Endurance athletes can benefit from a properly designed and well executed strength program.
Endurance athletes spend so much time performing the same movement patterns over and over again. The imbalances that come up can lead to discrepancies between limbs, produce injuries, and can potentially hinder performance.
Runners tend to have strong quads and calves, but disproportional glutes and shin muscles. They often have dysfunctional hips, knees, and ankles. These imbalances lead to discrepancies between limbs, produce injuries, and can potentially hinder performance. Common areas for runners include dysfunctional hips, knees, and ankles.
In order to reduce the limiters,
Endurance Runners should prioritize multi-joint exercises (such as a squat), exercises capable of heavy loads (such as a deadlift), and exercises that focus on power development (such as a box jump). Stick to basic lifts for success.
Strength training has this positive effect by increasing the strength of individual muscle fibers—making each contraction more forceful and increasing fatigue resistance. It also improves neuromuscular co-ordination, increasing the speed and efficiency of muscular contractions.
Lower risk of falling
A well-programmed strength training routine will incorporate exercises that help improve your coordination and balance which can help prevent falls while you're out on your run or living your daily life.
Improved body composition
Strength training promotes the increase of lean muscle mass which gives your resting metabolic rate a boost. This means that you burn more calories overall, which can help with fat loss to keep you a lean, mean running machine.
Improves joint stability
Strengthening the muscles around your joints will help to keep the joints stable, strong, and in good alignment for optimal movement. Improves muscular strength, endurance, and power. Each of these elements is vital in running performance, and strength training can help you perform at your best.
Reduced risk of injury
Nearly 80% of running injuries are related to overuse (van der Warp et. al. 2015). By incorporating strength training that uses new movement patterns and corrects movement imbalances, you can decrease your risk of injury.
Research has also demonstrated that strength training can lead to neuromuscular improvements (Mikola et al., 2007). We also see an increase in the proportion of Type IIa muscle fibers (fast oxidative-glycolytic fibers—these have greater fatigue resistance than type IIb), while there’s a correlated reduction in the proportion of the less fatigue resistant Type IIb muscle fibers (Aagaard et al., 2011). A further adaptation is an increase in muscle cross-sectional area.
Importantly, these adaptations occur (in endurance athletes) without affecting body weight (Rønnestad et al., 2010a). And, perhaps surprisingly, through an increase in the proportion of energy from aerobic energy systems (Minahan and Wood 2008).
One major benefit of strength training is improved exercise efficiency. When we talk about improved efficiency, we are referring to a reduced energy cost of exercise (kj) or lower oxygen consumption (V02).
In one study researchers found that explosive strength training, comprising sprint training and jumping exercises (including bilateral countermovement, drop and hurdle jumps), significantly improved running economy by over 8% (Paavolainen et al., 1999b).
Strength training and the lactate threshold
Researchers have demonstrated that a combination of explosive and high resistance interval training improves exercise efficiency and the anaerobic threshold in a group of well-trained endurance athletes (Paton and Hopkins 2005).
It’s thought that the improvements in the lactate threshold occur because of a combination of improved exercise efficiency, enhanced muscle fiber-recruitment and an increase in the proportion of energy from aerobic metabolism.
Strength training has been proven to benefit endurance Runners and several other Endurance athletes . Research has found concurrent strength and endurance training increases the size and fatigue resistance of muscle-fibers, and increases the proportion of type IIa fibers, while decreasing the proportion of the less fatigue resistant type IIb fibers.
It significantly increases exercise efficiency, the speed or power output at the lactate threshold, fatigue resistance and endurance exercise performance.
There are four types of strength training that improve exercise performance:
a. Heavy resistance training,
b. Explosive strength training (plyometrics),
c. Core strength training and
d. Vibration plate training.
Of the four types, heavy resistance training and plyometric training appear to be the most effective.