Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

Strength Training Perth is an often-overlooked part of a runner’s training program.  There is so much supporting research on the positive effects of heavy resistance training for endurance athletes, that many coaches consider it to be necessary in order to maximize your potential as a runner rather than just a cross-training option.  

 Strength Training and Running Performance 

The performance benefits of strength training for runners are well documented. When strength training is added to endurance training, there are larger improvements in running economy (a measure of energy utilization while running).  Running efficiency is not the only thing that can improve as a result of resistance training.  The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at the effects of long-term (40 weeks) strength training in competitive distance runners.  It found that not only did they have improved strength and running economy, but they also had significant improvements in speed at VO2max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise), with no significant changes in body composition compared to runners not performing regular strength training.

 Strength Training and Injury Risk Reduction 

Endurance athletes Perth have an injury incidence between 11-85% or 2.5-38 injuries per 1,000 hours of running.  In order to avoid injury, runners have two realistic options: stick to moderate training loads or work to gradually increase their capacity.  The best way to increase capacity is by a slow increase in running volume, allowing enough time for adaptation and/or by using resistance training. Strength training not only allows us to have stronger muscles, but it also creates stronger bones, tendons, ligaments and joints that can help runners become more resilient to the impact forces of running. 

Strength Training and Running Program

The off-season or early weeks of a new training block are an ideal time to introduce a running strength training program Perth.  The optimal amount of exercise will vary person to person, but 2-3 strength training sessions per week for 6-14 weeks (the longer the better) has been found to be an effective starting point.  As running increases, for example in the lead up to a race, then 1-2 training sessions per week can be sufficient to maintain strength.  In order to effectively train for strength, the aim should be to lift heavy rather than light weights at high volumes.  While lifting light weights may be useful for endurance, runners already have good endurance, therefore in order to be the most efficient with your time it is best to focus on strength and power.  However, just like when you started running and needed to gradually build up your mileage, you also need to slowly build up your strength.  Compound exercises that involve multiple joints and muscle groups, such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges, should be the main focus of your training sessions.  This will allow you to most efficiently train your whole body, as well as get used to moving your weight in multiple directions while increasing strength and body awareness, which can lead to increased mobility, balance and speed.  Core and upper body training should also not be neglected, as this can improve running posture as well as arm swing while running, which can result in reduced energy expenditure, improved balance, and greater movement efficiency.  

How Trained Physio can help

Strength training Perth allows you to improve your body’s capacity to endure higher training and competitive loads as well as improve several markers of running performance.  With stronger muscles, connective tissues, joints and more resilience to fatigue, you can spend more time on the road doing what you love and less time dealing with injuries.  At Trained Physio Perth we treat all forms of running injuries, and is something we have a lot of passion for.  Not only do our Physio’s have an eye for diagnosing and treating running specific injuries, but we have a fully-equipped 24/7 gym to utilise for rehabilitation, injury prevention, and general strength & conditioning.

What you can expect from Trained Physio:

  1. Thorough assessment and treatment of your injury
  2. Comprehensive exercise rehab from the date of your injury, through to your return to full activity
  3. Assessment into why the injury occurred in the first place, and what can be done to keep you injury-free
  4. Manual therapy, dry needling and other treatment-specific techniques as needed
  5. Training modifications to keep you as active as possible whilst undergoing rehab (if necessary)
  6. Use of our fully equipped rehabilitation facility for exercise rehab

East Perth Trained Physio

East Perth Physio has several goals including promote healing, reduce pain, avoiding aggravation, optimising physical function and global strengthening to restore normal movement patterns.  To see how we can help you  BOOK ONLINE TODAY