We all know how important it is to maintain our strength for running, however, I often see masters athletes neglect or over complicate their strength and conditioning training. Over many years of strength training I have become aware how important it is to keep my strength training simple. I have used many different training methods and exercises and have now eliminated many exercises from my current workouts. I have narrowed this down to approximately 10-15 basic exercises that I have found to be the most effective for running and injury prevention. (More about these exercises in the next few weeks)
I pretty much use the same exercises all year round through the different training phases, General Conditioning, Pre Comp and Competition. The only things that change during each phase is the load, the speed of of the exercise, number of repetitions, number of sets and the combination of exercises. As an example in my general conditioning phase I may do a standard back squat to get my basic leg strength up and as I progress into the pre comp phase I will move to the more specific single leg squat. I may still include both exercises in this phase however I may decrease the weight of the standard back squat and increase the speed.
Many athletes over complicate their strength training with exercises they technically can’t perform or don’t understand their correct function. They try and perform exercises that are way above their ability and training skill. You need to build a sound base using basic exercises first. Just like a house needs good foundations so does your body. It is no good trying to do a walking lunge with weights and wobbling all over the place if you can’t perform a static lunge with good form. I often hear athletes wanting to do olympic lifts without ever asking themselves the question why. It’s usually because the heard that “so and so” does them or they saw it on You Tube. Do you want to become an Olympic weightlifter or a runner? I am not saying that olympic lifts are not good exercises however it take years of practice to perform these exercises correctly. Ask yourself or a qualified person is there another safer exercise that I can do to get the same or similar benefits that requires less skill.
Training should be systematic, progressive and consistent The same phases that are applied to your running phases should be applied to your strength and conditioning phases.