28 Jul 2009

Strength training and the pitfalls of being an endurance athlete.

Being an endurance athlete often lends itself to a somewhat obsessive personality.  We work hard and we fit it all in to achieve our goals.  Sometimes we miss a workout but we make up for it on the weekend by going a little longer on our bike ride or run.  We are very sports specific people.  We rarely stray from the path of our chosen sport.  Taking some time to dedicate to a specific strength program would benefit a large percentage of the endurance population. 

For those of you who know how important it is to maintain strength and balance as an endurance athlete you probably visit the gym a couple of times a week even during your main competitive phase (if you don’t you should).  Maintaining a level of core strength and stability is a huge benefit to athletes especially those who are 30+ years of age.  I recently talked to an athlete who was telling me about a strength asymmetry that he had.  After our discussion I realized that he had fallen into a pattern that a lot of endurance athletes fall into.  We just try to get our stength work DONE!

This rarely helps us acheive the goal that we are trying to obtain.  As an endurance athlete we need to focus on stability as well as strength.  The term that I normally us with my clients is “slow and controlled”.  Think about why you are doing each exercise.  Make sure that you are getting the most out of each movement.  Our efforts need to be slow and controlled in order to acheive the desired result.  Getting in 20 swiss ball push ups while bouncing up and down and dipping at the hips will do us little good.  While slowly completeing 10 push ups while maintaining a straight body position, engaging the abdominals and concentrating on the movement gives us huge gains.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is a time and a place for speed work in the gym but it comes at specific times with specific preparation.

It is funny, that my job is to make people faster and stronger and one of the best ways that I can do this is to slow them down.

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