The birds are chirping and the sun is shining down as I go on my first outdoor run. It feels so good after being cooped up all winter long on the treadmill/spin bike. Although I cannot wait to be outdoors and free from the confines of the gym, I know that I need to be diligent with my strength training or I will regret it in a couple weeks. Do you ever go out for a bike ride and feel your neck tense up or your back start to hurt? When you run do you have hip/knee pain? When you swim do you feel unable to keep your hips afloat? If you answered yes or maybe to any of these you need to STRENGTH TRAIN!
I have 10 weeks until my triathlon. How am I going to fit in tri training and strength training at the same time? Well that’s an easy answer: I will have to double up on some days. It can be done! Strength training for any endurance athlete is crucial not only in the off season but also during the lead up to an event.
The main reason strength training is so crucial is to improve a person’s core and hip strength. Most endurance athletes are moving in a linear movement pattern. You are only using a fraction of your muscles during your workouts.
Other reasons to strength train include:
- Strength training will not only increase your power output, but will decrease your chance of becoming injured.
- If you can increase your max effort in resistance training it can decrease your effort in every stroke, push, and stride. This makes you a more efficient runner/biker/swimmer. Those who are untrained will experience increased VO2 max as a result of resistance training.
- Another benefit from resistance training is it increases your lean muscles mass, resting metabolic rate and energy expenditure during exercise as well as at rest.
- Resistance training can increase your flexibility and mobility along with a consistent stretching routine.
Aerobic training and resistance training together will show improvement in neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, endocrine, and cardiovascular function which in return contributes to enhanced muscle strength, power, hypertrophy, muscular endurance and motor performance which all increase athletic performance. Your program choice and level will determine how successful you are when looking for results.
The most important thing to remember as you are enjoying the beautiful weather is that resistance training will increase your performance levels whether you are preparing for a race, working on a personal record, or just going out and being active. If you are unsure about resistance training or if you are hesitant to try it, ask a personal trainer and they can help you along your journey.