Strength training and running performance
This current comprehensive review suggests that supplementing the training of a runner with strength training (ST) can positively affect performance directly and provide benefits to several physiological parameters that are important for distance running.
24 studies were includedwith participants being middle- (800–3000 m) or long-distance runners (5000 m–ultra-distance) with > 6 months running experience. The studies included a variety of ST interventions, such as heavy resistance training, explosive resistance training, and plyometric training performed on 2–3 occasions per week > 4 weeks duration. Each study also included a running only control group for comparison.
Running economy (RE) generally showed improvements (2–8%) compared to a control group. Time trial (TT) performance (1.5–10 km) and anaerobic speed qualities also tended to improve following ST. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), blood lactate (BL) parameters, and body composition appear to be unaffected by the addition of ST to a distance runner’s program.
Improvements in RE in the absence of changes in VO2max, BL and body composition parameters suggests that the underlying mechanisms predominantly relate to alterations in intra-muscular coordination and increases in tendon stiffness which contribute to optimizing force–length-velocity properties of muscle.
Nevertheless, methodological inconsistencies exist within the literature, thus practitioners should be cautious when applying generalized recommendations to their runners.
> From: Blagrove et al., Sports Med (2018) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the online summary.