Power and speed are critical components to success in the endurance world yet many programs completely ignore them. – much to the detriment of the athlete. With careful planning, a quality strength and conditioning program will increase these two mainstays of performance while decreasing recovery time, reducing injury, promoting preservation of lean tissue and creating a more sustainable performance curve.
Nobody, regardless of the sport, has ever regretted becoming more fit…
How can weightlifting actually benefit my running or cycling?
- Stronger legs mean less effort per step, pedal and stroke.
- Stronger midline (core) means better power transfer and stability during training and competition.
- Stronger upper body means better support and posture as the event grinds on.
The traditional belief in endurance training is that the more you run, the more efficient you will become. Studies show that running economy will be improved more through anaerobic training than endurance training (Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power. J Appl Physiol. 1999 May;86(5):1527-33.).
Running, cycling, rowing, etc. are wonderful activities. They get us out into nature, our heart pumping and our lungs churning. Few can argue the benefits there. However, the downside is that they all share fixed patterns of movement.
Any fixed pattern of movement repeated for many hours, day after day, week after week will potentially lead to muscular imbalances and overuse injuries.
The solution is simple – balance these patterns out with a mix of corrective exercises that target your current level of fitness and build as you adapt to them. A quality strength and conditioning program will blend traditional strength movements with mobility to counter the demands of your sport and the grind of daily life. This will also help Reduce the risk of injury while increasing performance at the same time.
How can I spot a good program?
Any lifting program worth it’s salt will utilize barbells, dumbbells and bodyweight to build your strength and stamina. The coach (or coaches) should instruct you on all the proper movement patterns, safety issues and be able to offer a wide variety of progressions and substitutions for any of the four key movement patterns. – upper body pushing and pulling and lower body pushing and pulling.
A good program will run 1-2 days a week, always include a whole body warm-up of some sort as well as some cool down and recovery work.
Be wary of any program that tries to get you to lift too long. Hormone levels tend to drop rapidly after 40 mins of intense exercise so any hard work after that and you’re probably spinning your wheels and not in a good way.
If you have any questions about this article or our Offseason Strength for Long Distance Athletes please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com