The Most Effective Total Body Exercise for Runners.

Total body exercises are popular and for good reason, they give you the biggest bang for your buck in the shortest amount of time. 
In particular, exercises like burpees, and thrusters get a lot of attention but what if I told you that there’s one total body exercise that you AREN’T doing that’s more effective for runners than all of those combined? I am not knocking these other total body exercises, I am just simply stating that Up-Downs are where it’s at in terms of both metabolic conditioning and improving overall strength, especially for runners. 
Want to become a better, faster and stronger runner? Here is the one exercise you aren't doing but need to be.
Wanna know why you should be incorporating this exercise into your running routine? Let me list the reasons why….
  1.  First and foremost, you should be doing this because it works your body from head to toe.  Seriously, it engages everything from your lats to your core to your glutes, meaning it connects your core to your trunk to your lower body making it an amazing metabolic functional exercise.  
  2. Teaches you how to ACTUALLY lunge.  As runners, we all know that lunging is a necessary strength training drill.  It improves coordination and balance all while strengthening the necessary muscles to make us run faster and stronger.  The Front Loaded Up Down with the Ultimate Sandbag breaks that movement down by teaching deceleration and providing a stopping point which is incredibly beneficial to mastering it as is explained here by Ultimate Sandbag creator, Josh Henkin. 
  3. It stretches the hip flexors which are notoriously tight in runners.  Seriously though, when is the last time you integrating stretching into your strength training routine? This drill combines the best of both worlds allowing for better movement and decrease the potential for injury. 
  4. It jacks up the heart rate and improves your conditioning.  Going from standing to kneeling to standing up again may seem like a simple task but add a little weight in the front loaded position along with a pause and you’re in for a a serious sweat session.  This not only helps to increase your endurance for athletic activities but also helps to build strength as well. 
You might also like:  Unilateral Training from the Ground Up: Building the Bridge

Eager to add it to your training? Here is one way to perform an Up-Down with the Ultimate Sandbag: 

Want to become a better, faster and stronger runner? Here is the one exercise you aren't doing but need to be.


Above I am using a 40 lb strength bag and cleaning the bag to my fists.  You can also perform this exercise by power cleaning the bag to the front loaded position which is demonstrated in the video below.  

Again, the reason I love these so much and incorporate them into my personal training routine and the training sessions with my clients is because it’s purposeful, effective and works to create a stronger, faster runner :) 

Strength In Motion Front Loaded Fist Up Downs

Strength In Motion

If you really want to take it up a notch and integrate the upper body, you can add an overhead press during the kneeling or standing phase of the exercise. 

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About me

Annmarie is a self proclaimed foodie, avid long distance runner and functional fitness coach. A DVRT Master Trainer, HKC Instructor and food allergy sufferer, she writes about strength training for runners as well as shares allergy friendly recipes for busy athletes.   She is also the owner of Strength In Motion Studio, mother of two sassy sisters and wife to a chronically busy chiropractor.   Subscribe by email for updates to get the latest workouts, advice and recipes straight to your inbox!


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