Should runners do strength training or should they just run more? What one is going to give the greatest gain in performance and injury prevention? Strength training for runners has always been a bit controversial as some coaches argue that it not worth it and the runner is better of using the time to run more miles.
The evidence and anecdotal experience is, yes, endurance runners will benefit from a strength training program in addition to racking up the miles on the road. This has been shown to improve performance and may also help prevent overuse injury. This may be even more important for older runners who muscles strength declines quite rapidly after the age of 50 years.
What exercises should runners do?
There is plenty of detail and advice available elsewhere as to what exercises runners should do, but they should primarily focus on:
the calf muscles with calf raises
the quadriceps with leg extensions, squats and lunges
the hip abductors with an elastic band around the ankles
the core with planks
These would be the main ones. There is no harm in including upper body and arm exercise in to develop an all round fitness, but increased strength there is probably not going to be related to increased running performance or injury prevention.
The research done to date on the impacts of weight training on cyclists has brought blended outcomes. The research done by Ben Hurley at the University of Maryland had 10 healthy men use up stamina training (bench presses, hip flexions, knee extensions, knee flexions, press-ups, leg presses, lat pulldowns, arm swirls, identical squats, as well as bent-knee sit-ups) for 12 weeks, while eight other healthy men worked as controls. After 12 weeks, the strength-trained men boosted their endurance while biking at an intensity of 75 percent V02max by 33 percent as well as additionally lifted lactate threshold (the solitary finest forecaster of endurance efficiency) by 12 percent.
Nonetheless, these guys were untrained prior to the research and also did not perform normal biking exercises throughout the research, so the applicability of these searchings for to severe athletes is suspicious
The study carried out by R. C. Hickson and his associates at the College of Illinois at Chicago was significantly much more sensible. Because investigation, 8 experienced bicyclists included three days per week of strength training to their regular endurance regimens over a 10-week duration. The stamina training was unbelievably basic, focusing on identical squats (five sets of five representatives per workout), knee expansions (3 sets of five representatives), knee flexions (3 x 5), as well as toe elevates (3 x 25), all with rather hefty resistance. The only development utilized in the program entailed the quantity of resistance, which raised gradually as toughness boosted.
However, the toughness training had a profoundly positive impact on biking performance. After 10 weeks, the bicyclists improved their ‘temporary endurance’ (their capacity to continue working at a really high strength) by around 11 per cent, and they also expanded the amount of time they can pedal at a strength of 80% V02max from 71 to 85 minutes, about a 20-per cent upgrade.
On the adverse side, we have study, executed by James Home and also his colleagues at the College of Cape Community in South Africa, seven endurance bicyclists who averaged about 200 kilometers of biking per week included 3 stamina training sessions into their regular regimen. The stamina program was fairly unsophisticated, consisting of 3 collections of approximately 8 repetitions of hamstring curls, leg presses, and also quadriceps extensions using rather hefty resistance.
After 6 weeks, the strength training had actually created rather excellent gains in strength (the gains balanced a bit more than 20 per cent). Nevertheless, real cycling efficiencies were not boosted; as a matter of fact, they were even worse than prior to the strength training was carried out! 40-K race times reduced from 59 to 62 mins, and also the strength-trained bicyclists complained of feeling ‘hefty’ as well as tired during their exercises.
Why did Hickson’s research study uncover clear benefits connected with stamina training for bicyclists, while Home’s job disclosed the reverse?
No person knows for certain, which implies it’s time for a personal observation. It appears fairly most likely that the stamina training accomplished by Hickson’s costs enhanced exhaustion resistance in their muscular tissues, allowing them to continue longer both during high-intensity marathons and also extended efforts at a submaximal (80% V02max) intensity. Meanwhile, it’s likely that Home’s additional toughness training sent his professional athletes right into the overtrained – or at least ‘stagnant’ – state. The sensations of fatigue which came from shortly after the start of strength training recommends that the professional athletes were simply doing excessive job.
Residence’s bikers were averaging 124 miles of regular riding when they started their stamina training, while Hickson’s athletes were logging significantly fewer miles, so one may be attracted to suggest that strength training can generate significant benefits for low-mileage bikers yet does a lot less for skilled, higher gas mileage rivals that have actually currently accumulated considerable toughness just by riding. That definitely would not be an unreasonable thought, but it does not explain why stamina training per se would actually reduce endurance performances, as it appeared to do for Residence’s entertainers (nothing else study has shown this). It seems highly likely that Residence’s added stamina training was just the straw that damaged the camel’s back; it wasn’t the toughness training which slowed the bicyclists yet the overall amount of job they had to complete.
One more issue that was not kept controlled in the researches was nourishment and also supplements which additionally would certainly have a significant effect. It is my individual feeling after three decades in the physical training globe that weight training is useful in mostly all sporting activities when done appropriately as well as paired with the proper nutrition.