By Adam Malek PT, DPT, SCS & Laura Henderson SPT
For distance runners, strength training is not always included within running progressions, yet this type of training is essential to not only decrease risk of injury, but it will help build a stronger, faster and more efficient runner. It is recommended to have two days of strength training a week programmed into your running program.
Running is a linear motion, which requires the utilization of muscles that work in the sagittal plane (moving forward and backwards). However, when running you are also resisting rotation which requires lateral stabilization to maintain optimal mechanics. The implementation of exercises that train multiple muscle groups, in multiple planes will allow for improved muscular balance. Also, remember that distance runners require the ability to accelerate. For this reason, distance running requires not only muscular strength and endurance, but power. By balancing a strength training regimen, the chance of overloading individual muscles and joints is decreased. This can decrease the potential for injury while increasing the distance of runs.
Here are a few starting exercise examples that can be performed before running and can easily be integrated into any strength training program. All exercises can be made more difficult by increasing weight or decreasing support.
If you feel like you need specific training or are trying to overcome previous injuries to get back to running, contact MJP Sport Medicine and we can help you meet your goals.
Pogos: Jump as high as you can with minimal knee bend. Complete each jump mainly with ankles instead of hips and knees. Bounce off of the ground as quickly as possible on each jump. Never let your heel touch the ground on pogo hops. Stay on the ball of your foot to utilize your lower leg elasticity.
Frontal Plane Stability:
Reverse Lunge With your left leg, step backward approximately two feet from your right foot. Lower your body, keeping your torso upright and taking care to keep your balance. Inhale as you do so. Alternate between right and left as lead leg.
Lateral Plane Stability:
Banded Standing Fire-hydrant
Lean your bottom back onto a wall. Keep your back flat and raise your left knee slightly off the ground. Lift your left knee directly out to the side as high as you can and then lower it back down. Continue this motion for the desired amount of reps and then switch sides
– Progressively load multiple muscle groups
– Plyometric and power training is important to acceleration during your run.
– Train with varying tempo patterns
– Schedule strength training into your routine at least 2 times a week
– Within your strength training, include rotation, upper body, core, and lower body exercises