Michael Harlow // 5.17.2016
"I consider strength training a main discipline and not the 4th. Strength is the foundation and a continued build of the kinetic chain. It has allowed me to get stronger, faster and avoid injury".
- Scott Evans, Endorphin Fitness Athlete
The heated debate continues on whether or not endurance athletes need to incorporate a strength program into their endurance training plan. The coaches at Endorphin Fitness wholeheartedly agree, it isn't an 'extra' part of the plan but rather a plain and simple a must do. There is significant research to back it up, but more importantly, we have seen it positively impact our athletes year after year.
When your foot hits the pavement, your leg pushes a pedal, or you reach out to start your pull in your swim stroke, what do you feel? Anything? What do you think about? How about which muscles are working together to make it happen? Could they be working better together? Probably so. Strength training is the answer. It's an inherently slower activity than endurance exercise. Stepping away from the go-go-go for resistance training just a couple of times a week allows you more time to connect your mind to your working muscles. Coordination is a significant limiter for many athletes in achieving their goal. Training muscle groups to work together increases proprioception - ones understanding of his or her body movements - and allows each muscle to work at its fullest potential. Not only will this make you stronger, this will help to make your endurance work more efficient, getting you to the finish line faster and with less unnecessary stress on your body.
This leads to another great reason to start a strength program; injury prevention. Think about your last long run or ride. Did you feel solid from start to finish? Was your posture perfect throughout the session or did you feel your form starting to slip? Increasing strength and mobility in your core, hips and glutes specifically will equal better posture and proper form. Both are key to keeping you injury free!
An improved mind muscle connection along with increased strength and mobility will keep you toeing more start lines pain free. And even better, have you finishing ahead of the your previous personal records! Besides, have you ever heard anyone who incorporates strength into their endurance program say it was a waste of time? That's what I thought. See you in the gym!