Weight Training for Runners

Running efficiently requires a fit body. It not only helps avoid injuries but also increases the muscle power. As runners do a lot of repetitive training, certain muscles in their body become overdeveloped, while certain muscles remain underdeveloped. This increases the chances of injuries. However, strength training can help maintain the muscle balance and prevent such injuries. Also, fatigue in the upper body that can decrease the running efficiency can be reduced by weight training, which in turn would increase one’s stamina. The lower body, which contains the lower abs, thighs, and the calf muscles, must also be strengthened in order to run fast. According to some studies, it is not necessary for runners to lift heavy weights as seen in bodybuilding. Instead, lifting light weights and performing resistance training can improve the muscle endurance to a great extent.

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Runners and Weight Training

Weight training for upper body and the lower body is necessary to increase the efficiency of running. There are different workouts that can strengthen different parts of the body.

For Legs

These exercise regimens are very important for runners, as these prevent injuries of joints, especially the knees and the ankles. In addition, there are certain muscles which get overused (like quadriceps), and some that remain underused (like the hamstring muscles) while running; strength training develops all these muscles equally. Strength training exercises for legs include calf raises, lunges, curls, leg press, dead lifts, and squats.

For Upper Body

For running on hilly courses, one must have a strong body. Also, to maintain good balance while running, the upper body muscles must be toned. For this, strength training for arms and shoulders can prove beneficial. Dumbbell and barbell exercises such as curls, pull ups, chin ups, bench press, rowing, and military presses, may also prove helpful. Apart from the exercises for arms and chest, ab exercises are equally important, as they help provide stability. In some athletes, running can cause lower back pain, which can be reduced by abdominal exercises. Abdominal exercises such as crunches, sit ups, and leg raises can also be included in the training program for runners. Running sessions, along with these exercises are necessary to increase the speed of the athlete.

Benefits

The various benefits include:

  • Increase in the speed and efficiency of running
  • Increase in the number of calories burnt per day
  • Increase in the stamina and reduced exhaustion level, which helps the athlete perform consistently
  • Reduced risk of injuries to knees, hips, and other joints

A good workout is necessary along with the running session. However, it is advisable to consult your trainer for the appropriate weight training exercises, which can help you in the ‘long run’.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.