Endurance Athletes Need Strength Too

Being an endurance athlete doesn’t mean just logging countless hours of running, biking, skiing, swimming and so on.  In order to maximize your potential as an endurance athlete, it is crucial to incorporate strength training into your regimen.

Doing my best impression of a clean and jerk

Doing my best impression of a clean and jerk

From my educational and professional backgrounds, I am fortunate to have some knowledge base as to what we, endurance athletes, should be doing in the gym while lifting the heavy stuff.  However, I’ve still found it beneficial to receive further consultation from the strength training experts.

I have started to incorporate full squats with weight and olympic lifts (clean and jerk and snatch) into my schedule.  Working on the form and the movements associated with each lift is a continuous process.  Although I joke around with my buddy Brian (strength coach) about lifting the “weenie weights,” I’ve still noticed improvements in elements such as ascending hills on the trails.

About to warm up for the ol' squat routine

About to warm up for the ol’ squat routine

The squat routine warm-up continues. On the way up.

The squat routine warm-up continues. On the way up.

While I’m sure this is due to a combination of better strength and better aerobic fitness, I know the work I’m putting in is paying off.  Lifting weights doesn’t have to mean bodybuilding and more endurance athletes need to realize that.  Between functional weight lifting (performing combination movements with some form of weight), full squats, olympic lifts and even an ocassional crossfit style workout, my body feels sturdy when facing tougher sections on the trails and I’ve even noticed improvements in recovery.

I want to share an article that a personal friend and a very knowledgeable strength coach has written regarding the importance of strength training for endurance athletes.  I have worked with Brian Tabor in the weight room and in the classroom (grad school) and he knows his stuff.

Please take 5 minutes to read his post on http://strongmadesimple.com.  The direct link is provided below.  And for those endurance athletes out there…don’t worry, you won’t get big and bulky just by reading this article.