There is nothing like some serious strength training to improve your endurance sport performance. Seriously!
Many endurance athletes (cyclists especially) worry that strength training will have a negative impact on their performance. Some fear that time off the bike or time away from running is detrimental to their training plan. Others worry about gaining weight and then having decreased climbing abilities. Well I'm telling you that nothing could be further from the truth.
The evidence is abundantly clear that properly designed strength training programs conducted concurrently with endurance training (running, cycling, cross country skiing to name a few) has a positive effect on performance.
Are you stuck and finding it difficult to improve your running or cycling speed? Spend a little less time running or cycling and a little more lifting weights and you'll smash through that plateau guaranteed.
Without delving into the science here are some of the benefits of strength training for endurance:
Strength training improves:
- cycling peak power and time to exhaustion. You will have a better sprint kick and be able to attack or cover an attack for longer.
- running economy - you will use less energy for any given speed
- hill climbing strength for cycling and running
- improves your ability tolerate and produce surges in running pace
Don't worry about gaining weight from strength training because if you are an endurance athlete the adaptations your body makes from long endurance training sessions won't allow your body to gain muscle mass from the strength training the same as for an athlete not doing endurance work. You will still see strength improvement however, just not size.
Good luck in your upcoming race seasons, and if you are interested in proper strength training come see us. We specialize in helping endurance athletes (competitive and recreational) achieve new levels of fitness and performance.