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5 Common Mistakes with Strength Training




To maximize the results of your running, no matter what your objective for running is (lose weight, improved health, competitive runner, etc.), it is absolutely crucial to incorporate some distance running specific strength training.  If done the right way, strength training has many benefits for runners, including increasing running speed, improving running economy, improved body composition, and lowering the likelihood of injury.  However, oftentimes runners incorporate strength training incorrectly, making it so they are not able to experience the benefits that they potentially could through strength training.  The following are 5 common mistakes that runners make with their strength training.

#1 – Doing the exact same workout time after time after time, without progressively overloading the body by increasing reps and/or weight with the exercises you perform, and without any variation in the actual exercises you perform is a big mistake.  Without progressive overload, and without some variation in your workouts, your body will quickly plateau, and you will see minimal results.  You should always be looking to challenge yourself from one workout to the next by either doing more reps or more weight than you did the previous workout.

#2 – Taking variation too far.  Although there does need to be some variation in your workouts as far as which exercises you are doing, you should not take variation to an extreme.  A lot of people who know that they shouldn’t do the exact same workout all the time take the concept of variation to the other extreme end of the spectrum and are totally random in what they do.  You do need to systematically cycle through the same exercises so that your body has a chance to adapt to specific movements.  It’s good to keep your body “guessing” to a certain extent, but not to the extreme where nothing ever becomes familiar.  Too much variation and no clear direction with your training will make it so you will see minimal results.

#3 – Doing legs only.  Most people primarily think of strengthening their lower body and core for running, but regardless of your purpose for distance running (race prep, losing weight, overall health, etc.), upper body strengthening absolutely should not be overlooked.  However, there are a few things that should be taken into consideration when it comes to training your upper body.  First, make sure you train in a balanced manner.  An example of that is if you are going to do some pushing movements (Bench press, Pushups, etc.), make sure you do at least as many pulling type movements as well to balance things out.  Another thing to consider is that for most people, when they are running, their arms are in a neutral position.  Simply put, this means that the palms are facing each other as they run.  Try tweaking your upper body exercises (bench press, rows, etc.) to be in this same neutral position that will translate directly to moving efficiently when running.

#4 – Doing only bilateral movements.  Some of the most popular and common lower body strength exercises are squats, deadlifts, leg press, etc.  These exercises are considered bilateral movements – movements where both right and left sides of the body do the same thing simultaneously and work in unison to move a load.  Running on the other hand is a unilateral movement – when the two limbs do two different/independent movements at the same time to move a load.  With this being considered, although there isn’t anything wrong with including bilateral movements in your strength training program, if you are a runner, it is crucial that you also include unilateral movements such as lunges and step ups that are more specific to the movement of running.  If you are going to do one or the other, as a runner, go with unilateral movements.  Not only will they improve your strength, but they will improve the efficiency in which you move while running.  You need to keep this in mind when strength training your upper body as well.  An example of this would be if you are doing a dumbbell bench press, you could alternate arms within a set, instead of just having both dumbbells moving together.

 

#5 – Not paying enough attention to correct technique.  Distance running injuries are frequently caused by muscle imbalances and asymmetries, that if not dealt with, become deeply ingrained by the repetitive movement of running, and the body breaking down as a result of dealing with continuous inefficient movement.  With that being considered, when incorporating a running specific strength training program, it is extremely important to perform each exercise with perfect technique.  With perfect technique, the exercises can serve as both strength AND corrective exercises, slowly correcting the muscle imbalances that have become so ingrained from your running.  On the other hand, if your exercises are done with incorrect technique, your body will just continue to ingrain the same muscle imbalances that have developed over time with your running.  So, not only is it important that you incorporate strength training in connection with your running, but it is equally as important that you perform your strength training exercises with perfect technique.  This will help you move more efficiently as you run, and will significantly lower the likelihood of injury.


ELDON BROUGH – CSCS, RSCC, CAFS

Coach Eldon Brough, who currently holds the position of Head Strength Coach at Utah Valley University, has a decade of experience working with high level collegiate and professional athletes (Utah, UC Davis, Detroit, Dixie State, Westminster, Real Salt Lake, Utah Jazz).  Brough, a graduate of the University of Utah, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association with distinction as a Registered Strength & Conditioning Coach, and is Certified in Applied Functional Science and 3D Movement Analysis & Performance Systems through the Gray Institute.  Check out his website, www.strength4running.com, follow him on twitter – @ebrough25, and reach him by email at eldonbrough@yahoo.com.  

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 5:03 pm and is filed under Fall/Winter 2017, Injury Prevention, Strength Training, Training. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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