Optimal strength training for runners

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

  1. Josh16 Barefooters
    1. Canada

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    Back then, it was 3x8-10, I'm not sure if it was really 60. I am positive that it was least 50+, though.I had been following boxing workouts while in high school which are very demanding of the shoulders, so maybe it had a positive impact. It sounds odd to say, but to me it seems muscles remember their old strength and you can get back to where you were fairly quickly.

    I currently weigh 170lbs and am 5'10-5'11. Somehow, when weightlifting consistently, I rarely hit a plateau and my weights kept going up on most exercises though the body shape never really followed suit. I was always making steady progress on bench press too until I ended up with that grip problem I talked about.

    Then, the gym started to fill up and I became very inconsistent. So I stopped and began kickboxing and but only lasted a few months. It was merely an issue of time frame. I didn't like the times for the sessions and I like to have flexibility in my schedule, which is also why I enjoy running so much.

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  2. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Yah, I think strength fades much more slowly than conditioning. I find I can quickly get back to 60-70% of my old levels after many years off.

    For running, I think strength training without hypertrophy is key, so you're lucky if you don't gain much mass while you gain strength. Most trainers recommend staying in 3-5 rep range for all the big lifts, to avoid hypertrophy.

    Kickboxing or full-contact karate are great for fitness, but one KO with stitches and I knew I was through. I like my brain served unscrambled thank you. Still, kicks are a great non-ab ab workout.

    Running and a home gym are great for scheduling, although I miss the gym rat camaraderie sometimes, and the occasional eye candy. Don't miss the sweat, smell, and waiting for equipment.

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  3. Josh16 Barefooters
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    Sweat/smell was never an issue at my gym. The "waiting for equipment" was though. If I've been there for my entire work out (usually around 45 minutes to an hour) and the same three guys are still doing squats with the only squat rack, then I do feel they're just wasting their time and everybody else's time.

    You talked about full body workout. I like full body work outs. I just think they don't fit my body and rest schedules at the moment. Sometimes, it takes up to three days for my body to stop getting sore. But I don't feel body parts splits fit my lifestyle since often have stuff coming up last minute and skipping workouts does happen. I'm going to try a push/pull routine on two days ideally lifting three days a week. This would allow more rest in between workout days.

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  4. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Nothing like a bench covered in some other guy's sweat . . .

    I've tried different schedules, but I always come back to alternating three days of running with three days of lifting, and one day of complete rest. That's 48hrs for recovery twice a week, and 72 hours once. Really heavy stuff or stuff that aggravates my left shoulder I only do once a week. Stuff I'm trying to improve I try to do twice a week. I've been trying to work in more plyometric stuff too, with limited success.

    Early morning is about the only time when life doesn't interfere with training, but I like to train later afternoons best, especially lifting. It's just a real hard sell to deadlift five minutes after regaining consciousness. I like to slowly psych myself up for a good lift or run throughout the day.

    I never deload, life and the occassional head cold take care of that (although lately I've been on a pretty good roll). If I feel overtrained, I just go lighter. Otherwise, I try to go as heavy as possible, but I mix up my rep and set schemes quite often depending on my mood and energy levels. I've never been able to follow a strict training protocol, but I tend to end up doing the same dozen or so exercises in different orders or combinations. Over the last year I've gotten rid of most assistance exercises, either cuz I never did them anyway, or because I've learned that a lot of them aren't very biomechanically sound and do little to further one's basic strength anyway. Better to spend more time on the basic lifts.

    Here's my latest routine, in schematic form:
    Mon
    Deadlift
    Rows & Russian Twist
    Chinups
    Box Jumps/Plyo

    Wed
    Squat
    Bench Press & Dips
    Overhead Press
    Bench Hops/Plyo

    Fri
    Power Clean and/or Squat
    Rows & Russian Twist
    Chinups
    Box Jumps/Plyo

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  5. Josh16 Barefooters
    1. Canada

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    Atm, I'm looking at doing something like :

    Day 1 Push
    >Step ups (squats if you can)
    >Dumbell bench press
    >Shoulder press
    >Triceps (haven't quite decided what to do yet. I'm looking for something that won't put too much stress on the elbows)
    >Dips

    Day 2 Pull
    >Deadlift
    >Pull ups/chin ups
    >One arm rows
    >Dumbbell curls
    >Calf raises

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  6. Sid Barefooters

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    Sprinting works the abs, too! :D
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  7. Sid Barefooters

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    So, I had an idea from reading this article, about maybe warming up with a weight vest prior to running. I would walk the dogs with the weight vest on, then remove it for my run for "explosive" power. ;)
    http://basketball.stack.com/gear/training-equipment/six-rules-for-weight-vest-training/

    So, I overhead press the 60lb weight vest, while trying to maintain good shoulder positioning, and strap it down. Then, 1 mile walk with dogs in Florida sun. Feeling some nice activation of postural, foot, and glute muscles . Get home and take off the vest. Feeling a bit unmotivated, a bit winded. Not quite what I was hoping for.

    Recheck the article. "Ten Percent Rule" ?! So, that would be about 18lbs for me. :D
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  8. Sid Barefooters

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    So, I went for a 2 miles run about 45min after. I tried to focus on propulsion with extension of the rear leg, without overstriding, and landing under center of mass.

    Seemed good! More powerful strides, increased the speed, and more stability. I was trying to channel Dr. Mark. :D I think that the weight vest did help.

    I've found that when weight lifting, I'll often be able to lift more weight after each rest period after each set. I'm not sure if the muscles are getting warmed up, or the neuromuscular connections are getting primed or whatever. It seems to be working for running, too. Maybe.

    I'll keep at it, and see how it goes. My goals for running right now are more speed and power, rather than more distance. I'm going to try to avoid the short stride length, high cadence running. Weight loss will help, too. :)
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  9. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Aren't they applying that rule to running? If you're walking, seems like you could do more. They also recommend against weighted jumping, so basically, the more vertical, the less weight: walking > running > jumping.
    That all makes sense to me.

    I'm glad at least one person agrees with me that it's silly to adopt an artificially high cadence. Just let your body figure out the right ratio and focus on good, relaxed posture and powerful strides.

    Last year I wanted to do distance just to see what I could do. I got up to 16 miles and that was enough. For me, I don't really like running for more than two hours, two and a half hours max. And I'm pretty sure it's stressful for my body to run much more than an hour. Cortisol, catabolism, and all that.

    Now I'm back to wanting to be a faster runner. I still remember that day about a year ago when I was able to run aerobically at 8:50mm pace for 5-7 miles. Felt good. I want to be able to run aerobically at 8mm for an hour. I know, this isn't actually 'fast', but my stride feels so much smoother and powerful at this pace, compared to the 9:30-11mm range. Last year I got there just by running consistently at an aerobic pace. This year I'm trying to accelerate the rate of improvement by pushing the pace a bit and doing more fartleks. I did intervals a few weeks ago, and need to get back to doing more of those and/or hills too.

    Priming the muscles helps. I think when you do it right, the second or third set out of a 3x3 or 3x5 protocol should feel the strongest. As you know, my favorite approach for the heavy lifts is to go up to 1-2RM, and then singles or doubles in dropsets down to straight sets 3x3 or 3x5. When I do that, sometimes the straight sets get progressively harder. For the medium weight lifts, or when I'm not up for 1-2RM and dropsets on the big lifts, I go straight to the straight sets. That's usually when the second or third set feels strongest, because the first set doesn't have the advantage of having been primed yet.

    Yesterday I didn't have time for my ST but my legs were pretty sore so I was just going to do rows and chinups anyway. I'm experiencing what some of my readings have said would happen, that the better the shape I'm in, and the more I can push it, the more recovery time I need. I think I need to scale back my st workouts a bit, especially now that my running is starting to come along. So, maybe something like this:

    Mon
    Deadlift (high effort)
    Rows & Russian Twist (medium effort)
    Chinups (high effort)
    Box Jumps/Plyo

    Tues
    Speedwork/hills/fartleks

    Wed
    Bench Press & Dips (high effort)
    Overhead Press (high effort)
    Bench Hops/Plyo

    Thurs
    Tempo

    Fri
    Squat (high effort)
    Rows & Russian Twist (high effort)
    Chinups (medium effort)
    Box Jumps/Plyo

    Sat
    Long/easy run

    Squats seem to interfere most with running. With deadlifts the effect isn't so noticeble. So it seems to make sense to do squats later in the week and use my weekend long and/or easy run as a recovery from the squats. I'm going to start doing 1-2RMs on the squats I think, now that my form feels pretty good, and really push them, along with the deadlifts, for a while. My upper body push workout is also pretty cluttered, and I may start going harder on the bench press again, to see if I can get my 1RM above 225, so it will help if I don't do squats then, or, minimally, like a few light sets, just to prime them for Friday. If I do that, then I'll give the power cleans a rest until I get closer to my 1RM goals for the deadlift and squats.

    I'm going to run down by the river a little later. Beautiful day. Then play with the kids in our 12' metal frame pool. I can't believe summer is already more than half over.

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  10. mokaman Chapter Presidents
    1. Georgia

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    Did a followup MAF test today after 8 weeks of modest HIT style once a week strength workouts...I was just about 5 seconds faster per mile than back in early June so no harm done on my running plus I only ran about 50 miles in July.

    I've been using the weight machines at my work on my 15 minute breaks once a week...it took about 4 weeks to get the proper weight dialed in...I 'm doing only one set at slow rep rate per exercise which are chest press, cable pulldowns, shoulder press and sitting rows...only did the leg part about half the weeks. I raise the weight next workout if the the set lasts more than 2 minutes till muscle failure and always go to muscle failure each set however long that takes.

    Even though I have had slow steady progress so far I'm starting to get bored with it and its time to switch things up gradually. The weight room has no barbells only weight machines, a Smith machine, lots of dumbells and some possible body weight stuff. I don't really like the leg press machine or Smith machine so yesterday I tried dumbell squats standing on a metal box that lets the weights drop below my feet...I think I'm going with that for awhile. Still need to figure out a body weight or dumbell version for the press and row lifts...will be switching to chin/pull ups when I'm strong enough instead of the pulldowns.

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  11. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Hey Mokaman,
    Just a few thoughts, feel free to completely ignore:

    Weights are inherently boring, especially compared to running, especially if you're doing sets lasting two minutes! While no means exhaustive, I've read around quite a bit the last several months, and the people who seem to understand the science pretty well all suggest rep ranges between 3 and 8 reps. Much over that, and you're no longer recruiting maximal muscle fiber, and you're starting to turn it into a stamina or endurance exercise. Lactate will build up, and you'll feel sore afterwards but not the kind of soreness that indicates muscle damage, which leads to adaptation and growth/density.

    If you keep the reps low and intense, you'll be relying almost exclusively on the ATP-PC energy system, a bit of the glycolytic, with very little overlap with the aerobic or oxidative system we use in easy running. Don't know if this is why several of the people I've read have contradicted the Maffetone thesis that strength training interferes with developing one's MAF, but could be worth looking into. In any case, if you're going to muscle failure with high reps, you're probably failing due to lactic acid buildup, i.e., you're using the glycolytic energy system too much. (Similar to going to failure on a tempo run, I think.) That's different from doing heavier weights and going to technical failure, which is when you can no longer do a lift with good form. It is of course dangerous to go to physical failure with heavier free weights on things like the bench and squat unless you have spotters or safety clips of some kind. In the past 6-12 months, I've only gone to physical failure once I think, just two weeks ago, when I overestimated my ability to do a deep squat. A lot of people recommend always leaving 'something in the tank,' and never going to failure, technical or physical. That's pretty much my approach.

    I've always hated high reps, and now, after reading around, I think my intuitions or laziness are supported by science, to the extent that I understand it anyway. For a novice level, perhaps 8-12 reps might be safer, I'm not sure, but in any case, two minutes sounds excessive to me. Just my two cents.

    It should be easy to do presses with dumbbells. Josh and I discussed this just a half page up or so. For rows, my favorite row by far is the one-handed bentover dumbbell row (opposite knee and hand on bench), although I like cable rows too. It's only recently that I have been taking the bentover barbell row seriously, because so many people on the meathead sites say they're essential. I'm still not completely sold, but I'll give them a try for a while longer, either with strict, "Pendlay" form (90 degree angle), or loose, "cheating" form 45-60 degree angle).

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  12. Sid Barefooters

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    Yeah, so the sweet spot is somewhere between 18-60 lbs. I'll have to play with it a bit. My goal is to carry enough weight during my walk with the dogs, to serve as a warmup and prime the legs for the run afterwards, but not enough to tire me out that I need a rest break.

    I would run with the dogs, but our gaits/speed don't match up, due to different leg lengths, number of legs, species, fur/skin heat dissipation, etc.

    I think that high cadence, short stride is okay for beginners transitioning, but I think that lengthening the stride is the next step. I don't like to obsess over cadence or HR, so I can't say whether or not my cadence is actually decreasing as the stride lengthens.
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  13. mokaman Chapter Presidents
    1. Georgia

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    I'm definitely doing low reps hi intensity like 3 - 7 range but each rep is very slow around 20 seconds per rep and only one set per week for each exercise. The reason for the slow reps is limit the momentum advantage of a faster rep akin to lightening the weight...I have no first hand knowledge if this true or not of course but the basic idea is if you move faster than its slightly easier so a consistent rep speed may be good as a reference when the strength gains are very slow.

    I like Maffetone on his aerobic base building stuff but I'm not sure about the his strength workout idea's...I'll find out how works for me...I'm mostly looking for best bang for time spend weight training at this point.

    I think this is one of drawbacks of HIT style weight training is the need for spotters to do it with barbells or be a daredevil.

    Barbell bentover rows have given me back aches in the past so I'm a bit gun shy on those but the one-handed bentover dumbbell row and cable rows look worth checking into also Abide's horizontal gym ring rows need a look too since I have a set of gym rings already. On the press exercises with dumbbells how do you balance out the left/right side differences? Do you do the weak side first to see how many reps you will do for the strong side?

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  14. Sid Barefooters

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    I do a minimalist strength workout twice a day about 15 min each. I do one exercise at a time.
    1 warmup set at about 30% of my workset weight, about 8-10 reps
    1 warmup set at about 60% of my workset weight, about 8-10 reps
    1-2 min rest. 1st workset, about 4-8 reps
    3-5min rest. 2nd workset, about 4-8 reps
    3-5min rest. 3rd workset, about 4-8 reps

    This is based on the research posted a few pages back and this one below.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19691365
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  15. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    I'm definitely doing low reps hi intensity like 3 - 7 range but each rep is very slow around 20 seconds per rep and only one set per week for each exercise. The reason for the slow reps is limit the momentum advantage of a faster rep akin to lightening the weight...I have no first hand knowledge if this true or not of course but the basic idea is if you move faster than its slightly easier so a consistent rep speed may be good as a reference when the strength gains are very slow.

    I think there are reasons for not doing the reps so slow, but I can't remember them right now, and I'm just about out the door for my run. A naturalistic approach would also suggest not spending too much time at the beginning and end of the lift, when the muscles are weakest. It should probably be slower at the "sticking point," when you have the least leverage and are employing the most fibers in the middle of the muscle. In any case, I've always found a good solid effort, not too slow, not too fast works best. The number of reps and weight should be such that you can do all your reps at about the same tempo. If you can do 3-7 reps all super fast or super slow you probably need to add more weight, it seems to me.

    I like Maffetone on his aerobic base building stuff but I'm not sure about the his strength workout idea's...I'll find out how works for me...I'm mostly looking for best bang for time spend weight training at this point.

    I recall reading somewhere that Maffetone prohibits anaerobic exercise during the base-building phase, but I haven't read any of that stuff for at least a year, so I could be remembering it wrong. I think running will definitely interfere with ST though, but I don't care. I aim to be mediocre in both!

    I think this is one of drawbacks of HIT style weight training is the need for spotters to do it with barbells or be a daredevil.

    Yah, seems to me that HIIT training should be done unweighted, with box jumps or burpees and the like.

    Barbell bentover rows have given me back aches in the past so I'm a bit gun shy on those but the one-handed bentover dumbbell row and cable rows look worth checking into also Abide's horizontal gym ring rows need a look too since I have a set of gym rings already. On the press exercises with dumbbells how do you balance out the left/right side differences? Do you do the weak side first to see how many reps you will do for the strong side?[/quote]

    Yah, barbell bentover rows are tricky and risky if done improperly and/or with too much weight. I'm still debating whether they're worth it. Might be better just to do cable rows, in addition to my DB rows, which I love. The inverted rows with rings or a bar are good but keep in mind that your body has to work harder at stabilizing 'the core' which may limit the targeted muscles' ability to express strength. The DB bentover row is great because the torso is supported by the opposite knee and hand and there's little need for stabilization. So you can really work the targeted muscles to their full force.

    For all dumbbell exercises except the db bench press, I like to alternate hands, beginning with the weak side, my left, and often ending with it too, so that it gets 1-3 more reps than my right side (doing 1 to 3 sets).

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  16. Sid Barefooters

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    My understanding is that slow reps and negatives are usually done to overcome plateaus. If one is making gains, then there's no need (unless there's a sport specific reason for doing things slower?)
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  17. mokaman Chapter Presidents
    1. Georgia

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    Whats wrong with slow reps? The basis of the slow reps is keeping momentum down to not make the rep easier by speeding up the rep and also makes it so a lesser weight is needed to get the same amount of intensity. I haven't done any negative reps yet so not sure what that is about.

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  18. Sid Barefooters

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    Umm...nothing? Sounds like slow reps are doing exactly what you want them to do for you. :D
  19. Sid Barefooters

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  20. Sid Barefooters

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    Although, if you are getting bored, then sure, switch things up. :D
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