Introduction to strength training

Strength training has been an often overlooked supplement to runners’ 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 building strength.


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 Runners focus on?

General strength, absolute strength, strength endurance, power and elastic (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 in order to develop a strong foundation to which you can build true strength. Once you have developed the foundations of movement and control, you should utilize full body movements that challenge the muscles needed to support and enhance running.



These are key fundamental movements that we teach all our runners:

  1. Breath Control & Core Activation

  2. Gluteal Activation

A comprehensive strength training program evolves from mastery of core control and gluteal activation. You don’t need to learn these fundamentals, but just as with most shortcuts in learning you will not fully optimize your potential without building a strong base.