Strength training for endurance athletes-Part 1

February 7, 2013

One thing I think athletes should do more of is strength training. This is especially important to the stabilizing muscles of the major load bearing joints of the body. While the large power muscles (such as the quads, latts, and traps) are rarely neglected, the small, deep stabilizers rarely get the attention they deserve. Meanwhile, they are like the tent pegs that allow the tent to stand. Their role is critical in keeping the joints properly positioned of the power phase. Strong stabilizers allow more efficient, powerful movement without the deleterious effects that lead to injury.

In order to make soft tissue ( ie: ligaments, tendons, and muscles) more resilient, you need to strengthen it. During the off season, which for most endurance athletes is December through February, begin with a Base of 3 x a week. This prepares the body for the increased demands that will later experienced with higher intensely training (swim-bike-run). Strengthen the small, deep muscles of the shoulders, trunk, and hips. Continue a minimum of twice a week during the race season for maintenance. Progress later into the build and peak phases for strength and power.

During your Base Training, you want to establish proper technique and form. The Build and Peak Phases will then utilize this discipline to protect the joints when greater loads are placed on them in power activities such as Olympic lifting and intense swim, bike, and run training. These advanced workouts are the petri dish for the development of Type II fast- twitch muscle fibers which provide explosive power for competing athletes.

This article was written by Nick Castellano, owner of Essential Training Services with contributions from Noreen Kelly, PT.



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