Posts tagged "Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells"

How to Get Faster at Running by Training with the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

When I first started running the question I had in my head all the time was, “How to Get Faster at Running?”  I thought I had been doing everything right.  My mileage was steadily increasing over the weeks as I built up to my half-marathon race at that time.  But it was not getting that much faster. It wasn’t until I purchased a set of Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells and started to build strength workouts into my running program.

Why Strength Helps Us Run Faster

Do you think that strength workouts will be of no benefit to you as a runner?  If you are like most people then I bet you do.  However, building whole body strength has a couple of huge benefits, including helping you run faster.

Consider this quote from Runner’s World:

“Running faster is easier if your whole body is working with you,” says Jim Fischer, head coach of men’s cross-country and track at the University of Delaware. “A runner with strong legs but weak arm muscles and weak core muscles will always be slower than a runner with total-body fitness.”

It stands to reason that a stronger body will work better and actually allow us to have quicker leg turnover and more efficient and powerful whole-body movement which can only lead to faster running time.  So, if the question is, “How to Get Faster at Running?”, the part of the answer needs to be building strength.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

That is where the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells come in to play.

Strength, Not Size

Before I talk more about these dumbbells and my program, I want to emphasize that we are talking about building strength, and not necessarily size.  As a runner you don’t want to get bulky as the extra weight will slow you down.  As such, you don’t need to be doing huge olympic lifts in your strength training. Instead you are going to focus on basic movements with heavy weights for lower reps that will add strength but not  size.

Why Adjustable Dumbbells

I workout at home a lot.  As a busy professional I don’t have a lot of time to be going to the gym in addition to logging the miles I need to depending on the race I am working towards.

That is where adjustable dumbbells come in.  These dumbbells pack up to 52.5 pounds in each dumbbell (there are obviously two) which saves a lot of space.  Basically, you simply turn a dial to select the weight you want and pull the weight up.  Only the weight you choose comes out of the base.  It is actually pretty cool.

How to Improve Your Running Time with Dumbbells

The key to workout with adjustable dumbbells in reference to improving running performance is to lift real

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Breakout View of SelectTech System

heavy.  You want to be able to stimulate your muscles to get stronger and the best way to do that is to slowly build up the weight you lift over time.

You also want to focus on around 5 to 8 reps, meaning that by the end of those 5 to 8 reps you cannot possibly do another rep with good form.  Do this a couple of times a week and add additional weight once those 5 to 8 reps are getting too easy and you will get stronger.

Summary: For each dumbbell exercise, do 3 sets of 5 to 8 reps max.

That being said, you don’t need to fully take my word for how good these are nor how to workout with them.  You can see other people’s suggestions for how to use the dumbbells by reading the product reviews over at

Which Exercises to Do

Here are the best exercises that runners can to to get faster at running:

  • Straight Leg Deadlift

  • Lunges

  • Squats

  • Dumbbell Rows

  • Bench Press

  • Lateral Dumbbell Raise

  • Calf Raise


So to sum up, I would recommend that any runner build in a strength component in to their running program.  This will both reduce risk of injury and also help you to run faster.  Stronger is better!

I purchased my set of adjustable dumbbells at Amazon as they were way cheaper than any store in my city or any other online retailer. Check out the current prices, and overall positive reviews, by going over to Amazon now.

7 comments - What do you think?
Posted by The Running Guy - January 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Categories: Improve Your Running   Tags: ,