but of course there are other benefits to be had from going to the gym. IF you stick with upper body strength building you may just feel that you gain psychologically from enhanced body image but if you follow a regime that enhances your cardiovascular performance I'm sure you will get an improvement in your running capability. I do a bit of both but don't get too hung up on it as others will tell you there is no substitute for miles.
 

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My opinion is that it would not improve long distance running performance utilizing the lower rep ranges neccessary for increased strength because significant improvement in strength would inevitably lead to significant increases in body mass
(I think the arm pumping thing is a factor for "eye balls out" sprinters looking to shave fractions of seconds as well rather than people running several miles)

I know that as I have become less heavily muscled over the years my ability to run further has increased, the stress on my legs and joints has decreased. I won't pretend to understand the science so I shall go for a Vaughan W.A.G : If you increase your upper body muscle mass you are increasing the load your legs need to propel and increasing the amount of oxygen required to do the same distance at the same speed.

There is a theory that higher rep ranges in lower body exercises like squats can aid running which you can google to see research on. I believe that works through small increases in strength and more pronounced increases in muscular endurance.

It is worth bearing in mind that you can increase the power of your muscle's contractions as opposed to the strength without adding lbs to your bodyweight using plyometric exercises and that may benefit sprints, running up hills etc.

Im not sure there any ways you can incorporate upper body strength training into running. The only ways that spring to mind are stopping and doing exercises circuit style or assault course type training. I do have an employee who decided to run with dumbells in his hands for a time but its not for nowt we call him Nuttsy.
 

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I agree with vaughan. You want quickness not bulk, higher reps, low weight. The most important exercises for runners is core strength -you need hip exercises specifically.

Here is the best hip exercise I can recommend:

Get into a press-up position on the floor, but keep the arms straight and lift your hips up (as far as you can) and then right down (nearly touching the floor). Depending on your core strength this may be very hard to start with. You want to build up to 4x12 reps. If you feel daring it is very beneficial to do a short 50mtr run after each set - you will build a good running posture. Oh never lean forward from the shoulders (bending at the waist) when you run, instead run tall and proud.

I recommend holding your arms with a 90degree bend at the elbow. Thumb sat on top of a lightly clenched hand. When you run don't let your hands come too far in front. Light rhythmic motion (as in a short quick pendulum). Work hard on letting your arms rotate freely from your shoulders, to do this try and relax your armpits.
 

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Once a week at the gym isn't enough time to get your upper body into shape. You need to be going about 3 times a week idealy.
 

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I go to the gym three times a week and use weights to tone my upper body, I do about eight weight exercises ( 3 x 10) and a couple of stomach crunch exercises. I usually start on the X trainer to warm up, I gave up the treadmill when I hit the road three times a week. I don't want to bulk but I have found weights have helped me with my breathing which I originally struggled with. I do/did suffer with asthma but in truth it has not been so bad since I started at the gym.

I am still new to running and I may be training wrong so I wouldn't like anyone to follow my training methods in case it hinders. I do know in Jan I couldn't run two miles and since then I have ran two 10ks and a half marathon, albeit not that fast - 54mins-55mins and 2hrs 5 mins respectively.

I was a mess before training, pot bellied and unfit, since starting I have lost 22lbs feel a lot fitter. My running mate has been a great help, he is 65 and has ran 25+ marathons and he blinds me for pace and distance.
 

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Arms do move legs but it is not in a true physical sense. It is more to do with timing and balance and movement. For some folks if they are having difficulty convincing their legs to move faster they pump their arms a bit quicker and this in turn leads to a faster turnover of the legs.
 

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i quite like using the cross trainer at the gym... not so much for building strenght, but it helps make the connection between my legs and arms moving at the same time... my head seams to switch into crosstrain mode whilst going up hill
 

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I've always found the crosstrainer a really strange bit of kit to use - I guess because I use it so little in comparison to running! I mean when I pick up the pace whilst running, my stride length increases... trying to pick up the pace on a cross-trainer with the same stride length seems really weird! ... that could well just be me though :embarrassed:

Upper body strength... hmmm... how valuable is it? okay core strength is useful, but as for arms, I've no idea between the relationship of strength and running performance. You'd certainly not want to bulk up, toning I'm sure would be beneficial in some way though.

I'll just keep pumping my scrawny arms away and hope the legs just do their job regardless :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Cheers for the advice, folks. Think I'll wait until I've shed some pounds then just use the gymn for toning up, rather than to help with running.
 
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