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Runner’s Strength training with California Fitness

Alongside run training, strength training will help you to become a better competitor and reduce the risk of injury. Here, California Fitness share some top exercises to improve your overall run fitness.

Thanh Vu, one of Vietnam’s best known ultra distance runners and also VTM and VMM finisher uses strength training to improve her overall performance

When many people think of strength training they think of lifting weights, however many other activities can improve your strength in more effective ways for ultra distance trail runs by helping to tone your various muscle groups in a dynamic way.

Shoulder shrugs – Exercises for shoulder muscles: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing your torso), arms extended on the sides. Lift the dumbbells by elevating the shoulders as high as possible while you exhale. Holdat the top for a second. Only the shoulders should be moving up and down. Repeat this 20 times.

Bicep curls – Exercises for forearms. You need to first set your back so that your shoulder blades are pulled down and your chest is slightly raised. Let the biceps ‘breathe’ by moving your hands slightly in front of your torso, so that your elbows are just in front of your shoulders. Repeat 10 times

Triceps curls – Exercises for the back: Hold a single dumbbell with both your hands, wrapping your fingers around the end. Your palms should be facing up. Lift your hands with the dumbbell over your head until your arms are nearly straight, then curl the arms back down behind your head in a controlled movement. Perform the movement slowly. Repeat this 20 times.

Sit-ups – Exercises for abdominal and intercostal muscles: Have your knees bent and the balls of your feet and heels placed flat on the ground. Place your hands on opposing shoulders, so that your arms are crossed over your chest, or behind your head. Tighten your abdominal muscles gently by drawing in your belly button to your spine. Keeping your heels on the ground and your toes flat to the ground, slowly and gently lift your head first, followed by your shoulder blades. Pull up from the floor until you are at a ninety-degree angle, or when the elbows are on, or past, the knees. Hold the position for a second. Slowly bring the torso back to the floor but try to keep it slightly elevated off the ground. Repeat 10 times

Push-ups – Exercises for your chest muscles: Place your hands directly below your shoulders. Keep your head, back and buttocks in a straight line. Extend your legs so the weight is on your toes. Engage your core and glutes. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Lower your body in a controlled manner until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body. Repeat 10 times

Planks – Exercises for your abdominal muscles: Plant the hands directly under the shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder-width apart) like you’re about to do a push-up. Ground the toes into the floor and squeeze the glutes to stabilize the body. Your legs should be working in the move too; careful not to lock or hyper extend your knees. Neutralize the neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond the hands. Your head should be in line with your back. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Repeat 10 times

Squats – Exercises that coordinate parts of the body, reinforce the strength of the main muscle groups: Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles. Initiate the movement by inhaling and unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend. Make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward with eyes straight ahead. Repeat 20 times.

Thanh Vu exercises at California fitness and yoga center almost everyday


Swimming is a great workout to help your strength because it is non-weight bearing so it allows you to get more strength work done alongside improving your cardiovascular system with very little risk of injury.  


Not an activity, but an important part of your training program, rest helps you to restore the energy you need and also allows the work you have done to bed in.