Thursday, August 9, 2012

Endurance Swole! Weights are for everybody!

A lot of you guys out there on Team SideMeat are endurance atheletes. You run long distance, cycle, swim, and even do triathalons. Some of you have asked what is my opinion on strength training with weights for endurance athletes. My answer is that you should definitely incorporate strength training into your training regiment. 

Weight training and increased muscular strength has several benefits for endurance athletes such as:

-Increase of efficiency (more powerful push offs, distance per stroke, ect)
-Greater resistance to injury
-improvement in coordination which can also help improve movement patterns

Most guys think that lifting will make them bulky. There are quite a few items that effect bulk such as genetics, diet, and overall training regime. With the amount of calories burned by most higher level endurance athletes a large amount if bulk rarely occurs. Also, majority, but definitely not all, endurance athletes are ectomorphic body types which is not conducive for gaining a large amount of bulk.

Another item to consider is that most endurance athletes train totally wrong in the gym. They use lots of reps and small rest periods to work on cardio and avoid bulk. Riddle me this Batman: If you are doing cardiovascular training outside the weight room why would you turn your weight training sessions into cardio sessions as well? Answer? YOU SHOULDN'T! Once you have developed a base and some muscular endurance your rep range should tail towards the strength and power range which, depending on who you ask, is between 1 and 10 repetitions. Now, periodizing your training and mixing numbers of reps is important as well as weightlifting muscular endurance needs to be maintained for the purpose of maximizing capability during your strength and power sessions. 

Finally, when you design a program, if it is for you sport and not general fitness, ensure you use exercises that are going to improve your primary movers but this also can be use as an opportunity to help correct imbalances in the body, some of which may be cause by your sport! Ensure you avoid overtraining and try to base the number of sessions in the gym each week with amount of endurance training you are doing. You could have anywhere from 2 to 4 sessions per week depending on how much tim you actually spend training for your sport. 

There are a million other factors we can discuss here. The purpose of this is to give my endurance guys a base for stepping up their weight training regiments. I have had one of my wrestlers whose primary sport is cross country lifting 3 to 4 times a week all summer with the occasional day off to down load. His last timed 5k was 13:45. When I asked him about his distance running training now he told me his sprint at the end of his runs is now longer and faster than ever before with no drop off in his pace on the rest of his run from before he started training. I wonder what he will run next time......



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