Strength Training for Endurance Athletes
WHY IS STRENGTH TRAINING IMPORTANT FOR ENDURANCE ATHLETES?
We all know that the only way to get better at swimming, cycling and running, is to swim, ride and run regularly. So why isn’t that enough to improve performance? Well it is. The more you swim, bike and run, the faster you will be on race day. So why bother with stuff like flexibility or strength training?
In a single word- durability! A properly designed resistance training program forces the muscles you use to propel yourself forward to become stronger and more resistant to injury, and it forces the muscles you DON’T use to get stronger and provide better balance to the body as a whole. An example of this is the use of the pulling movement pattern (think of swimming), that we do often in multi-sport, while we rarely us the pushing movement pattern during endurance training. Performing exercises that use pushing patterns in your strength workouts helps to balance the shoulder musculature.
A strength training program should address the muscles and movement patterns used for locomotion, but also strengthen the muscles that stabilize and support the body when in locomotion. In this way, your body can maintain proper alignment and mechanics throughout whatever endurance event you choose.