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Why should runners add strength training?

by lara pakar

Running is probably the main focus of your training, whether you are a competitive athlete or simply enjoy running for exercise and enjoyment. What if I told that adding strength-training to your training routine would help you improve running technique, reduce your risk of injury and increase your speed?
It’s easy to add strength training into your training program.

The Benefits of Strength Training

Resistance training is not just for gym rats and bodybuilders. Strength training has many health benefits, including improved blood glucose, lowered blood-pressure, stronger bones and a decreased risk of chronic diseases (Winett & Carpinelli, 2002). Strength training has many benefits, but here are a few that are specific to running:
Reduced risk of falling. Strength training can improve coordination and balance, which will help you avoid falling while running or going about your day.
Body composition improved. Strength training increases lean muscle mass, which boosts your metabolic rate at rest. You will burn more calories, and this can aid in fat loss.
Overall movement is improved. Strength training combined with flexibility training can strengthen muscles that are underactive to improve movement. It is important for runners to do this to avoid injuries due to faulty movements and to improve their running time. The NASM Corrective Exercise Specialization can be a valuable tool for fitness professionals looking to improve their skills.
Improves joint stability. By strengthening the muscles surrounding your joints, you can keep them strong and stable for optimal movement.
Strength training improves muscular endurance, strength and power. Strength training is essential for running performance.

Reducing the risk of injury

Overuse is responsible for 80% of all running injuries (van der Warp, et. al. 2015). You can reduce your risk of injury by incorporating strength-training that incorporates new movement patterns, and corrects movement inequalities.


According to the current U.S. guidelines for physical activity, two days per week should be dedicated to full-body strength training. Research shows that two 15-minute sessions of strength training per week is enough to reap the benefits.
Strength training is not difficult to incorporate into a training program, but you should plan it carefully. The NASM OPT ™ model makes it easy to plan a structured program of strength training to help you achieve your goals efficiently and safely.
To achieve the best results, runners must first complete Phase 1: Stabilization endurance for 4-6 week, then move on to Phase 2 Strength endurance for 4-6weeks, and finally Phase 5 Power for 2-4weeks. This progression will allow you to correct muscle imbalances and improve your overall movement. It will also increase muscular power and strength. Click here for more information about the OPT(tm).

When Should You Train

When choosing the timing, you should consider a few things: training for an event. If you’re preparing for a competition, you should lower your intensity in your strength-training program the closer your event is.

Days of the week

It is important to train at least twice a week, for 15-20 minutes. Look at your running schedule. It’s important to take complete rest days following long runs if you are training for longer races, such as a half-marathon or marathon. You can do strength training on the same day that you run a shorter distance, as long as the intensity is low and you don’t lift to exhaustion.

Consider Recovery Time

Pay attention to your body’s recovery after strength training and adjust the intensity or rest period as necessary. Do not push yourself too hard if you don’t need to.

What Should You Train?

Basic human movement patterns. Incorporate the following movements into your weekly routine: squats, lunges, rotations, hinges, and rotations. Include movements where you step sideways, such as a side-lunge, to develop planes of movement that are different than running. You’ll be able to create a program that is well-rounded and will help you prevent injuries while running.

Full Body Sessions

First, you can program your workouts by including two full-body sessions each week. The most efficient way to use your time is to do circuits. You can move from one exercise to another with very little or no rest.

Upper/Lower split

A second option is to train your upper body on one day, and then the lower body on the next. You could, for example, train your upper body a few days after your long run while you are still recovering. Then, two days later, train your lower body so that your legs can rest.
As your body adapts, you can gradually increase your running mileage. Strength training works the same. You can reduce the risk of injury by starting with Phase 1 and working your way up.


You might have wondered whether strength training would slow you down, or if it would cause you to gain weight. It’s possible for you to lift weights and not gain bulk. Lifting weights a few days a weeks, following the above recommendations is unlikely to result in excessive muscle mass. A consistent resistance program will make you faster and leaner.


Strength training is a vital part of any runner’s regimen. Strength training has many benefits for your health, but it also helps you improve your running speed, reduce your injury risk, and improve your technique. Strength training is a great way to improve your running.
The NASM Strength and Conditioning Bundle is perfect for personal trainers with clients who are looking to achieve their performance goals. It includes everything you need to help them reach that potential. The bundle includes Certified Sports Nutrition Certification as well as the Corrective Exercise Specialization and Performance Enhancement Specialization.

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