Strength training for runners: bodybuilding guide
Why is strength training recommended for runners?
Strength training is not synonymous with hypertrophy.
What I must say first is that many people tend to think that strength training invariably results in hypertrophy. Runners, therefore, believe that it is not advisable because this excessive development of the muscles will slow down their running and reduce their efficiency.
It is essential to clarify that this does not have to be the case. Think that for your muscles to grow noticeably, and you would have to train very intensely and lift a lot of weight. In addition, following a specific diet is necessary for this development. Also, keep in mind that you spend a lot of that energy that you could convert into muscle mass when running. For a runner who includes strength training in his routine, there is no risk that this will translate into hypertrophy.
You will notice that your muscles will be more defined, without increasing their volume too much, and more robust.
What are the benefits of strength training for distance or mountain runners?
Clarified this false belief, let’s see the benefits that strength training brings you. You have to think that working your muscles makes you have, in general, a better physical condition. In this way, you manage to reduce fatigue while running and, consequently, increase resistance. If you are constant, you will even get to increase the speed.
On the other hand, you have to consider the impact that running has on your joints, especially your knees and ankles. For this reason, you want your muscles to be strong, as they will resist better. In short, strength training for runners helps you avoid injuries.
When to do your strength training for runners? What areas to focus on?
Again, we emphasize that this strength training is not the focus of your sports routine but a complement to your main activity. A 20-minute workout three to five times a week will suffice. Decide the exact frequency based on how you feel and your time.
Likewise, you can carry out your training in the gym and at home. You will only need a few items like pull-up bars. In addition, there are several exercises for which you do not need any equipment, such as lunges or squats.
Lastly, let’s remind you not to neglect your upper body and core. You are expected to pay more attention to the legs and, in general, to the lower part since they are still your tools. However, you are trying to increase your overall muscular strength, so don’t forget about the rest. You don’t have to do very intense exercises or lift too much weight; it is simply about working all the parts of your body.
What exercises are recommended in your strength training for runners?
There are many exercises you can do to increase the strength of your muscles, but we are going to propose some simple ones. It will not cost you anything to do them with a bit of practice, and you will notice the result.
For your upper body, we recommend push-ups and pull-ups. You do not need much equipment, and you will notice the change. On the other hand, with the idea of working on the core of your body, we encourage you to try the planks. It is an isometric exercise; what you have to do is resist in one position. What do you get with this? Increase your resistance and, in this case, work the abdominal area.
A perfect exercise for runners is lunges or lunges for your lower body. They consist of taking a step with one of the legs and lowering the other knee until it forms a right angle. It is a complete exercise because you work various muscles such as the glutes, hamstrings, and trunk. You can also train your upper body if you keep your arms extended and add a little weight.
Also, for the lower body, we advise you to do squats. The advantage of this exercise is that you work several joints. These suffer a lot when you run, so it is convenient to strengthen them.
Strength training for trail runners
Finally, if you are looking for strength training for mountain runners, we will talk about exercises on slopes. They will increase your power on this type of terrain so that you will be more efficient in your races.
You also have to think that some regions of your body significantly impact the slopes, especially when going down them. We talk about knees and lower back, for example. By strengthening them, you get minor discomfort.