Sweat365 » Strength Training For Endurance Sports
Many endurance athletes don’t include strength training as part of their routine. Runners think that to improve their running they just need to run a lot, cyclists need to ride a lot, etc. In recent years, athletes are starting to realize the benefits of adding strength training to their routines. Strength training will improve performance, improve body composition and prevent injuries.
As an endurance athlete you’ll want to make sure that you are improving muscular endurance without adding bulky muscle. You can do this by incorporating basic strength training exercises into your routine.
Examples of Exercises:
These exercises help strengthen your joints and work the major muscle groups. Stronger muscles take stress away from the joints making it easier to do your sport. Incorporating balance training and functional exercises will help prevent injuries by balancing muscular strength. Repetitive exercises such as running, cycling or swimming work the body in specific planes of motion. As a result some muscle groups are stronger than others. When the strength ratios aren’t optimal overuse injuries can be the result. “Functional exercises” focus on integrating movement patterns versus building strength in a specific muscle group.
Examples of Functional Exercises:
Lunging (Forwards, Backwards, Diagonally)
Squat To Shoulder Press With Dumbells
1 Leg Squats
2 Training Methods For Endurance Athletes
German scientists have utilized two different training methods with their athletes with great success, according to Nathaniel Mosher, ptonthenet.com. The extensive interval method and the intensive interval method each have a slightly different focus and endurance athletes will improve performance by using both methods.
The extensive interval method is used for athletes who need to acquire high endurance capacity in a given period of time. This method increases the athletes ability to resist fatigue. This is important for marathon runners. Weight training sessions should be performed cicuit style. That means you do one exercise, rest, move on to the next one until all exercises have been repeated. Repeat the circuit 3-6 times. Since you are training the entire body, you will have a greater increase of growth hormone and lactic acid production. Training with this method will help your body’s ability to remove lactic waste products during competition.
Extensive Interval Method Guidelines:
Resistance - 30-40% of max
Reps - 20-30 reps (sets last 60 seconds)
Sets - 3-6
Rest Interval - 60 seconds
Set Speed - Brisk with emphasis on exploding on the concentric (lift phase)
Rest Between Circuits - 3-5 minutes
The intensive interval method is effective at helping muscles resist fatigue during short term high intensity muscular endurance activities of medium to high intensity. This method utilizes both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. With this method it is more important to focus on time rather than repetitions.
Intensive Interval Method Guidelines:
Resistance - 50-60% of max
Reps - 20-45 seconds (30 seconds is optimal)
Sets - 3-6
Rest Interval - 10-30 seconds
Set Speed Explosive, focus on fast concentric (lift phase)
Rest Between Circuits - 1-3 minutes
For the best results periodize these methods. Extensive interval method should be used during your base phase as you are increasing your aerobic endurance. Intensive interval method should be utilized just prior to your competitive season. The intensive interval training will prepare athletes for the burst of power needed for racing.
Bompa, T. (1999). Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training. Human Kinetics: Champaign, IL.
Hartmann, J & Tunnemann, H. (1995). Fitness and Strength Training for All Sports: Theory, Methods, Programs. Sport Books Publisher: Toronto.
Kurz, T. (2001). Science of Sports Training. Island Pond, VT: Stadion.
Schmolinsky, G. (2000). Track and Field: The East German Textbook of Athletics. Sport Books Publisher: Toronto.
Verkhoshansky, Y. (1986). Fundamentals of Special Strength Training in Sport. Livonia, MI: Sportivny Press.