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  • Writer's picturePatrick Griffith

Home Strength Exercises for Runners

The gym is a place that can be intimidating and overwhelming for endurance athletes. The different equipment, types of strength training, and finding a gym can all be factors in avoiding the iron playground. As endurance athletes, we enjoy the simple process of lacing up the shoes or grabbing the bike and heading out the door. Strength training can often seem complex and requires more of our precious. Strength training is one of the best ways to improve as an endurance athlete, as it can prevent injuries, improve performance, and boost overall health.

Endurance athletes love to move in repetitive motions. Swimming, biking, running, and Nordic skiing all involve using your body in a similar plane of motion for a long period of time.  Some of the most common types of injuries as endurance athletes are related to overuse. This overuse is often due to weakness of supporting muscles. One study found that athletes who performed an injury prevention strength training program increased improvements in muscular strength, power, and proprioceptive balance. Taking a proactive approach to preventing injury is a key component to any good strength training program. Working the smaller supporting muscles will not only prevent pesky injuries but will also allow you to sustain a high volume of training for a longer period of time.

As athletes, we are always looking for a way to gain an edge and achieve the next PR. One study found that strength training can improve muscle recruitment, neuromuscular function, and endurance capacity in both moderately trained and high-level endurance athletes. Strength training combined with aerobic activity can help you improve in both short and long-distance events. Similar to speed work, hills, and tempo sessions; strength training is equally important for getting the body into peak physical condition.  

Outside of our preferred endurance activities strength training is important in maintaining the body as we get older. Age is often correlated with a decrease in muscle mass, metabolism, and connective tissue strength among many other depressing things. However, as active people we can change those statistics. Aerobic activity is a great place to start but there are always better ways to

.  One study found that strength training in older adults can improve muscle strength, aerobic function, and functional capacity.

If you are looking for a strength training guide that can be done at home or your gym, check out the comprehensive 16-week e-book that will introduce you to a variety of strength movements to enhance endurance performance. If you want more guidance on strength training, check out some of the options at your local gym or if you live in the La Crosse area the group strength sessions.


(1) Soomro, N., Sanders, R., Hackett, D., Hubka, T., Ebrahimi, S., Freeston, J., & Cobley, S. (2016). The efficacy of injury prevention programs in adolescent team sports: a meta-analysis. The American journal of sports medicine44(9), 2415-2424.

(2) Aagaard, P., & Andersen, J. L. (2010). Effects of strength training on endurance capacity in top‐level endurance athletes. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports20, 39-47.

(3) Trombetti, A., Reid, K. F., Hars, M., Herrmann, F. R., Pasha, E., Phillips, E. M., & Fielding, R. A. (2016). Age-associated declines in muscle mass, strength, power, and physical performance: impact on fear of falling and quality of life. Osteoporosis international27(2), 463-471.

(4) Straight, C. R., Lindheimer, J. B., Brady, A. O., Dishman, R. K., & Evans, E. M. (2016). Effects of resistance training on lower-extremity muscle power in middle-aged and older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Sports Medicine46(3), 353-364.

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