Lung-busting Workout

Model: Elaine Lo // Sportswear: Asics

You will find benches at any park in the world and some of the best workouts can be done on these benches, especially if you’re a trail runner who needs that big forward and lifting motion. It can be a lung-busting workout too. The increase in power and strength is tremendous. Try doing all the workouts here after your run or by itself on non-running days as it can be demanding.

Bench Step Up, Bench Jump, Hamstrings Bridge On Bench And Abs On Bench

Choose a lower bench for starters and make sure you are confident of the jump especially the both leg jumps. The bench step may seem easy in the beginning but as you progress it gets harder and also for safety, make sure your knee is at 90 degrees when you step up. Hamstrings bridge targets the hamstrings directly. As most people have weak hamstring muscle, let’s go easy at the beginning. You may try single leg jump after your muscle is stronger. The abs on bench is a little advance movement and may strain your lower back if it’s weak. Stop immediately if you feel uncomfortable.


Lower body workout has always been emphasized by fitness trainers and weight loss programs due to the fact that leg muscles are huge in areas and the increase in muscle mass improves the metabolism for overall fitness, health and weight lose too.


Be it on a trail or road running, glutes activation is important. The biomechanics and stabilizers of running comes from the glutes/buttocks, the powerhouse of lifting yourself up on an uphill trail run comes from these muscles.

Medical Clearance/advice

Regardless of age, you should get doctors clearance before embarking on the exercises shown here, especially if you are smoker, have generic heart problems, high blood pressure or any serious injuries in the past or present.
Chances of minor injuries and minor muscle pulls are possible from any form of exercises and extra care should be taken to understand the exercise shown here with proper warm up. At any time if you are not sure of the exercises, please write to

How To Start

If you have never done any strength training before, after the first session, you may feel very sore but that is normal and it should subside in a few days. Take it really easy on your first attempt and gradually increase the intensity by adding more repetitions every other week.

Rule Of Thumb

  • Intensity: Always use the RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion) from 1-10, one being the easiest and 10 being the hardest. On your first few sessions always keep the scale at 5-7 and then progress to 8 or max gradually as you get stronger. Focus on 8-12 repetitions (reps) to fatigue of 3 sets per exercise for general fitness and after a few weeks, increase to 15-25 reps to fatigue to train on muscular endurance for running benefit.
  • Frequency: Twice a week will be a good start with some days of rest in between strength training days and after a few weeks you may do three sessions a week with a day of rest in between days
  • Caution: Stay away from strength training 2-3 days of your key races so that your muscles are not sore and fresh for the race and focus on stretching instead.
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