Whether you are a sprinter, middle distance, or long distance runner, a properly executed strength training program will be the key to improving your running times.
If you’re a runner, you MUST strength train correctly. Running for distance, being aerobic in nature, will begin to break down good muscle tissue. You need a strength training program that will keep the muscle you have, and ultimately to build more muscle, that will carry over to faster running times.Here are some tips to help you develop a strength training program exclusively for runners.
Emphasize Your Running Muscles
You should train all of your muscles thoroughly in any strength training program. The body works as a unit. Never neglect body parts, or favor other body parts simply because you like to train them. Give all of your muscles attention, but emphasize the ones that pertain to your sport the most. The running muscles, in order of importance are: Buttocks, Thighs, Calves, Shoulders, Chest, Back and Arms. When you design a full-body workout for running, try to work the muscles in this same order.
Hindu Squats – quite a difficult exercise to describe. Best viewed on youtube to get a clear idea of the movement. Fantastic for lower body strength, flexibility and endurance. What all runners need. Go for 50 – 100 repetitions,
Wall Chair – with this exercise simply stand with your back flat aginst the wall, and slide down until you knees form a 90 degree angle, as though squatting down to sit on a chair. Builds will power, strength and stamina. Aim for 2 minutes,
Back Bridge – lie flat on the floor on your back, bring your hands behind your head and arch up, so that only your feet and hands remain on the floor. This exercise develops strength and flexibility throughout the spine and is absolutely phenomenal in terms of aligning your body and making your back supple and pain free,
A focused period of heavier weight training can pay big dividends by increasing muscular strength as well as improving neuromuscular firing patterns. Does that mean there is no place for a light weight and high reps strength training program? We use a light weight/high rep strength training period in the initial phase of weight training to prepare the body for the heavy loads we will demand of it later. We also need to ensure that there is sufficient connective tissue strength, core stability and body balance. A few functional strength tests can detect any specific weaknesses or areas that may need additional focus. For example, we may perform an overhead squat assessment and determine that you have extremely tight calves (while squatting your heels rose and your feet flattened or your toes turned outward).
If you choose not to take this advice you can look forward to making friends with the excess body fat as it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. This will also leave you more exposed to the risk of serious disease in the future.
It will require a bit more patience as you will may see “scale” weight increase a little before it starts to drop slowly. It is not about the scale weight though it is about your body composition and this will be monitored by your Fitness Professional.
The end result is what is important and that will be a permanent change for the better in your health. You will be able to eat more and have more energy as well as losing body fat instead of a screwed up metabolism that gets worse with age and each successive diet failure.