It has been a goal of mine to raise awareness about the benefits of strength training for runners as a personal trainer but also as someone who has witnessed the benefits first hand when I completed my first half marathon 2 years ago.
When it comes to competitive athletes who incorporate consistent strength training, runners are still living in the stone ages.
They haven’t quite dabbled in the world of strength training because of the common misconceptions that it is going to slow you down and add bulk.
There are many benefits to adding strength training when you are a runner. When you start to incorporate strength training you will notice that your running efficiency improves, your posture stays upright instead of collapsing as you get tired, you become less fatigued, your risk of injury decreases, running will feel easier, your metabolism increases and you will be able to run faster rather than slower.
Without boring you too much with the exercise physiology … when you put on more lean muscle tissue it actually allows you to exert more force in order to help you run faster and puts less pressure on your joints as it strengthens your bones.
The first order of business when I asses a runner is that I look at their posture.
Typical bad posture is the head is jutted forward, shoulders are slumped forward and your pelvis tilts forward rather than a perfectly upright position to run more efficiently.
By taking a look at their posture, it allows me to see what we need to work on together in order to achieve their goal of running more efficiently and faster.
There are three main things in order to change your running posture which increases:
- your flexibility or mobility with regular stretching or by incorporating a yoga class every week.
- your shoulder stability.
- your back strength, core stability, as well as strengthening your glutes and hamstrings with lower body exercises to correct for the pelvis tilting forward.
You may even need to go and work with a physical therapist first before we start strengthening your muscles. If your goal is to run faster then we definitely need to be putting on lean muscle tissue without putting on mass which can be done, so no bulking here!
Click the exercise links below to see a demonstration video (YouTube).
Common Upper Body Exercises
Common Lower Body Exercises
The type of strength training program that you complete is dependent on your weaknesses and current fitness level. If you would like to be put on a strength training program I would suggest that you meet with a trainer in order to establish your current goals, do a fitness assessment, and see what your current issues are so that they can help you correct for them. They can also help you to understand why you are doing the exercises that they prescribe to know that it will only help you rather than hurt you to achieve your running goals this year.
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