Strength training has been an often overlooked supplement to runners’ and walkers’ training program. The benefits of strength training include resisting injury, improving speed, and improving running efficiency. Contrary to what many people think, endurance athletes cannot just rely on body-weight exercises for their strength training. To help you understand what strength training actually entails read below to learn the basics of this topic.

What is Strength training?

There are five different types of strength training:

  1. General strength - the ability to move against the resistance of your own body weight; no external resistance is utilized. Example) body weight squat

  2. Absolute strength - the ability to create a great amount of force; serves as a basis for all other types of strength; characterized by high resistance exercise movements. Example) squat with kettle bells

  3. Power - the ability to produce force quickly; movements need to be produced against resistance at a high rate of speed. Example) squat jump

  4. Elastic strength - the ability to create force using the stretch reflex ability of muscles and tendons. Example) hurdle jumps

  5. Strength endurance - the ability to sustain force production and/or control posture; characterized by either performing high repetitions or extended stabilization. Example) plank

which type of strength training should i focus on?

General strength, absolute strength, strength endurance, power (for more advanced athletes)

General parameters for strength training

General strength: 10-15 reps, 30-60 seconds rest; 2 - 3 times/week (in-season/off-season)

Absolute strength: 3-10 reps, 1-5 minutes rest; 1-2 times/week (in-season); 2 - 3 times/week (off-season)

Strength endurance: 15-20 reps or 10-120 second hold, 10-30 seconds rest; 3-10 sets

What type of exercises should I perform?

Anytime you start up a strength program—whether you’re experienced or not—you need to ensure that you have control and mastery of the fundamentals of movement and postural control in order to develop a strong foundation to which you can build true strength. Once you have developed the foundations of movement and control, we utilize full body movements that challenge the muscles needed to support and enhance running/walking.

See our strength training library to learn the fundamentals and introductory workouts that you can perform at home. When you are ready to learn and experience more workouts, consider working with one of our strength coaches to develop a program that is customized for you.