Running is a high-impact sport, which means it requires that both feet leave the ground at the same time. These types of movements consist of a higher intensity and bone- strengthening benefits, BUT have a higher risk of injury. According to The Department of Health Science, 37% - 56% of runners receive a running related injury per year. (1) About 50% - 75% of these injuries are OVERUSE injuries. (1) Running HURTS!
A runner does NOT need to be in pain or injured all the time in order to be considered a “great runner”. Adding a strength-training program into standard training will prevent many overuse injuries and strengthen important tendons, ligaments and muscles that running alone may leave out. No Pain, No Gain? FALSE
“Comfort” is not a word typically associated with running, BUT as most young distance runners will confess, they’ve barely stepped foot into a weight room. Runners need to be introduced to the benefits that weight-lifting can offer their performance, on and off the track. In 1999, a study conducted at The KIHU-Research Institute for Olympic Sports found that runner’s who participated in explosive-weight training for 9-weeks, saw a 3.1% decrease in their 5k times, as well as an 8% increase in their running economy. (2) A 3.1% decrease in a 5k is HUGE. A 3.1% decrease in a 20:00 minute 5k would be a 37 second reduction; giving a new 5k time of 19:23 !! Get Out of the “Comfort” Zone.
You can become a healthier, faster, more efficient runner.. and of course, you’ll be STRONGER. Let’s get stronger! In the next few slides, I’ll show you how. Faster Times; Stronger Athletes
These movements will get you stronger legs, while also strengthening the lower-back and core muscles: Squats Front Squats Pause Squats Jump Squats Deadlifts Good-Mornings These movements will support your form while running; especially when going up/down hills, or when that natural response to bend-over hits you during a tiring run. Lower Body
Squats! Squatting will improve basic athletic skills that most runners lack, like: balance, proper posture, and engaging “posterior chain” (3). The “posterior chain” is a group of muscles in the lower region; primarily the lower-back, glutes, hamstrings and calves (4). Runners tend to neglect these critical muscles, while focusing on the anterior; such as the quads.
Don’t be fooled, these aren’t normal squats and they will engage your core more than any crunch or plank workout. Front Squats emphasize the quads and core, while being less intense on the knees. This movement will also improve flexibility; it forces you to recruit all muscles to remain in proper form and to complete the lift. Meaning: Runners with knee problems should be very interested right now, as well as high-injury prone athletes! Front Squats!
Pause Squats will be performed like a standard squat, but at the bottom of the movement you will hold the position for 2-3 seconds before exploding up. Jump Squats will also be performed like a standard squat, except without weight and at the top of the movement you will jump as high as you can and land without breaking form. These squat-variations will give runners that “burst” of energy they need to find at the end of a race when they need to kick that last 2oo meters. These movements will also enforce a raw Power that runners tend to neglect, but will be happy they have it during hill workouts. Pause Squats & Jump Squats
Deadlifting is one of the largest compound exercises there is and it’s one of the most functional. Performing deadlifts will work almost every muscle in your body either directly, or indirectly. Deadlifts will support a runner’s goal of: Strength Power Speed Endurance Deadlifting!
While deadlifting will recruit a load of muscle fibers and has a ton of benefits, it’s easy to mess up on form. The goal is to engage your core, upper-back and lower-back to keep your back straight and prevent injury. Good form here will transfer over into good form while running and make your body much less prone to injury. The quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves will ALL be necessary in order to perform this right! Hmm, that sounds familiar; Glutes Hamstrings Calves Back REMEMBER THE It’s All About Form POSTERIOR CHAIN!!
This movement will blow up those hamstrings and engage the lower-back in a way you never thought of. If there’s a movement strictly for climbing up hills faster or keeping form while running on rough terrain, this is it. This movement will also strengthen the tendons and ligaments behind the knee; extremely beneficial to prevent injury! Good-Mornings!
As a runner, your legs are already strong, but they can be stronger and far more efficient. The 6 exercises: Squats Front Squats Pause Squats Jump Squats Deadlifts Good-Mornings These exercises will challenge you in a way different from running, but you’ll be very happy with the success they give you as a runner. Legs of Steel! Success
These movements will strengthen your core and in-turn help improve form and utilization of your arms. (try running without your arms and see how far you get) Bench Press Shoulder Press Bent-over Barbell Rows Push Ups Pull Ups These exercises will tie together any missing ends that you need as an athlete to be successful in injury-prevention and performance. Upper Body
As a runner you would think, “why would I ever need to bench? My chest isn’t even working during a run.” FALSE. When you’re running you’re pumping your arms back and forth, using your chest and shoulders. The stronger you are in those areas, the less effort you’ll need to pump those arms, which in turn get your legs moving for that finishing kick. Bench Press! Dumbbell Standard
Much like the bench press, this exercise will make pumping your arms feel effortless and like second nature. This also will help maintain slouching when fatigue sets in! Shoulder Press! Barbell Press Dumbbell Press
Remember that feeling the Good-Mornings and Deadlifts gave you? This exercise will: force you to keep your lower-back engaged recruit core stabilizer muscles strengthen the Latissimus dorsi, which will assist in utilizing the arms Bent-over Barbell Rows!
The most basic and most simple exercise to perform; this movement will wrap up every other movements potential. Push Ups work: the core glutes lower-back shoulders chest Push Ups! Wow, that’s a lot of muscles!
One of the dreaded and seemingly “hardest” upper body exercises there is; the pull up. This exercise offers amazing core stability, will assist in all other upper body functions, and will support muscular endurance. Here’s a perfect example of how to perform a pull up: How To Do A Pull Up Pull Ups!
This sport of running, as a whole, is a lot of work. As a runner, you put in the mileage and effort every day to be successful. You will dedicate your time to improving, so let’s improve! Lower-body and upper-body strength training will: support your training as a runner enhance your performance make you less prone to injury more athletic in a well-rounded aspect Dedicated To The Dedicated WERUNNINING
(1) Sports Med Nov;14(5): (2) Paavolainen, L.; Häkkinen, K.; Hämäläinen, I.; Nummela, A.; Rusko, H., Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power. Journal of Applied Physiology 1999, 86, (3) Helming, Nate. "Better Squatting For Better Running - Competitor.com." Competitorcom. N.p., 4 Feb Web. 26 Sept (4) Nickelston, Perry. Dynamic Chiropractic. Vol. 29. Ser. 15. The Posterior Chain: It's All in the Hips. 15 July Web. 26 Sept Works Cited