Strength training for endurance sports

Our friends from (Quality Performance Lab tell us in this article whats benefits of strength training for endurance sports.

It is well known the importance of strength training in athletes who compete in the discipline of resistance, although a priori it may seem that it is not something necessary, if it is.

Why do strength training for endurance sports?

The main reasons to make a good strength training If you are an endurance athlete, they are:

  • Performance improvement West. Owen, Cunningham and Kilduff (2011)
  • Injury prevention. Medina and Lorente (2016)
  • Improvement in the efficiency of the athlete. Sunde et al. (2010)

The “how to do it” is more important than “what to do it for”

The problem with strength training is not so much the what is it for, something that is more than clear, if not in how to do it, since resistance athletes who trained with loads usually "complained" that they became "slow" or heavy and gave up quickly.

This is because of how they trained since above all the methods for improving Hypertrophy were known and not so much how to train for other types of disciplines.

That problem comes from the interference that is generated when you want to improve a quality of strength with one of resistance that are not "compatible", and it is called concurrent training García-Pallarés and Izquierdo (2011).

So if you want to do a Maximum Force work with high loads And you also want to improve the VT2 zone (Second Threshold), probably one of the two training objectives or both, will be affected, expending energy in training without seeing the expected results.

It must be clear how to work the force to integrate it into the planning

The important thing is to know within the strength, what you want to train, how to train it and what not to "mix" in your resistance training, since many times out of ignorance, an endurance athlete train in the wrong way in terms of loads, number of repetitions, breaks and exercises indicated.

It is not the same to want to improve in muscular hypertrophy, as in maximum strength or RFD (force applied to movement).

For each aspect of strength that we want to improve, there are training methods as defined by Badillo and Ayestarán (2002), but we opted to be for the training for speed of execution .

For this we can use new technologies such as a speed encoder (Tforce, Speed ​​4 Lift ...) or in case you don't have it, work with the effort character (CE) which is the subjective perception of how many repetitions you leave without doing until muscle failure as in Badillo (2017).

Some recommendations

Our general recommendations for strength training based on a literature review and your own experience as coaches are as follows:

Do not neglect Plyometric training,

It is a very important part of Flanagan and Comyns (2008) training.

Always use the maximum execution speed

Always use the maximum execution speed when executing the exercises Badillo (2017).

You have to think that in sports you need to generate a lot of strength in a short time. Think about the amount of force that a marathon runner generates with each step to keep up with his pace, and how little time his foot is in contact with the ground.

Be careful with the load you use

Una very high load can backfire for your training.

For endurance sports like Triathlon with work at 60% - 80% of maximum load that you can move (1RM) or an effort character between 8 (20) to 6 (10) can serve you.

If you are lucky enough to use your speed encoder, you will see that each exercise has an execution speed associated with a% of the load you are moving. This depends on your experience and discipline.

You don't need a high number of repetitions,

With doing Between 4 and 8 repetitions depending on the weight and the objective, it will serve you.

If we talk about loss of speed, between a 5% loss if you are working more "explosive" and 15% if you are looking for work closer to maximum strength. The reason is due to the accumulation of ammonium in the blood. Badillo and Ribas (2019).

With these tips, you can understand what may be the best way to do a strength training depending on the phase of the season you are in, but the most important thing is that you put yourself or are in the hands of a qualified professional.

Further information:


Badillo, JJG (2017). The speed of execution as a reference for the programming, control and evaluation of strength training. Pamplona: Ergotech. Badillo, JJG, and Ribas, J. (2019). Strength, speed and physical and sports performance. Madrid: ESMSL Badillo, JJG, and Serna, JR (2002). Bases of strength training programming (Vol. 308). Barcelona: Inde.

Flanagan, EP, and Comyns, TM (2008). The use of contact time and the reactive strength index to optimize fast stretch-shortening cycle training. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 30 (5), 32-38. García-Pallarés, J., and Izquierdo, M. (2011). Strategies to optimize concurrent training of strength and aerobic fitness for rowing and canoeing. Sports Medicine, 41 (4), 329-343.

Jimenez, A. (2008). New dimensions in strength training: applying new methods, resources and technologies / New dimensions in strength training: applying new methods, resources and technologies. Editorial Inde.

 Medina, J. Á., And Lorente, VM (2016). Evolution of injury prevention in training control. Arch Med Deport, 33 (1), 37-58.

Sunde, A., Støren, Ø., Bjerkaas, M., Larsen, MH, Hoff, J., and Helgerud, J. (2010). Maximal strength training improves cycling economy in competitive cyclists. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24 (8), 2157-2165. doi: 10.1519 / JSC.0b013e3181aeb16a

West, DJ, Owen, NJ, Cunningham, DJ, Cook, CJ, and Kilduff, LP (2011). Strength and power predictors of swimming starts in international sprint swimmers. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25 (4), 950-955. doi: 10.1519 / JSC.0b013e3181c8656f
Israel Pinto and Mario Castellanos
@israelpintoendurancecoach @

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