As runners, we all know that our success is based in so much more than logging miles. We rely on our strength, our core, and our upper body to cover our distances.
However, we also all know that there are moves that are just no fun (or worse, make us cringe). Today, I’m sharing my least favorite strength moves, and the ways I get around them.
Benefits – So many people love pushups, but I’m not one of them. Pushups rely on upper body and core strength, and do solid work on the pectorals, shoulders and triceps.
Why I Hate Them – At the moment, my core is just slightly lacking and I have a hard time balancing on my right foot (specifically my toes).While I can lower myself to the ground, and push back up, the resulting discomfort in my foot isn’t worth it.
What Can You Do Instead: Dropping to your knees or doing pushups against a wall are both solid alternatives to an awful (but productive) strength move. There’s no shame in that game.
Benefits – And while we’re at it, let’s include donkey kicks, inchworms, crab walks, and gorilla jumps. Bear crawls, however, lead to strength and endurance in the shoulders and upper body. They also promote good balance and core strength.
Why I Hate Them – I have freakishly long legs, making any of the “animal” moves a little more challenging. “Walking” on my hands and feet like this puts me almost upside down, which is super uncomfortable, especially on my wrists and sinuses.
What Can You Do Instead: Any variation of mountain climbers are a great alternative to the less desirable bear crawl.
Benefits – I was so proud when I finally conquered box jumps at 9Round early last year. Box jumps are fabulous for lower body strength. They promote power and spring, and, if we’re being honest, make you feel like a badass.
Why I Hate Them – I think it’s natural to hate what we cannot accomplish. Since breaking my leg, the idea of jumping is nothing short of terrifying, so I’m no longer a fan of this critical, runner-friendly move.
What Can You Do Instead: Step ups are a great substitute for box jumps. While they lack the intensity, stepping up, one foot at a time, engages similar muscles for similar results. It doesn’t feel as good, but it gets the job done.
Benefits – Once again, we have a move that is brilliant for the core and trunk strength. It also promotes strength in the obliques and hip flexors, which are key for running.
Why I Hate Them = Truth be told, my right hip flexor is regularly angry, and V-Ups really grind on my tailbone. Even using a mat and a towel leaves me hurting on the backside and achy in my hip, so I tend to avoid them when I I can.
What Can You Do Instead? If V-ups prove too intense, lean back and do a similar move on your elbows. You can also balance in a boat pose, or lay on your back, turn your knees to either side and do oblique crunches. This will help alleviate pressure on the tailbone and still work similar areas.
Benefits – Planks are amazing because they strengthen your core and your spine. They help you mantain good posture, which leads to optimal alignment. Planks are amazing and should be part of any solid workout routine.
Why I Hate Them – Despite their benefits, planks require a level of upper body strength that I have never attained. Much like pushups, I struggle with supporting my body weight on my elbows or on my hands. And my core does not love them.
What Can You Do Instead? – Once again, drop to your knees. You can also mix it up, with high planks, low planks, or side planks. Mountain climbers and bird dogs are also based on the form of the plank, so if you aren’t ready to hold the pose, you can replicate the
What strength training moves do you love to hate?
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Great alternatives, Jenn!
I don’t like upper body strength moves either, but for some reason I enjoy dips.
So I do a few dips at a bench and then turn around and do a few push-ups at the same bench. Not as tough as push-ups on the floor, but still a good alternative. 😉
Lisa @ Mile by Mile says
I would agree with most of these! Push-ups are really hard but I can do a few of them. I know my form isn’t perfect though. I don’t think I’ve ever done box jumps because I am just not coordinated enough lol. Planks are ok. I can do them in short intervals. Glad you found some alternatives that work for you!
I was always too scared of falling off the box, or, worse, breaking it!
Deborah Brooks says
push ups are not my favorite either! Planks I like but not into the planking for long periods of time bc I think form really suffers. I like strength moves with weights more
I love things like deadlifts, and weighted lunges, and all that. They are more interesting and less difficult to complete.
Darlene S Cardillo says
I agree with the Hate. lol
I had a sneaking feeling you would 🙂
I do not like push-ups either, but I am working hard on becoming more proficient at them. I do like box jumps, especially with a small box (which is all we as runners need!).
I hope to get to even a small box one day. It was such a great moment when I finally conquered them last year. I hope to be able to recapture that feeling again.
Kimberly Hatting says
You didn’t mention burpees….does that mean you LOVE them? 😉 I used to hate push-ups, for all the reasons you mentioned. I had gotten into a routine of doing 10 daily push-ups (since April), and then my stress fractured made an appearance. I can do the push-ups with shoes on, but barefoot #NoCanDo. I have been doing some of these on my knees now. The good thing is I can get a better range of motion and I can do a lot more reps 😉
I tolerate burpees. Not right now – jumping is kind of off the table right now. I am a little bitter about the nerve pain and lack of strength in my toes, which makes its hard to use them for anything useful 🙁
Beckett @ Birchwood Pie says
I love this post!
-pushups, hate ’em but I do ’em
-bearcrawls etc, never do ’em because I don’t feel like they do anything for me
-boxjumps, should do ’em, at least I do step ups regularly
-v-ups, hate ’em, never do them
-planks, do ’em but only for 30 seconds
Beckett @ Birchwood Pie recently posted…Weekly Eats: the Return of the Sofritas Bowl
LOL! I appreciate the honesty. It’s hard to do those things you hate.
Aside from planks, I hate all the strength exercises you do!! My worst are box jumps followed by push-ups! But one of my goals before turning 40 is to do 40 push ups (no knees allowed). I got to about 26 but that was a couple of months ago and I haven’t done any since! So I need to get back to it! A trick I have with bear crawls is to do them with my kids. They find it hilarious and for some reason it helps me to get it done!
I was so proud when I could finally do a box jump! And now, it’s back to the drawing board. Sigh.
I think my bear crawl problem is my legs. I have zero torso and all legs. It makes it difficult to do things bent over like that.
I loathe v-ups, but that’s because I can’t do them. One of my yoga instructors once said that if you hate a pose, it means you need to do it more. So here I go…
I CAN do them, and my form is fine, but my body rejects them. I find that frustrating, but they’re not worth the pain afterwards.I think it’s because my legs are so long. It shifts my centenaries of balance and the pressure goes to the wrong places.
That’s interesting what you write about planks. Of course they do work your arms, but most of the effort should be in your core.
I personally find that it’s actually much easier or your hands than on your forearms — which seems counter intuitive to me, but there ya go.I would say try doing them on your knees — you’re going to be strengthening your core that way. When you can hold it a minute — 2 tops — consistently, you might try it with straight legs & see if your core is strong enough, otherwise drop back down. I know, I know, you didn’t actually ask about that, sorry!
V ups are definitely an advanced move– there are so many other ways to work your core, if you really don’t like it, I’d move on to something else!
The core is useless too, lol!
I prefer low planks (especially when I have to go on my knees). However, I still can’t hold a lot of weight on my right toes. There is some nerve damage and lack of strength there that has been hard to overcome 🙁
V-ups SUCK. The worst part is that I CAN do them, but my tailbone and lower back hurt so badly after I’m done that they lose all benefit. I can hold a boat pose forever, so it’s frustrating.
Lol, I love the photos. I think my most hated move is burpees, so I just never do them. I actually like pushups and planks but right now I’d have to get a little stronger to be good at them.
I don’t love burpees either, but they have more movement to them, so I tolerate them.
Kim G says
I love push ups and burpees but I always struggle with bear crawls. It looks like such a simple move but it’s so hard!