Strength Training

Has anyone come across advice from coaches or the internet that strength training is good for your running? I have been looking into this now for some time and have decided to start strength training!

Does anyone else strength train? If so what workouts do you use?


  • I have read that strength training can be good as part of a running program, there's a link here from Runnersworld which seems to give a good summary of the topic.,7120,s6-242-304--13093-0,00.html

    I do a bit of weight training mainly calve and hamstring, and I personally think it helps my running as I feel I can push harder and travel further with each stride.
  • I do a bit of weight training (machines not free weights).
    I had a problem with the strength in my left leg the year before last which showed up by a severe pain in the knee while running. I couldn't get into the exercises that the physio gave me so when I was at the gym I got one of the instructors to set me up with a programme to strengthen my leg. I've since changed it to one that is designed to strengthen my core.
    I'm not sure how much of an impact it had on my running as I spent the early part of last year training with colleagues and that had more of an impact on my speed. I do know that it helped with my cycling as on one of the first times out on the bike I found myself going very easily up a hill that I normally struggled with.

    Don Finks book "Be Iron Fit" also has a section about strength training in it.

  • Hi Dan.

    I started regular strength training about a month ago, and have since seen my running performance go through the roof! One of my favourite exercises is the deadlift to specifically work running muscles to power me up the hills, and I've noticed the difference more than I ever thought I would.

    Can't believe I didn't start strength work earlier, for me it's now become an essential part of my training.
  • Thanks guys. I will definitely continue with my strength training now.
  • The majority of runners neglect strength training, It's only when you get to the top level that all the athletes suddenly start going to the gym. Never really understood this since everybody wants to copy the top athletes track work and mileage.

    I generally try to do one day a week of heavy-ish lifts; squats, deadlifts, olympic lifts, bench and bor in order to keep some strength when running high mileage and also because the main lifts work the core muscles too. I wouldn't normally do any heavy strength work two to three weeks before a big competition though. Another day I get in some circuits, something to keep the heart rate high and work the entire body.
  • Strength training can really improve your running. Stay away from machines though, they are more likely to hinder than help.

    Exercises such as leg extension , leg curl, leg press, hip abduction, hip Adduction should form no part of a runners program. For that matter neither should clams or bridges.

    Squats and dead lifts are good but even better are Multi dimensional lunges, dynamic lunges and plyometric exercises.
  • Raquel 65Raquel 65 ✭✭✭
    Can you explain why runners shouldn't be doing clams or bridges? After I got an injury a few months ago the physio put it down to a weakness on one side and we worked out a strengthening routine which I've been doing since then. It includes lunges, squats, leg presses etc and also clams and bridges. Infact I saw 3 different physios over the course of my treatment and they all recommended both exercises as particularly good for runners. I've since run 2 halfs and my hip is much improved.
  • Have a look at–-do-exercises-like-the-clam-or-a-side-lying-leg-lift-actually-do-anything/

    My original answer was for strength training not for injury rehab but clams and bridges aren't a great exercise for rehab either , ( they may help some people although I know plenty of people that they haven't helped) , there are far better exercises as discussed in the blog
  • Just so you don't think it's just me against clams , here is a physios argument against clams

    The blogs are quite technical but here is his summary on clams " the standard exercise sheets don’t achieve any of these….I could rant about clams all day!!!"


    "The most common time I use this is with under active gluteal muscles.  The common exercises that are used to increase the activity of the glutes is to do something like clams etc.  Now the main problem I have with this is that is underestimates what the glutes do in function."
  • Raquel 65Raquel 65 ✭✭✭
    Thanks I will read these - it's interesting how people disagree on these things (the first physio I saw is a respected one who deals specifically with runners) I really thought the exercises were helping to strengthen my glutes but could be just placebo effect...
  • The thing with exercises is that general ones like the ones physios and trainers give will help some people, my argument and the physio whose blog I quoted is that the exercises can be made a lot more specific.

    You will feel those exercises in your glutes but the question isn't whether you feel it or not it's whether it improves your glute function when you run. As the study in my blog shows - it doesn't.

    If you feel they are helping you then continue , they may be. The exercises just won't be helping you as much as something that is more specifically designed for runners as explained in my blog. Unfortunately for some people they won't help at all.
  • Raquel 65Raquel 65 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for that - will read it and try them out. Didn't mean to hijacked the thread btw image
  • Noakes' 'Lore of Running' recommends using a cable machine for various exercises to strengthen adductors / abductors / flexors. Many coaches regard the book as one of the finest of its type...

    I agree, though, in much of what you're saying. Operating a machine isn't functional to running, and may create imbalances due to focussing on specific groups which could over-power others. 

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