Home > Training

At-home strength training: weighted backpack exercises for runners

Fill a backpack with some heavy objects and get to work with the latest at-home strength routine from Jon-Erik Kawamoto

glute bridge

Jon Erik-Kawamoto is back once again to help Canadian Running readers get the most out of their strength training. Kawamoto is a strength and conditioning specialist from St. John’s, N.L., where he owns a gym, JKConditioning. He understands that many Canadians still don’t have access to gyms and exercise facilities, so he’s continuing to produce at-home workouts with minimal equipment so everyone can get active. For this routine, all you need is a backpack. Yep, you read that correctly — this strength workout requires you to fill up a backpack so it weighs anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds. Once your bag’s filled up, you’ll be ready to tackle these six exercises from Kawamoto. 

While a backpack will work well, Kawamoto notes that you can use a fitness sandbag for these exercises, too. Since most runners probably don’t own a sandbag, though, the backpack route is a great option. In addition to writing an article on this routine (which can be found in the latest print issue of Canadian Running), Kawamoto produced a short video in which he introduces each exercise, walking viewers through the various moves. 

RELATED: At-home exercise: pre-run foot strength routine

Kawamoto has six exercises listed, and they’re sectioned into three pairs. In total, he says this workout should be around half an hour long, which may sound like a lot to runners who don’t like strength work, but it’s definitely worth it. As Kawamoto has said in previous videos and articles, strength training is so important for runners, as it not only makes you stronger, but it will help with injury prevention. You might not look forward to 30 minutes of strength training, but it’s a small price to pay to avoid getting injured. 

The exercises included in this routine include variations of lunges, planks, bridges, deadlifts and more, and they all incorporate the backpack, which will make each move a bit more difficult. Be sure to grab a copy of the May/June issue of Canadian Running (which is on newsstands now) or to check out the video posted above to see how Kawamoto performs each exercise and to ensure that you’re completing each move properly. 

Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc, CSCS, CEP, is a strength and conditioning coach, a regular contributor to Canadian Running and co-owner of JKConditioning, a personal training, nutrition and run coaching company in St. John’s, Nfld. Find out more at JKConditioning.com

RELATED: At-home strength training: resistance band workout for runners

Check out the latest buyer's guide:

Top 10 shoes our testers are loving this April

We tested tons of great shoes this year, but only the very best make the list