There is an erroneous belief, which associates the weights only to explosive sports, especially among the runners in the background, which avoid the work of force believing that it can harm them more than benefit. And nothing is further from reality … strength work is training that can help improve career economy, that is, run faster by spending less energy, and in turn reduce injuries.
What are muscle fibers?
To understand well the reason for the benefits of strength training for runners, we must first of all know that there are two types of muscle fibers; type I fibers (aerobic) and type II fibers (anaerobic).
The muscle fibers of type I, based their operation mainly on cellular respiration, using large amounts of oxygen. For this reason, they are resistant to fatigue, help you to resist and last; but they generate little force, therefore, their growth potential is low. This type of fibers supports activities such as long-distance races and are the ones that abound in marathon runners or cyclists.
The muscle fibers of type II, can be divided into two groups; type II A fibers and type II B fibers. Type II A fibers are fast oxidative fibers; They resist fatigue well, but not as much as type I, but the power of contraction is greater, which will generate more strength. And those of type II B, are the fibers of faster contraction; they are the best to perform intense exercises, such as lifting weights. These have a potential for greater growth, but they tire before.
The fact of working strength exercises will increase the proportion of muscle fibers of type II, which will strengthen our muscles and give us power.
So, it can be said that:
- This type of training increases strength in the legs, which will allow much more use of cardiovascular work, and will make the legs reach much better to the final part of any long-distance competition.
- When we run and hit the ground, we are doing a repetitive load on our lower extremities; That impact is 5 times our weight. So, if the muscles of the legs are stronger, it will be prepared to support this load and will prevent injuries. In addition, the muscle will receive greater impact load, thus releasing the joints, part of the work.
- By strengthening the muscles, we also strengthen the tendons. These will store more elastic energy, making them more reactive and allowing us to be more efficient in the running economy.
- By improving strength and power, we will improve the brand
- It will increase the stability of the body during the race, since if we work the lumbar and the core, we will be favoring a correct posture that will allow us to make more efficient movements.
- The movement of the arms also influences when running. A correct movement of arms and shoulders will allow us to stabilize ourselves better.
- The type of training carried out by high performance athletes causes great oxidative stress; Strength training will allow us to decrease it.
- Strength training improves insulin sensitivity, an important fact to keep in mind since the diet of high performance athletes is high in carbohydrates, which are the main responsible for stimulating this hormone.
Some runners in the background are afraid that if they do strength training, they will get heavier, and this will make them slower. But this is not the case, because to generate muscle hypertrophy and gain weight, the amount of cardiovascular should be minimized, and a very specific strength training should be followed.
It should be noted, that each athlete has a body composition and their own needs to increase strength, and their own objectives, so that training must be prescribed individually.