5 Reasons You’re Not Getting Stronger

Squats are better than seated leg press because you're standing up — nobody runs sitting down. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Your Intensity Is Too Low

When referring to strength training, it’s common to refer to the intensity of an exercise as a percentage of the maximum load you can lift. Your maximum strength for a particular exercise is referred to your one repetition maximum or 1RM for short. Therefore, if you can squat with 100 pounds on your back for only one repetition, your 1RM for the back squat would be 100 pounds.

In order to develop your overall strength, it’s recommended that you perform exercises in the 3-5-repetition range. This corresponds to working with loads greater than 85 percent of your 1RM. Therefore, going back to our 100-pound back squat example, in order to build leg and hip strength you would have to perform sets of 3-5-repetitions with roughly 85 pounds.

RELATED: Monday Minute: Front Squat

A review paper in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports concluded that heavy-resistance strength training enhanced long-term (greater than 30-minutes) and short-term (less than 15-minutes) endurance capacity in top-level endurance athletes.

Take Home Message
Remove the bodybuilder physique from your mind. Lifting heavy weights while doing the correct exercises will not add unwanted muscle bulk to your body. Rather, heavy strength training will improve your overall strength and likely improve your race performance.

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