A big reason that runners and athletes alike don't maintain the gains they make with rehab is that they don't do the strengthening needed to maintain those gains. If your body does not feel safe in a position, it will not allow you to go into that position.
Let’s talk about why you should pick things up and put them down.
Here are the BIG reasons (besides good mobility) why you should incorporate strength training into any runner training plans or rehab:
- #1 thing you can do to reduce risk of running injuries
- #1 thing you can do to prevent tendonitis
- #1 thing you can do to maintain mobility as runners age
- #1 thing you can do to reduce bone density loss as runners age
Strength training has also been shown to increase aerobic capacity, increase maximal speed, and shift our metabolism to more fat burning (a sign of good cellular health).
OKAY, so now that you understand the benefits of weight training, where do you start with your runners and athletes?
Here are some recommendations to share with your clients:
- To learn a movement, pick a weight that you feel you can lift for 8-10 reps with PROPER form.
- Once you have more experience with a movement, gradually progress to a weight that is heavy enough that you feel like you need to stop after 4-6 reps.
- Lifting light weight or body weight for high reps is not effective in building muscle strength.
- To progress: add a heavier weight to your last set or go one-sided (single leg squat, one arm press, etc)
Clinicians: still feel a little hesitant about adding heavy strength training into your treatment and training plan? We get it! Be sure to keep an eye out for our next Live Skills Lab Weekend. You’ll practice prescribing and monitoring strength training along with gait analysis and retraining, the Runner Readiness Assessment, and Loading Levels.
Runners: still feel a little hesitant about adding heavy strength training into your training plan? We get it! Check out our RunDNA Plan Builder to get started with some simple strength training regimens.
This blog published in conjunction with Dr. Brianne Scott Co-Owner of Omega Project Physical Therapy, and RunDNA Resident Certified Running Gait Analyst