Strength train­ing for ef­fi­ciency

Canadian Running - - THE SCIENCE OF RUNNING -

By now, it may sound like a fa­mil­iar re­frain (at least if you’ve been read­ing this column reg­u­larly): reg­u­lar strength train­ing can help you run more ef­fi­ciently. Sev­eral stud­ies over the past decade have pointed to this con­clu­sion. The lat­est ad­di­tion isn’t a new study, but rather a meta-anal­y­sis of the five high­est-qual­ity stud­ies look­ing at the ef­fect of strength train­ing on run­ning econ­omy – a mea­sure of how much oxy­gen you re­quire to run at a given pace, anal­o­gous to a car’s fuel econ­omy – in com­pet­i­tive dis­tance run­ners.

The re­sults, pub­lished in the Jour nal of St rength and Con­di­tion­ing Re­search by re­searchers in Spain and Greece, sug­gest that eight to 12 weeks of strength train­ing of­fers a “large, ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect” cor­re­spond­ing to a three to four per cent im­prove­ment in run­ning econ­omy. Most of the stud­ies in­volved lift­ing “low to mod­er­ate” loads two or three times a week, some­times with the ad­di­tion of ply­o­met­ric jumps and short sprints. There’s still plenty of work needed to fig­ure out what the best strength train­ing rou­tine for dis­tance run­ners is, but it’s in­creas­ingly clear that the ben­e­fits go be­yond look­ing good.

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