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Endurance athletes tend not to do much in the way of strength training, preferring instead to do more of what they enjoy doing the most. That’s fair enough but there are some very specific and relevant adaptations to concurrent strength training for endurance athletes that really ought not to be ignored.
Runners, for example might do a bit of core training or maybe some yoga and then, for power they might do some sprint intervals, Fartleks or hill sprints, something like that. Cyclists like doing power intervals on the turbo or a Wattbike and feel that is all the ‘strength work’ they need.
Now, if you are a recreational athlete and time is an issue for you then I absolutely get that the more gym-based strength training you do, the less time you’ll have for running/cycling/swimming or whatever your main discipline is. But if you are competitive and want to get better outcomes than you currently are strength training is where you should be looking.
Worry not, I am going to give you a suggested training plan here, at the end of this article.
Everyone knows that exercise is good for them, but despite that too few people do much of it with any real consistency. Beyond walking to the fridge and back or angrily hammering the keypad on their mobile phone while taking part in some kind of pointless argument on social media. But the health benefits of exercise are incredible, to the point that it really ought to be a prescribed by doctors as a first line of defence against almost all forms of chronic illness.
But, the thing is the fitness industry doesn’t seem interested in selling exercise to you for health and longevity. It tells you that you need to punish yourself with high intensity plyometric exercises like the shiny, Lycra clad models on the fitness DVDs (who, by the way didn’t use 30-minute bodyweight cardio sessions to get that ripped). It’s fitness elitism, the message being if you aren’t smashing yourself to bits and finishing up in a pool of your own sweat you aren’t earning the right to eat your plate of dry quinoa and lettuce for dinner. You are such a useless piece of shit, what do you mean you can’t keep up with Shaun T? You shameless loser!
But, before marketing made a mockery of fitness there was one form of exercise that stood the test of time, that men had been doing for centuries in various forms and, thanks largely to CrossFit an increasing number of women are also getting into. What is that exercise form? Resistance Training (RT) dummy. Yep, lifting heavy things whether you are merely weight lifting or bodybuilding or doing something with a performance aspect to it like power-lifting, Olympic lifting, Kettlebell training, CrossFit, etc. But, even there, the fitness industry still wants to market resistance training for aesthetics. Which is fine if that sort of thing is important to you, but there is so much more to RT than just having bigger muscles and looking shiny in your smalls.
So, with that being said, here are a bunch of evidence-based reasons why resistance training ought not to even be an option for any human being who wants to be healthier.
If you have followed me for a while now you'll be well aware that I believe everyone should be doing some kind of resistance training on a regular basis. Not only do I believe it (and let me be clear that is not just a personal opinion based on emotion, it's an evidence-informed fact) but just recently the the World Health Organisation updated their physical activity guidelines. Here's the highlights for adults aged 18-64:
The reasons for are the benefits your body experiences from adaptation to exercise are numerous, in relation to physiological and mental health. It just makes sense to look after your body with as much meticulousness as you might look after your finances, your children or your graphic novel collection.