Bronco Billy’s Tough 21 Strength Routine

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Special thanks to Altra Running for their support to make these videos available

Since turning 40 almost seven years ago, Jeff Browning has reacquainted himself with strength training. As a professional ultrarunner, he attributes his recent success to his “Tough 21” routine that helps him handle the volume and stress of 100-milers. After winning three of the five 100-mile races he completed in 2018, he’s dialed in his routine to include a short, concise and full-body workout that requires a minimal time commitment during heavy training which can be done just about anywhere.

Below you’ll find a comprehensive, step-by-step video of Jeff’s routine demonstrated by none other than Bronco Billy himself, that’s easy for anyone including first-timers to implement into their training. During big training blocks in summer months, Jeff incorporates this workout 1-2 times per week. In the off-season months, he’ll add an extra session or two.

Tough 21

7 exercises x 3 sets

Perform each exercise for 50 seconds, giving yourself 10 seconds to switch to the next exercise.

Military Pushups with Heel Raises

  • Keep elbows in
  • Hands shoulder-width apart
  • Squeeze glutes
  • Keep glutes engaged the entire time

Dumbbell Squat with Twist Curl Press

  • Start light if new to weights
  • Engage core and glutes
  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Point toes straight ahead
  • Don’t arch your back

Bicycle Twists

  • Crunch position
  • Head up and hands on the sides of your head
  • Opposite elbow to knee
  • Count and breathe

Single Dumbbell Alternating Lunges with Overhead Tricep Press

  • Squeezing glutes keeps back from arching during lunges

Hollow Rock Toe Raises

  • Keep feet and arms 6 inches off the ground

Dumbbell Wide Squat with Side Fly Press

  • Engage glutes and core to protect back
  • Control weights

Squat Jumps

  • Point toes/feet straight ahead
  • Hand out and butt back to 90 degrees

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About Author

Amy Clark is a freelance writer and runner living in Bend, Oregon. In addition to running marathons and ultra marathons, she has parasailed in Baja, snowboarded in Big Sky and fought wildfires for the U.S. Forest Service. A native of Oregon, Amy is working on her first extreme adventure novel while living (and running) in Bend.

12 Comments

  1. Which weight dumbbell should a medium build man start with?

    For reference, what is the weight Jeff is using?

    • Jeff Browning on

      Ben, start light (i.e., 5# or 10#), get used to the movements so you can engage core and glutes, etc. easily and then go up in weight. I started light and slowly moved up. I now use 20# or 25#. But will go back light if it’s post-race for a workout or two.

      -Bronco

  2. Good stuff. It looks like you can do a lot of these while traveling, too (i.e., using just bodyweight, no dumbbells). Whatever Jeff’s doing we should all be doing. The guy looks like he’s 25 years old. A great runner and amazingly fit.

  3. robert halpenny on

    This looks like the same studio that Jay Dicharry used to demonstrate for his great book Running Rewired. I learned about RR by reading Tia Bodington’s review in Ultra Running Magazine. I’ve passed the book on to a couple of young guns with achilles tendonitis. They were both religious in following exercises that Jay recommends, and both quickly turned it around. Is there a connection between Jeff and Jay? Great information that every runner needs. Great videos by Jeff. Thank you.

  4. I love that there are so many compound movements. Seems like a great “bang for the buck” kind of workout that won’t keep me in the gym too long or is too complicated. Thanks!

  5. Marius Kieck on

    Hi there. This is great stuff, thanks! Is this the only strength he does, no heavy lifting as many people prescribe these day? And is it also the only core he does?

  6. Very nice training for runners !! especially the up body movement , I think it solve my tighten neck and shoulders after serious run . Mix with stretch & massage it would be great idea to let muscles back to ready.
    strongly recommend

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