The Importance of Strength Training in Endurance Sport

Traditionally, strength training is seen as a medium to get bigger and lift heavier weights, which may not be enticing for endurance athletes.

This common misconception leads athletes to not take advantage of a big piece of the pie when it comes to improving endurance performance.

There are 3 main ways to improve endurance performance:

  1. Become more aerobically efficient through aerobic based training
  2. Recovering well to be able to back up training through a variety of recovery strategies including sleep and nutrition
  3. Improving physical strength and movement efficiency through specific strength training
Strength Training Endurance Sport

The primary goal of strength training in endurance sports is to increase the availability of the athlete. Athletes who are constantly sore or injured spend more time away from training, resulting in reduced opportunities to improve aerobic performance.

Referring to swim, bike and run, athletes spend most of their time addressing the first piece of the pie, aerobic performance. As aerobic capacity increases, athletes can perform the same intensity at a lower percentage of their max capacity leading to a delayed onset of fatigue.

Similarly, strength training aims to improve an athlete’s capacity to tolerate their training load.

In theory, if athletes are stronger, each step forward, each pedal stroke or each swim stroke becomes less of an effort relative to their maximum capacity. As a result, this will most likely result in a reduced risk of overload injuries.

Building capacity and tolerance through strength training can occur through different forms of strength training including but not limited to:

  • Max strength to improve the capacity of our muscles
  • Plyometric training to increasing tendon stiffness commonly targeting the achilles tendon to absorb force efficiently during landing and prolusion in running 
  • Isolated joint strengthening. Eg. rotator cuff band work to increase shoulder stability

Once our primary goal is addressed, athletes can focus on using gym based training to improve performance. This includes focusing on the amount of force the athlete can produce, the rate that the force is applied and the direction and coordination of that force application.

By focusing on developing the quality of force, specific to swim, bike and run, athletes become more efficient in swimming, cycling and running.

At Precision Athletica, our Strength and Conditioning team focus on developing athletes’ strength and force production through a variety of training methods. Working hand in hand, our Exercise Physiology team focus on improving movement patterns to ensure that the strength that athletes develop are applied in a coordinated manner to increase movement efficiency.

If you would like to know more about Strength Training for Endurance Sport, please contact our Exercise Physiologist Justin Trang.

How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Athletica for Help?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call our bookings team to schedule a session:

Online Consultations

Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!

To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.

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