I am always training for something.
I have my race calendar for the following year noodled out by November. Yes, of course plans change and goals morph into bigger goals or get sidelined by life. But, in general, I already know what my next race is going to be before I cross the finish line of my current one.
And my strength workouts? Well, I have an audience waiting for those every Monday and Thursday on YouTube, so I know when those are getting done, too!
And sometimes, I use one of these things to wimp out on the other.
“Oh, I don’t want to lift too heavy today, I’ve got a long run tomorrow,” or, “I’m a little sore from yesterday’s workout, I think I’ll take it easy on my run today.”
Well, I’m here to encourage you to stop making excuses. Which is pretty good advice for life in general, but especially as it pertains to doing a little heavy lifting.
Being sore from a strength training workout will not ruin your run, and getting stronger will actually make all your workouts easier in the long run (sorry – I couldn’t resist!).
Now, when I’m talking about “heavy,” you know, of course, that I mean “heavy for you.” Everybody’s heavy is different.
For upper body work, my max weight that I can lift with good form through three circuits is about 10 pounds. For some people, that’s like picking up feathers. And for others, it seems as far off in the distance as the sun. Rather than worrying about the comparison, just pick a weight that you feel confident about and focus on the workout.
Because it’s a really good one, and you’re going to get sweaty!
Sweaty Strength Circuit – Intense Full Body Dumbbell Workout
Level: Intermediate (dynamic movements, complex exercises and heavier weights make this pretty challenging – can be modified with a lighter weight to Beginner+)
Equipment: One heavy-for-you dumbbell
Time Needed: Approximately 40 minutes, including warm up and cool down
Timed Cardio Warm Up (50-second intervals with 10 seconds of rest between exercises)
- Squat and Reach
- Skiers with High and Low Reach
- Fast Feet
Main Workout with Dumbbell
(Untimed, complete 10 reps of each exercise and repeat the circuit three times):
- Overhead to High Knees
- Side Bend with Side Raises
- Curtsy Lunge with Reach
- Single Arm Snatch
- Overhead Deadlift
- Reverse Lunge with Side Kick
Cool Down Stretching
- Arm Circles
- Arm Crossers
- Lower Back Stretch
- Hamstring Stretch
So, how often should you get heavy?
Like everything in fitness (and life), it depends on your goals.
If you’re trying to lose fat and shape up for better health, lifting heavy will be a semi-frequent workout – maybe once or twice a week, along with your other HIIT and lighter strength workouts.
And if your primary goal is to run faster, you’ll do fine with lifting heavy just once a week or less, since your main focus will be improving your cardio endurance with running, core strength and HIIT workouts.
No matter how often you challenge yourself with heavier weights, with good form and focus, you’re sure to enjoy a good sweat and some happily sore muscles!