Monthly Archives: November 2014

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Resistance Training for Endurance Athletes!

Dave Brown, NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

iStock_000012456861MediumAre you a runner, cyclist, mountain biker or tri-athlete looking for an edge and interested in injury prevention? Have you avoided resistance training because you were afraid you would increase body weight, be too sore to train or it could reduce performance? There is a growing body of evidence and research that shows the benefits of resistance training for endurance athletes. Now that we are entering the off/lower volume season, it is the perfect time to introduce resistance training into your regimen.

Injury Prevention – As endurance athletes we have one of the highest rates of muscle imbalances because our sports move us in one direction; forward. Additionally, endurance sports are highly repetitive causing the same muscles to be worked over and over while some muscles work very little. This sets up improper length-tension relationships in the muscle. Translation: increased injury rates; IT band syndrome, low back pain, knee problems, hamstring pulls.

By incorporating a well designed resistance training program and injury prevention techniques, an athlete’s compensatory movement patterns can be overcome. Additionally, if an athlete is stronger there is less wear and tear on the joints.

Better Performance – In a review of research related to resistance training and running economy, an increase of up to 8.1% was shown (J Strength Cond Res 22(6): 2036-2044, 2008). Better running economy equals less muscle involvement, lower heart rates and better times all without the need to increase VO2.

If you’re a stronger and more efficient athlete, you’ll have better power transfer and use less muscle to perform the same tasks. On a smaller scale if you develop stronger core musculature, especially along the posterior portion of the body, you’ll have better control over spinal stabilization resulting in less low and mid-back pain and fatigue.

The Complete Athlete – When developing a resistance training program for athletes, we train movements not muscles. We break down the movements involved in sport and incorporate the principle of specificity so the athlete has the most optimal strength/power transfer. There is a balance between too much and the right amount of specificity therefore we incorporate a functional training approach to develop the complete athlete; strengthen what’s weak, optimize sports specific movements and create an efficient well oiled movement machine.

Don’t Stop – Once you start resistance training, don’t stop! To see the best results you should continue both concurrently. If you stop all gains will be lost.

I’m an avid runner, cyclist and mountain biker and have used these principles in my own training. With winter approaching, now is the best time to integrate a resistance program. Doing it now will set you up perfectly for when training kicks off in earnest this coming spring. It will also help keep the pounds off over the winter.

Give Dave a call at (303) 816-1426 to learn how we can develop a resistance training program to take your endurance performance to the next level.