You Focus On Muscle Isolation, Not Full Body Integration
Since the growth of weight lifting and bodybuilding in the early 1900s, several traditions have stood the test of time and are still readily applied today. You’ll notice from reading magazines, fitness websites and blogs there is a lot of conflicting information and the “best method” of training.
One of the most common recommendations when starting a strength training program is to start with machines. They’re supposedly easy to use, safe on your joints and basically fool proof. You’ll be able to “feel the burn” which gives immediate feedback saying you’re probably performing the exercise correctly. However, not all exercises are created equal.
Training for muscle isolation like a bodybuilder does has little to no transfer to improving your running economy or race performance because you don’t run by only contracting one muscle at a time. Your body works as an integrated system and you definitely don’t run sitting down (as most exercise machines place you in the seated position).
To make the most of your time and effort in the gym, you must chose exercises that challenge your muscles to work in synergy. Having squats, deadlifts and single leg exercises as your go-to strength exercises will ensure you’re making the most out of your program. The basic strength exercises have been around for years as go-to exercises for all athletes, of any sport because they work. They might not be fancy, but they get the job done.
Take Home Message
Train your muscles with full body exercises and minimal machines. Learn how to lunge, squat and deadlift and you’ll be ahead of most runners in your quest for strength and faster racing times.
Aagaard, P. & Andersen, J.L. (2010). Effects of strength training on endurance capacity in top-level endurance athletes. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 20(Suppl. 2), 39-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01197.x
Behm, D. G., Drinkwater, E.J., Willardson, J.M., & Cowley, P.M. (2010). The use of instability to train the core musculature. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 35, 91-108.
About The Author:
Jon-Erik Kawamoto, CSCS, CEP is a runner, strength coach and personal trainer in St. John’s, NL, Canada. Jon specializes in strength training runners and is currently in the middle of preparing a strength training resource for runners. Stay in touch by checking out www.JKConditioning.com.