Strength Training for Endurance Goals
It’s well documented that gym training can enhance endurance performance, both in terms of going faster and remaining healthy.
The problem is that most of us who enjoy endurance training come into the gym and do… more endurance training. You don’t need more of the same.
This is not the time for Body Pump, Spin classes and circuit training, it’s time for some strength training.
If you’re stronger you’ll go further, faster. You’ll also be less likely to get injured.
I get that if you like endurance training you enjoy constantly moving and getting a sweat on – you haven’t had a good session other wise, right? – but that’s not the point here. We need some quality, not more quantity. That’s how we get better.
So what should we be doing?
Different people have different starting points, strength, weaknesses, constitutions, injury history and so on, so it’s impossible to be definitive but some things apply to most, most of the time.
Get stronger in the main full body lifts.
We don’t need high reps here (we don’t want to add size, we want strength), we want lower reps with challenging weights. Three to six reps is where I personally work for these, for perhaps three to six sets.
I suggest you that don’t do this on the same day as your endurance block.
Note: There will be days when you don’t feel like going heavy, don’t.
Do some pre-habilitation (rather than rehabilitation), corrective and core training. Think single leg training, mid/lower back work and some focus on the abdominals.
I personally think it’s a mistake to neglect any upper body training so I also regularly include chin up (low reps, weighted) and push up variations.
I also do a lot of hip (glutes) and hamstring training which I think is hugely important, it’s keeps my knees healthy. My go to exercises here are hip bridge variations, Romanian deadlifts, reverse hypers and glute/ham raises.
Do these after the main lifts, and go for higher reps, for say three to four sets.
Oh, and don’t forget your mobility and soft tissue work.
How often should I be doing it?
It’s important to listen to you body, but twice a week is typically enough. Keep the sessions short and targeted.
Remember, the idea here is not to trash the system, it’s about making it stronger and maintaining structural balance.
What might a strength training workout look like?
Monday’s session for me was a bodyweight warm up/mobility work into:
- A1. Barbell Reverse Lunges 5 x 5ea
- A2. Shoulder/Thoracic Mobility Drills (in rest period)
- B1. Glute/Ham Raise 4 x 8-12
- B2. Ring Push Ups 4 x 8-12
- B3. AB Wheel Roll Outs 3 x 25
Note: This is not a suggested programme for anyone but me.
If you’re not currently strength training alongside your endurance training give it a go, you’ll very likely see your performance and structural health improve.
Strength Training Tips
Q: Can strength training improve my endurance performance in running, cycling, or other sports?
Strength training can help improve endurance performance in running, cycling, and other endurance sports by increasing muscular endurance, improving running or cycling economy, reducing the risk of injury, and enhancing overall performance.
Q: What type of strength training should I do for endurance training?
The best type of strength training for endurance training is high-repetition, low-to-moderate weight training that targets the muscles used during your specific endurance sport. Exercises such as lunges, squats, deadlifts, and core exercises can be practical.
Q: How often should I strength train during endurance training?
Strength training is recommended 2-3 times per week during endurance training. However, doing just what is necessary is essential, as too much strength training can interfere with your endurance performance.
Q: When should I do my strength training workouts?
It’s best to schedule strength training workouts when you’re not doing your main endurance workout or when you have a shorter or easier endurance workout designed. Alternatively, you can schedule strength training workouts after your endurance workout, but give yourself enough recovery time before your next hard workout.
Q: How long should my strength training workouts be?
Strength training workouts should last about 30-60 minutes. It’s essential to focus on high-quality movements and avoid overtraining.
Q: Should I lift heavy weights or use lighter weights with higher repetitions?
For endurance training, it’s recommended to use lighter weights with higher repetitions. This will help increase muscular endurance and reduce the risk of injury.
Q: Can strength training replace endurance workouts in my training plan?
No, strength training should be used as a complementary workout to the main endurance workouts in your training plan. Endurance training should still be the main focus of your training plan.
Q: How long before an endurance event should I stop strength training?
It’s recommended to stop strength training 2-3 weeks before an endurance event to allow your body to recover and fully prepare for the event. However, this can vary depending on your training plan and individual needs.
If you have any questions on the above or would like some advice on how we could help you with your fitness goal, don’t hesitate, visit our personal training gym in North Kensington and try one of fitness training classes.
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