10 STRENGTH TRAINING RULES FOR THE ENDURANCE ATHLETE
1. Start with the Basics – Plyometrics, single leg balancing on Bosu balls and complexed exercises have their place once you have mastered the groundwork. Just because you are 'fit' doesn't mean that you can achieve everything that you see on Instagram! Our 3 step method Mobility, Activation & Strength contain the essential foundations you require for everyday health and performance.
2. Select Whole Body Exercises – Train using exercises that relate to whole body movement patterns and that can be related to your sport. The strength and neuromuscular improvements on offer from exercises such as the squat and deadlift outweigh anything delivered by isolation exercises.
3. Single Side Exercises - Don’t avoid your weaknesses. Identify your imbalances and any weaknesses that could be leading to injury, then train accordingly. Single side (unilateral) variations are important for developing stability and targeting imbalances, which is important for increasing overall efficiency. When doing single side exercises, start with your weaker side first.
4. Reps have a Purpose - There are ideal exercise repetitions and set ranges for achieving different muscular training effects. When starting out, a rep range of 8-10 is great for conditioning and getting familiar with the exercises. When we are looking to develop strength and power a heavier resistance for 6 or less reps will elicit the best changes.
5. Schedule Mindfully - Regardless of how much time you have, your strength sessions should last no longer than 40-45 minutes. If doing a complete strength session we recommend performing it on your less demanding days, to allow you to complete all sessions with quality. If you are doing a Mobility or Activation session, they can be a great warm-up to prep your body for your swim, bike or run.
6. How Often? – Look to include at least two strength sessions a week for consistent, effective results. Again, these sessions should last no longer than 45 minutes. Make good use of your time and select the most effective exercises for your individual needs.
7. Progression – If you are still doing the same Physio exercises or weights that you were doing 3 years ago chances are you won’t be seeing much improvement in your performance. Progressive overload is a must to ensure that we don’t plateau. Re-asses your programs after 4-6 weeks, if you’ve been working consistently your weights/time under tension or reps should be changing.
8. Don’t Train Fatigued – Overtraining and fatigue is coming amongst endurance athletes and when strength training will only lead poor technique, especially if you don't have anyone watching you, increasing the likelihood of injury. Sometime you have to be smart and learn to know when to rest.
9. Rest – An often overlooked factor, but must be valued – keep strength sessions at least 48 hours apart to allow for adaptation. Rest is also important DURING the session. Endurance athletes are notoriously poor at this, so make sure you are taking adequate rest during the session (this will vary depending on the intensity/load/reps).
10. Simplicity is Best – Steer clear of new fads and gimmicks and stick to the basics. Simple functional exercises are guaranteed to be effective and produce long lasting results.