Race Walking Training

Upper Body Exercises

The bench press is not usually part of a traditional race walk workout, but I include it here to balance out those exercises that develop the back. As long as you avoid the temptation to lift large amounts of weight and bulk up, it provides a fine complement to my strength-training program.

Executing a proper bench press takes a little more focus than needed for many of our other exercises. As you do with all lifts, always make sure you control the weight throughout all movements. Begin with a light weight when first undertaking the press. Then, after you feel comfortable with the exercise, increase the weight.


  1. A good grip is key, so avoid laziness and use all your fingers and your thumb.  The tighter the grip, the better your control over the bar.
  2. Position your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with the bar positioned in the middle of your chest.
  3. When lifting the weight, you can hold your arms at an angle between 45 degrees and 90 degrees to your body.  I recommend holding it at 90 degrees.  The closer your arms get to a 90-degree angle, the more you develop your chest muscles.  While holding your arms at a 45-degree angle from your body allows you to lift more weight, you gain much less from the exercise.
  4. As you execute this lift, remember to exhale as you raise the weight and inhale as you lower it.
  5. Make sure you do not lock your elbows as you extend your arms upwards.

Options:If you do not have access to a machine, use a set of dumbbells to achieve the same workout.

Race walkers have no reason to determine their maximum bench press. Maxing out is risky; why take the chance? Do not arch your back as you lift the weight.

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