Strength Training For Runners, Cyclists and Triathletes.
Also referred to as weight training, endurance training, or even lifting, involves performing certain exercises under some form of resistance in order to build muscle strength, power, size, or endurance.
Strength training improves form, biomechanics, and stride, increasing stability in the core and supporting muscles. Improving upper-body strength also improves running efficiency. Lifting these types of weights helps to increase your overall body stability, which is vital to endurance athletes. For one, stronger leg muscles can provide more force during a run stride or pedal stroke, and strengthening your connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) makes you less injury-prone.
In general, endurance athletes who lift weights have better form and are less injury-prone, as their bodies are stronger. Specifically in runners, studies have found that when strength training is added to their training there is 2-4 percent less energy and oxygen, improving performance on the time trial from 2-to-5 percent.
While studies showing improved running economy used weights with conventional lifting, or sports-specific movements, plyometrics, heavy lifting, can be helpful for improving muscular strength as well. Research has shown that strength training, whether using heavy weights (e.g., 3-5 sets of 3-6 repetitions with a >=85% 1-rep max) (5,6,9) or plyometric exercises (14,15,17), may increase running economy and endurance by increasing muscle force production. There are many effective bodyweight exercises that can be performed for power development.
As a bonus, there are a lot of power-building exercises you can do without any equipment. Whether you have access to an entire weight room, or are doing a bodyweight training session in the living room, there are tons of awesome power workouts for runners that can help you crush PRs, or simply make running a whole lot easier.
Adding tempo runs, longer runs, and speed work to your training routines will help you improve your speed and efficiency, but strength training is often the piece that takes runners to the next level. Mix in some specific run-specific strength work to build the strength, agility, and explosiveness needed to tackle tough hill intervals and speed work. When your race training is planned to incorporate phases of overall strength like running-specific strength, hill training, and explosive work, your running conditioning will maximize. With regular strength training, runners balance and stability can improve, leading to more fluid, injury-free running.
As you gain core strength, for instance, you will be able to keep more of an upright posture, even during the last miles of the race. While some may fear weights will add too much muscular mass, which can hinder your stride, training to bulk up is far harder than you might imagine.
Check out Endurance Fit App for specific strength training workouts for Runners, Cyclists and Triathletes periodized for your season.