What weight training exercises can I do with dumbbells that will benefit me most for running 5-10ks? Are stomach crunches/sit ups worth doing too?

  • 1
    Ive had some success from dumbbell squats, snatches and swings. Use a fairly heavy weight such that you can do 4-5 sets of ~5 reps
    – Nobody
    May 13, 2011 at 13:01

3 Answers 3


I'd recommend going with a rapid fire style of workout using light dumbbells that is a hybrid of both cardio and strength training. For instance, see this video from Scott Abel. The rationale for why you would want to do this workout is in the zentofitness.com article, too.

  • 1
    I disagree strongly. If someone is doing a 5 or 10k, they are getting their cardio from running. They need strength training, particularly for the lower body. Light-weight upper-body dumbbell work as described in the article is barely useful at all for improving running times. Oct 6, 2012 at 14:13
  • I disagree with your disagreement because 1) the "cardio" in this type of workout is very anaerobic in nature and there are several benefits to anaerobic conditioning for 5k-10k runs 2) training the upper body increases posture and core stabilization - both important for running 3) you need something active for days where you give your legs a day off.
    – whaley
    Oct 9, 2012 at 12:31
  • I still disagree, but updating your question with that reasoning is good enough to remove my downvote. Oct 9, 2012 at 14:35

Your aim with weight training for running is for strength and not for "bulking up".

There are a whole bunch of exercises that you can find just by Googling "weight training for running".

With dumbbells you will be looking at doing things like lunges, steps and squats to target the legs.

Again, just Google "dumbell squats" etc. and have a look on youtube to see videos.

I also suggest doing crunches and sit-ups for long distance running. You will find that strong abdominals helps improve balance and if your legs are quite strong you will notice the burn in your abs once you start running long distances.

  • 3
    Please try to avoid including "Google X" as part of your answers.
    – mootinator
    Mar 6, 2011 at 4:19
  • +1 it is useful though that you have mentioned what to google for.
    – gideon
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:58

Running benefits from strength in the posterior chain, particularly the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Lower body strength generally will help as well. Dumbbell squats, squat-jumps, lunges, and deadlifts, done as heavy as possible, would be ideal for this goal.

Power and speed development is also important. For that purpose, dumbbell cleans, swings, and snatches are called for.

In the interest of balance, it might be nice--but not required--to add in some overhead presses and dumbbell rows for the upper body.

I don't see any particular reason to do sit-ups for a 10k race, particularly if you're getting stronger in the abs from heavy lifting. I prefer planks. But they would probably be fine.

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