For those of you who love endurance training, be it running, swimming, cycling, or rowing, Strength training can be a bit of a sticky subject. There is often the fear of “getting bulky”, losing endurance or even getting injured because it’s “dangerous”.
However, practiced correctly and added into you training programme sensibly, Strength training can have many advantages. These include:
- Decreased injury rate (everyone would love less time injured!)
- Improved power output – to aid efficiency or economy (such as getting you up that next big hill).
- Better core stability
- Increased tolerance to harder training – helping you past those pesky plateaus!
Strength training can have these anatomical and physiological effects:
- Increased core stability by engaging key deep muscles thus making complex movements such as swimming more efficient.
- Improve muscle elasticity making the amount of energy required to make each step less and less. This is very important for running economy.
- Strength training can add muscle strength without size. This is due to: A) improved strength coming from nerves not muscles and B) muscles becoming more densely packed with contracting fibres not ‘pumped up’ like in bodybuilding.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, improved postural strength will improve mechanics making movements more efficient. This reduces the risk of injury when doing the very repetitive movements of endurance training.
Strength training works for all levels of endurance athletes from those just starting out to those pounding out the miles and competing in long distance endurance events. Simply put, the benefits of strength training are huge.
Ask any of our advisors for general advice on how to improve your running, swimming, cycling, rowing or even general fitness with regular strength training. We also have advisors specialising in strength training for sports and performance, as well as general conditioning for long distance endurance events.
Train smart. Train safe. Train hard. - Coach James Warren MSc CSCS.