The One Training Modality That Guarantees To Improve Your Athletic Performance!
The general consensus with amateur athletes is that more running, cycling and swimming you do the better you will be i.e. if you increase the mileage you’ll get better. Well, this is only true up to a point - what about other training modalities?
It is well documented that Strength Training benefits all athletes, whether they be recreational or competitive. Why is this? Strength Training, when done correctly, will benefit the athlete hugely because it:
- keeps the body’s strength balanced – targeted areas of personal weakness
- increases 'robustness' (i.e. reduces the risk of injuries, both chronic and acute)
- makes you a more efficient runner, swimmer or cyclist
- converts Type II (fast twitch) fibres into more fatigue-resistant Type I (slow twitch) fibres
Strength Training has no adverse effect on aerobic capacity either!
Here are a number of specific elements that strength training can do for you:
- Increases lactate threshold
- Increases bone mineral density
- Increases joint stability
- Increases in neuromuscular efficiency
- Decreases overuse injuries
- Increases strength of your core muscles, legs and arms
When there are strength imbalances present this will cause joint dysfunctions which in turn affect your whole body’s movement patterns. This will most definitely start manifesting in your running technique. When you start upping that mileage, those imbalances start causing an injury in some form, whether it is a hamstring strain, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, back pain, or in some cases, shoulder pain!
What we do at Peak Performance is assess your body’s strength and movement competency whilst looking for any imbalances (see Figure 1 & 2). Once these have been identified they can be rectified on an individual basis, so you get a strength & conditioning programme that is specific to you and your imbalances. This is when Strength Training will really be of benefit – you become more efficient, your joints are loaded correctly, your muscles activate and ‘fire’ correctly. The big kicker is your performance will be enhanced!
We find that athletes tend to be under-performing because of these imbalances and poor training modalities.
By looking at your basic movement patterns, we can apply our knowledge of functional anatomy to see what is working & what isn't working so well. There are 1000s of articles available on how to be a better runner, discussing a type of shoe, or a particular running gait style, but the simple matter of fact is that if you have any imbalances in a static, low impact capacity, then no external ‘gadget’ or ‘gimmick’ is going to resolve these problems. To be an effective sports person, you have to look internally first...
"...look at your personal imbalances and weak spots and build yourself up as an individual before you build yourself up as a runner."
Figure 1 – Differing take off mechanics with emphasis on ankle, knee, and hip alignment as well as pelvic position.
Figure 2 – Differing landing mechanics with emphasis on ankle, knee, and hip alignment as well as pelvic position.
Strength training is applicable to both competitive runners and people who enjoy running recreationally or are doing it as part of a fitter, healthier lifestyle. What we find often happens is that people will start running and a few months down the line they will start getting niggles here and there, until eventually running becomes too painful and then they stop. This is so easily avoidable. By finding out your personal imbalances, and rectifying them via appropriate coaching and strength training they can continue to run without any problems. A bonus is that by adding some strength training into their regime they create more muscle fibres which need more fuel. So in theory, by keeping your diet stable and sufficient, adding strength training as well as aerobic training (running), maintaining a healthy ‘weight’ will become more easily achievable.
For competitive runners you get the above benefits, as well as building your muscles capacity to generate more ‘horse power’ so you start getting faster & more efficient over distances (as well as shorted distances. This will improve your performance optimally.
...in order to become a much more efficient runner, Strength Training is a must!