The other day we had a new athlete make a shocking statement to us. He said, “Do you know you are the only endurance coaches in town that believe in strength training?” He was drawn to this fact as someone who knew the benefits of strength. It is shocking to us because strength training has tons of research backing it up. More so, it is done regularly by the best athletes in the world. Here is why Endorphin Fitness coaches don’t compromise on strength training:
Total Muscle Development – It is never good to only work one set of muscles. The forward repetitive nature of endurance sports often cause imbalances in the rest of the body that sets you up for diminishing performance and potential injury. Our primary working muscles when running are supported by smaller muscles that are vital to the primary muscles though many of us are not putting them into the game.
Injury Prevention – With imbalances comes injuries. Strength training keeps us in balance by developing the weaker muscles that are not called into play regularly through endurance training.
Proprioception & Coordination – The greatest limiter to perfecting technique and reaching your potential is coordination. The greatest limiter to coordination is proprioception (your sense of what your body is doing). For example, coach tells you to enter your hand in front of your shoulder on the swim which you think you are doing but in reality you are crossing severely. Strength training connects the muscles to the mind allowing you to train more effectively.
Muscle Activation – Muscles go dormant. They are there, but you might not be using them. Strength training teaches you to wake up and call your muscles into action. This is why we often use a light form of strength training before workouts to call specific muscles into play.
Performance – If you want to reach your best performance, you need strength training for all the reasons above and more. The infamous Mark Allen states that strength training can allow you to cut your endurance training volume up to 25% while improving performance. Especially for the aging athlete, strength training is crucial for slowing down the aging process and maintaining performance.
There are many levels of degrees of how individuals should incorporate strength training into their program and this changes throughout the season, but every endurance athlete should be doing some form of strength training. If you are ready to learn more, read EF Strength Coach Andrew Callihan’s recent blog post on building a successful strength program at the link below and then reach out to him to get started:
Be More. Live Red.
EF Founder & Head Coach