Optimal strength training for runners

Discussion in 'Health, Nutrition, Injuries & Medical Conditions' started by Abide, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    I've been kind of rethinking my strength routine and I was hoping to use this thread as a collection of ideas to hone the plan. Hopefully I can come up with a plan over the next week or two to test out during the winter race season here, which will consist of 6 trail races that range from 25k-35k, through March of 2013. The goal is to see some general performance increases and a progression between the races.

    A couple of things that I have seen over time regarding strength training and endurance running:
    -Strength takes way more time to build than beyond a novice level than endurance
    -They are somewhat contradictory specifically in the mass gain area
    -A minimum of 12 weeks of a systematic strength plan is needed to evaluate its potential

    As always the meat of the plan will be squats, deadlifts, bench, press, and pulls. What I am trying to figure out is the best rep ranges, workout frequencies and timing, and exercise types. I am pretty sure I am going to leave strength endurance out, unless I come across some enlightening research. I think running and possibly some calisthenics will be enough for conditioning.
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  2. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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  3. Abide Barefooters
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  4. rickwhitelaw Barefooters
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    Thanks for the links Abide. I know I need to do more of this.

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  5. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Cool to see you're enjoying two of my favorite running sites too. Magness and Canute are such a breath of fresh air from all the bs and guru-ism one often finds connected to fitness stuff.

    Anyway, for what it's worth, I've attached a revamped version of the exercise routine we discussed last week. I've streamlined it some and grouped exercises that use the same equipment together better so I can get through the routines a bit quicker. I aim for 40-60 minute workouts, cutting some stuff out if pressed for time or tired.

    The exercises that specifically target running are towards the bottom of the Back day list and in the Bottom day. Let me know if any of this is interesting but the shorthand hard to decipher and I can elaborate. I also look forward to hearing what other people have to say, as my recent knee tweak has motivated me to support my running through strength training more, mostly for injury prevention, but I think it will help my form and performance too.

    Attached Files:

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  6. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    Yeah time is a bit of an issue too, I like to get everything done including warm-ups in 50-60 minutes. It's tough too when you are getting close to max sets and you have to take more time between sets.

    I'll look more closely at your routine and let you know, I'll probably steal some things too. I think one thing I am going to focus on is really working strength specifically neural adaptation and completly skipping out on strength endurance other than core work. I wanted to test it out some to see if it helps with not feeling as worn down.

    Here is the schedule
    Monday - AM strength
    Tuesday - AM 6-8 mile tempo run; PM Yoga
    Wednesday - AM strength
    Thursday - 90-120 minute trail run
    Friday - AM strength; PM calisthenics, speed work, sprints
    Saturday - off or Race
    Sunday - 15 mile trail run
  7. Abide Barefooters
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  8. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    Something else I have been wondering about is what is a good ratio of strength to body weight that would help or at least not hinder running performance. I found another Dan John article a while back and have been shooting toward some of the goals. I can get pretty close to the game changer for most of them, but I wonder if a body weight ratio is a better measurement?
    http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/figuring_out_your_life_and_lifting_goals

    Here are DJs measurements
    Push
    Expected: Body weight bench pressGame Changer: Body weight bench press for 15 reps

    Pull
    Expected: 8-10 pull-upsGame Changer: 15 pull-ups

    Squat
    Expected: Body weight squatGame Changer: Body weight squat for 15 reps

    Hinge
    Expected: Body weight to 150% bodyweight deadliftGame Changer: Double body weight deadlift

    Loaded Carry (Farmer Walk)
    Expected: Farmer Walk with total body weight (half per hand)Game Changer: Body weight per hand

    Or the ratios I came up with which I think may be a bit too high and require some mass gain.
    Bench = 1.5 x BW
    Press = 1 x BW
    Squat = 1.75 x BW
    DL = 2 x BW
    15 Pull ups
  9. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    That's why I always start each strength training day with the heaviest weight exercise (bench press, deadlift, power clean), to make sure I get it in and don't rush it. I do the floor and ab stuff last cuz it's easier to make it up later or on a run day if time runs out on me or I'm interrupted.

    Interesting, I like that idea. I could easily add it to my Bottom/legs day. I don't have a lot of room in my garage, but I suppose I could use pretty heavy weight to take 5-6 steps. Or just walk outside--my neighbors already think I'm eccentric. I will also be using ankle weights on my plyo boxes for step work once my knee is healed, so I suppose I could hold on to dumbbells at the same time to work the 'core' a bit too. Might be a good 'finishing' exercise for the legs day.

    I'm envious of your trail running. I live in the middle of the city so I'm stuck with asphalt and concrete mostly. The nearest trail is a 25-to-30-minute drive away--not very practicable unless I'm out that way anyway.

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  10. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Good stuff, will look at the link later.

    I'm really weak on squats, because I'm paranoid about stressing my knees too much. I've always just done 1/4 or half squats. Even back when I was younger.

    For bench, I've always thought body weight is a good base, and then anything on top of that is gravy. Right now I can do about 15 pounds over body weight on the bench, 1-2 times. I could probably do a bit more if I had a spotter. 1.5 BW would be a good goal, but probably not realistic for me.

    For deadlifts I aim for 1.5 body weight as the base. My deadlifts still have a ways to go. I'm only up to 200-250 max weight. I'd like to get up to at least 300, but I'm taking it slow so I don't hurt my back. There's a lot of room for improvement here, and I feel like these are the most beneficial ST exercise for running. I also did a lot of dead lifts back in my karate days--they make the kicks a lot more explosive.

    I'm still a good year out from being where I want to be for basic fitness. I'm probably a bit too old to think about game changers, but once I establish a good base fitness I may try to see how much further I can go, given my time and energy constraints.

    How are you doing the Press? I just started taking these more serious this last summer, now that my shoulder is fully healed. I've never done clean and jerk stuff. Right now my max Press is less than half BW, but I do 3-5 reps. I'm paranoid about doing 1-2 rep max weight without a spotter. I've also recently started doing the shoulder press with dumbbells as well as the barbell for a slight different movement.

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  11. NickW Guest

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    I'm curious, why the infatuation with doing body weight for bench? I used to be so infatuated with doing high weight when I was younger, and I was able to do over a hundred pounds over my body weight on the bench. After my two back surgeries I am learning to enjoy the lighter weight and I seem to be getting better physique results too, not to mention I feel as if it is a more useable strength for everyday use. Of course mostly I just use dumbbells and I don't have a bar to use for bench or squats. My heaviest set of dumbbells I believe are 50lbs, which I don't even use right now. Just curious and am in no way criticizing, just trying to understand it. I think for me when I was younger, being a short guy (5'7") I always felt I had to prove myself while in the military and in sports.
  12. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    The press I do with my hands just on the outside of my shoulders so it utilizes the triceps a little more. The trick to doing heavier weights for me on this one was really locking in the back and tightening the glutes and then pushing. Rippetoe covers it well in his book and articles. The bench bothers my shoulder a bit more than the press but actually I have recently stopped doing dips and my shoulder has been doing much better so you may wnat to consider it. Now I just do close grip bench and dumbell presses for tricep work and with teh Bench and press it seems to be more than enough.

    Yeah I figure too a year of commitment to a program will probably get me where I want to be, slow and steady is probably the best way to go.

    If you want a little more of a core excercise you can always do step ups with weight in the goblet stance, it makes it more challenging and you tighten up the upper body a bit more. Yeah d0 the carries at the end, they really wipe you out and your grip is wasted. These make good farmers handles if you have some money to blow.

    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/body-s...tdoor-Play&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=sku5714324S
  13. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    The main reason I like to train heavy is that I enjoy it, but setting standards or goals like this helps make sure you keep progressing through a plan. Every lifting session I do has a specific goal which is usually to lift heavier or do more reps than the last one. Otherwise I just feel like I am spinning wheels in the weight room and my motivation is fading.

    Another thing I have noticed is the more I can bench the more push-ups I can do and I rarely do them. However the inverse isn't really true, trianing push-ups does nothing for my bench. Does that make sense?

    Basically there really is no downfall in being overstrong.
  14. Abide Barefooters
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    btw there is no infatuation with a body weight bench technically I would love to hit a 2 x bw bench.
  15. NickW Guest

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    I understand having goals, and with my weights I used to be that same way. Now I guess I just listen to my body and increase as I feel I can, instead of pushing myself to increase like I used to. I think my fear is injuring my back again though, so maybe that's why it is easier for me mentally to just do the light weights and really worry about form and doing a lot of the exercises slow on the way down and then slow on the way back up (I guess that depends on the exercise, not everything is up or down but you get my point). Back when I was in the Army I weighed around 170-180 when I was benching 285, only 1 1/2 times my body weight, but I was working on getting up to my goal of breaking the 300lb mark, which I never did.
  16. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Like Abide said, mostly I do what I enjoy. Just as I enjoy the feeling of going relatively fast, I enjoy being relatively strong. Plus, I find high rep stuff mental agony. I quickly lose motivation past 6-8 reps. But also, there is some science behind it, although that isn't why I do it. Just as speed work recruits more muscle fiber and trains the neuromuscular system, which improves one's endurance running, heavy weights also recruit more muscle and train the neuromuscular system to deliver power quickly. There's other reasons too that I don't have time to look up or describe well, like boosting the immune system, and generating denser, healthier bones, but that Science of Running link Abide posted up above begins to explain some of it. But the main thing is I enjoy it, and if you're digging what you're doing now, then that's what you should do too. Plus, like you said, you need to avoid re-injuring your back at all costs.

    I don't really think about physique, like, oh, my lats need more work, or geez, I want to have a huge chest. I just work each area with different movements till I feel a halfway decent 'pump.' That's my only real measure. Unlike Abide, I don't really think about improving each time. I just do what I feel like and let the improvements come on their own. Some days I have good energy and can push it, some days I just go through the motions and maintain. And also note that most of my exercises are not heavy weights, just the first few for the most part. I also use dumbbells a lot. I have a set of 5 to 50 lb pairs in 5 pound increments. I want to get a pair of 55s and 60s too.

    The BW standard for me is mostly a mnemonic for recalling where I used to be. I'm 210 now, but 15-20 of that is still flab. So let's say 195 as my lean/ideal body weight. The last time I weighed something like that, I could lift 245 or 265 I think. That was 10 years ago. I think I could probably get back up there, but when I first starting getting back in shape this time around, the immediate goal was to get to around 195-225 as a base. That came back relatively quickly once my shoulder was healed. Same with deadweights. I quickly got up to 225. Getting to the next 50 lb increment, 275, will require some work now. I think the fact the last time I lifted I was in a gym that had Olympic plates is an influence too. Four 45-pound plates and a 45-pound = 225 pounds, just a bit more than my body weight. But mostly, it's because my body weight or 1.5 BW just seems like a natural base poundage for the heavy stuff.

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  17. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    So press refers to machine, not the exercise, right?
    I just started dips again recently, because I wanted to make sure my shoulder was fully healed. I really like dips though, and the way they stretch the pecs and triceps.
    Don't know about the goblet stance. Seems like a lot of pressure on the knees. But I'll check it out.

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  18. Abide Barefooters
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    No the plain jane standing shoulder press, some call it the military press. Yeah I like them too, hopefully the shoulder nag will go away some day so I feel comfortable doing them again.

    The goblet hold stance or whatever it is called means you basically hold a KB or dumbell with two hands under your chin. Does that make sense? Google goblet squat and you will see what I mean. Then you can do whatever excercise you want with it, squats, lunges, step ups etc..
  19. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    OK, got it. As I mentioned, I've recently started doing shoulder/military presses with dumbbells. Mostly because it gets the muscles at slightly different angle, but I think it might put less pressure on the joint too. Check it out and see if it helps. I hold the dumbbell perpendicular to the line of my shoulders, unlike the barbell press, where the bar is parallel. This seems to make a difference.

    Thanks for the clarification on the goblet, I'll definitely be checking that one out for the step-ups. I was confusing it with squats done with a goblet hold, as you saw.

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  20. Abide Barefooters
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    I'm starting to consider squatting 3 times a week. The plan is coming together, only a little slower than I thought. I'm looking at skipping out on most lower leg assistance work other than pushing a sled and heavy carries, then rotating between a back, box and front squat each week and then fitting in a set of heavy and another of fast deadlifts or straight legged deadlifts. hmmm

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