The sun’s weaning out after a long winter in Calgary. If you’re like me, you’re itching to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Running, cycling, and swimming are all great aerobic activities that are beneficial for a healthy heart and body. However, your should be considering endurance strength training as a major component of your fitness regimen. For avid runners, cyclists, and swimmers, strength training has a critical role in performance and in keeping your body healthy. Here are five reasons you must consider if endurance strength training is something you’re considering during these summer months;
1. Correct Imbalance from Repeated Movements
Endurance athletes spend an extended period of time performing the same movement. Runners for example typically have stronger calves and overly-developed quadriceps. But are disproportionately weak in their gluteal and shin muscles. Cyclists also have strong quadriceps, but weaker hamstrings and hip stabilizing muscles. These imbalances between muscle groups lead to poor movement quality, which means we actually perform poorly at our endurance activities and other day-to-day tasks.
Raise your hand if you’ve trained harder to improve, but can’t seem to get the results you want. This is simply because of asymmetrical development. Because of this development, the surrounding muscle groups overcompensate and make up for our weaknesses. This furthers the strength imbalance and reinforces poor movement patterns, which often leads to pain and injury down the road. This is where endurance strength training can have a tremendous role in improving your performance. Doing exercises to strengthen the less-worked muscle groups can keep you on track to perform your best throughout the summer. If you want to learn more check out our blog on Running Correctly!
2. Prevent Injury
Reducing the muscular imbalances via endurance strength training not only helps with performance but it also reduces injuries. Endurance strength training can also play a key role in maintaining bone density, which is especially important for the non-weight bearing activities like cycling and swimming. Weight-bearing activities place stress (force) on the bone to remodel it and stimulate bone mineralization (meaning greater bone density). Performing a variety of weight training exercises places stress on your skeletal structure in various directions. A well-developed bone structure prevents osteopenia. Maintaining bone density is critical as we age to keep us strong and able to continue to do the activities we enjoy.
3. Improve Running Economy
Closely linked to performance, improving your running economy can help you increase your mileage and decrease run times. Running economy is the efficiency at which your body performs and is measured in energy costs. Efficient runners expend less energy while they run, which ultimately means you can sustain the effort for a longer period of time. You can also maintain a faster pace because you’re not working as hard. Endurance strength training helps by increasing the stored elastic energy in your connective tissue, improving neuromuscular coordination, and increasing the size of your heart muscle. All of these factors can cause you to be more efficient, which will allow you to run longer and feel more energetic.
4. Increased Resting Metabolic Rate – RMR
A higher resting metabolic rate means you’ll be burning more calories throughout the day. With added muscle the body needs to spend more energy. So as an added bonus you’ll burn more calories throughout the day. This may allow you to have a little more freedom and flexibility when it comes to your diet (not so strict, still great results)!
These adaptations are just as beneficial for the athlete and the recreational runner! Injury prevention is no joke, staying strong and mobile is paramount to performing well, staying injury free, having fun, and ultimately getting the results that you want. Try to commit to 2-3 strength and mobility focused workouts a week alongside your endurance training to see the benefits explained above. If you need help on where to start don’t hesitate to schedule a 10-minute phone consultation or fill out the form below! We are happy to provide advice to help you perform at your best.