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SCIENCE OF STRENGTH

It's great to have hobbies outside of running. Come for a run with me and i'll chat to you about the science of strength training for endurance performance. From improving your rate of force development (my personal favourite), improving your running economy and reducing the cost of running, enhancing your muscle power, and of course reducing injury risk, it really is a no-brainer. Except for these good people who put together amazing studies for our benefit. They are the brains so we can do the brawn. Let me know if you like the case studies, there are many more where these came from.

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STUDY 1 - PLYOMETRICS

  • National & international level 1500m-marathon distance runners. No history of plyo for previous 6 months

  • Duration: 6 weeks, 2 x 30 min sessions (as warm up for running training)

  • Exercises: 60 Drop Jumps (2 sets of 10 from 20cm bench, 2 x 10 from 40cm, 2 x 10 from 60 cm)

  • Testing: Speed tested via 2.4km time trial improved by 4%, Elastic strength tested via drop jump improved by 15%

  • Not bad for 6 weeks

  • Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2013)

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STUDY 2 - PLYOMETRICS

​A beautiful study with clear impact and stress progressions

  • 6 weeks, 2-3 sessions per week

  • Focus of study: Running economy based on the stretch shortening cycle of connective tissues/tendons and neuromuscular efficiency

  • Results:

  • Countermovement Jump height ↑ 13.2%, 5 Bound Test ↑ 7.8%

  • Musculotendinous Stiffness ↑ 10-15%

  • Rate of Force Development ↑ 14%

  • 6.5% ↑ in runing economy (at 3 different speeds) & 2.7% ↑ 3km time trial

  • Spurrs et al. (2003)

  • PDF of that great table

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STUDY 3 - MAXIMAL STRENGTH TRAINING

  • Highly trained distance runners

  • 8 weeks (max strength training)

  • 4 sets of 4 half squats @4RM, slow tempo, 3 x week

  • Results:

  • Strength ↑ 33.2%

  • Rate of Force Development ↑ 26%

  • 21.3% ↑ time to exhaustion at Maximal Aerobic Speed 

  • 5% ↑ in Running Economy @ 70% V02max

  • Storen et al 2008

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STUDY 4 - DYNAMIC WEIGHT TRAINING VS PLYOMETRICS

  • Simple design focused on the Cost of Running

  • Graded exercise test with O2 uptake

  • 8 weeks, 35 participants, 1 SESSION PER WEEK. 1 EXERCISE PER SESSION!

  • Dynamic Weight Training: 3-5 sets, 30-50% 1RM, 1 ex! (Squats) concentric only (assisted down to focus on the up), 8 reps @ ≥95% Peak Power (If they did not come up forcefully enough, it didn't count, tough!)

  • Plyometric group: 1 exercise! Drop Jumps from 20, 40, 60cm reaching ≥ 95% force/velocity. ie if they could not reach 95% of their max height, it didn't count.

  • Results:

  • Plyometric Group = 7%↓ in Cost of Running by 15 ml.kg.km (from 218 ml.kg.km-1)

  • Dynamic Weight Training group = 4%↓ Cost of Running

  • Berryman et al 2010

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