A fit upper body gives you a more efficient stride and increases your potential for speed. By strengthening and toning your arms, back, shoulders and chest, your running game will have an easier job carrying you through sweat-soaked miles.

Your running routine is about more than your lower body. A strong upper body and core will help you push the pace as well as improve your form. Gaining strength in these areas with a Pilates class can also reduce your risk of injury.

Runners are well known for strong legs and calves, but a strong upper body can improve your running more than you might think. It will also power you through hard-level workouts, helping you maintain a good form that will boost your endurance.   

When, what and how to perform the upper body exercises?

If you want to improve your upper body strength, our Bentleigh fitness centre experts have listed out the workout regime for you. Have a look: 

You must perform cross-training or easy running exercises two to three times per week.

Before you start upper body heavy exercises, get your heart rate up with 5 to 10 minutes of warm-up cardio (easy running, cycling, rowing or uphill walking). Also, post-workout, perform cool-down exercises with 5 to 10 minutes of easy stretching.     

Focus on your breath-work during a workout.

  While exercising with weights, use weights that are heavy enough for you to feel the burn around 10th rep. 

Repeat the exercises in two to three sets of 15 reps of each exercise.

Which upper-body exercises provide the best results?

Chest Press

Chest press targets your upper-body and helps you feel the burn in the right muscles.

Let us understand how to perform it. 


Lie down on a flat bench with weights (we recommend using 1-1.5 kg dumbbells) in each hand and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle with feet in the air.

Clubbing the exercise with the right breath-work will give the best results. While lying in the stated position, as you exhale, slowly raise your hands above the chest until the palms face each other. Ensure your elbows are almost straight and your weights touch each other. Then, as you inhale, slowly move the weights apart and rotate the palms forward to return to the same position. Perform 15 reps of each of the chest presses for best results.  

Push-ups on a ball

Another effective method to improve upper-body strength is through push-ups on a ball. 

Let us understand the steps to ensure the appropriate method is followed.

Use a stability ball to get into position with your hands underneath your shoulders and feet over the ball.

Make most of your breath-work to reach your exercise goals quickly. As you bend on your elbows by slowly lowering your chest to the floor, you must exhale. Get in the starting position by inhaling and slowly raising your chest. Perform 15 reps of each of the push-ups on a ball for best results.  

Arms on Track

A track workout once every week will help improve your running and strength. It will help in developing stronger upper-body while you train on the speed track.  

These are some of the most effective exercises to improve your upper-body strength. If you aren't sure of doing it yourself, you can take help of strength trainers clubbed with the use of equipment. Google 'local gyms near me' and choose the gym that best matches your requirements from amongst the list.