Endurance athletes are creatures of habit. Most began training because they love the core discipline of their craft, therefore their workout routines are very much… routine. Their favored fitness pursuits include a long ride, breaking a sweat on a run or the solitude of a lap pool.
While these athletes can understand how strength training might help them excel at their craft, they may still be resistant to adding it to an already full and carefully crafted plan.
“I train enough and can’t find the time for more”
“Lifting weights just isn’t fun”
“I don’t even belong to a gym”
While the thoughts behind these objections are valid, the reality is that resistance training need not be expensive, hard or time consuming. More importantly, the upticks are profound with benefits that resonate through race day and beyond.
Benefit 1- Injury Prevention
Endurance athletes know that even when done with efficiency and care, repetitive motion can lead to significant injury risk. While proper form can help mitigate many of these risks, a strength program can also help. Because of this, physical therapists have incorporated strength programs as a means to treat and prevent injuries. By building ancillary muscle their patients can help to promote stability in their joints when under duress. This is not only applicable in a physical therapy setting, but also for endurance athletes who often experience loss of form from exhaustion while competing.
Benefit 2- Improved Range of Motion
For years weight training was synonymous with lunks so musclebound they couldn’t even put their arms all the way down to their sides. This is unfortunate because the reality of resistance training can be the polar opposite. By focusing on specific exercises with low weight and high reps, range of motion is actually increased by weight training. The result is improved motion patterns and even better form. By adding lean muscle, athletes can increase the efficiency of every stride or stroke. The sum of these tiny changes can lead to significant performance increases.
Benefit 3- Increased Force Production
To truly excel at athletic pursuits means building your body into an efficient machine that converts energy in power. While cardio training can be integral to overall fitness, load-bearing exercise takes power generation to the next level. By breaking down an athlete’s motion and focusing on very specific exercises to complement them, overall efficiency in generating power can grow. The result is more power for less effort.
Benefit 4- Improved Body Composition
By incorporating weight training you not only complement your overall fitness goals you fundamentally change your body. You’ll increase your metabolism, decrease the impact of every heel strike and even streamline your aerodynamics on a bike. Changes to body composition not only help you as an athlete, they enhance your life. Perhaps the greatest impact to strength training can be summed up in three words. Look. Great. Naked.
The Bottom Line
Resistance training offers significant enhancements to an endurance athlete’s performance. Even longtime competitors can see significant changes by incorporating a modest weight training plan. If you are serious about performance and have yet to incorporate strength training, our coaches would love to help you find a plan that works for you. Getting started need not require extensive equipment, a gym membership or a significant time commitment but it will improve your outcomes. Contact us today to get started today.