6 Ways To Optimise Your ST Workouts
- Work Goal Specific:
ST programs should be designed according to your individual running goals. For e.g. If I have a race coming up with 3000 meters of elevation gain, I will include more weighted lunges and step-ups to simulate the climbs and single leg squats to prepare my legs for the longer descents. You should also target specific muscle weaknesses and keep in mind present injuries. A runner’s assessment can identify areas that need improvement and help set goals to transform you into a well-balanced runner.
- Choose Compound Movements:
A compound movement is any exercise that involves more than one joint and muscle group at a time. Compound exercise saves time, as you don’t need to train every individual muscle in isolation. A basic squat requires you to engage over 200 muscles and requires movement at the back, hip, knee and ankle, producing a full body effect.
- Perform Exercises in Running Specific Postures:
Running is a single leg sport. During running we support and balance our full body weight on one leg at a time. We repeatedly land on one leg and propel of again with the same leg before the opposite foot strikes the ground. To oversimplify; running can thus be broken down into a lot of single leg squats (landing) and calf raises (push-off). By performing ST exercises in running specific, single leg postures will optimize training and directly translate into better running form.
- High Load, Low Reps:
A small volume of high-quality strength training is enough to stimulate change in the tissues. The research recommends that we perform one set of 8-10 reps of each goal exercise.
- Stop When Form Deteriorates:
Your technique needs to be perfect for 2 reasons:
- Poor technique causes unwanted stress on joints and soft tissue structures, increasing your risk of injury.
- Poor technique will reinforce incorrect movement patterns that will translate into your running as poor form.
As soon as you are too tired to finish a perfect rep, rather stop and move on to the next exercise. First develop good technique before introducing more weight.
- Mix it up:
As you improve, introduce new exercises, to continue challenging the neuromuscular pathways to learn and strengthen. The squat can be progressed in 3 different ways: Add more weight (barbell squat), move through more range (deep squats) or add a balance component (squat on a bosu ball).
The main barrier to overcome when implementing a strength-training program is finding time to do it. If you follow the principles above and commit to 20 minutes twice a week and you will see the benefits.
by Tarrin van Niekerk