Strength & Power: Training Tools for Endurance Athletes

Endurance athletes require special training to ensure their muscles can support intense activity for extended periods of time. Many endurance athletes avoid the weight room with the mindset that additional muscle mass will slow them down. It may seem counterintuitive, but stronger muscles are actually what power the body to move faster, for longer.

At Core Results Personal Training, we train endurance athletes for two things: strength and power. The two elements go hand and hand. Strength drives power, and with more power, comes more speed. Similar to a car and its engine, stronger muscles generate more power. The more power you have, the faster you reach your destination.

This same analogy can be applied to any endurance sport, e.g., running, wrestling, paddling, climbing and more. Essentially, your performance in any physical activity, requiring repetitive use of the same muscles for a prolonged period of time, is greatly enhanced by investing time and energy into strengthening those muscles.

Cyclists, long distance runners, rowers and other endurance athletes already get plenty of cardio. By training for strength and power, endurance athletes can help avoid injury and accelerate faster recovery for any damage that does occur.

“When it comes to injury prevention, we especially focus on strengthening accessory muscles. We often have ‘quad dominant’ athletes, cyclists and runners, for instance, who come in with large quad muscles supported by small hamstrings and glutes. Our job is to design a well balanced program that brings everything up to par,” says Josh Hutchins, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and Owner of Core Results Personal Training.  

Quad dominance takes place when the quad muscles do the work of the hamstrings and glutes. It commonly occurs in long distance runners and results in bodily imbalance, heightened injury risk and hindered performance. With a well-balanced training program that raises accessory muscles up to par, endurance athletes can expect more speed and less susceptibility to muscular imbalance related injuries. 

These strength training exercises for endurance are sure to take you the distance:

One Leg Glute Bridge

If you are struggling with quad dominance, you are going to want to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes.

The one leg glute bridge is an excellent way to bring those accessory muscles up to par. Laying on the floor with your feet flat and legs bent, raise one leg up and pull your knee to your chest to start. Extend your hips upward and lift your glutes off of the ground. This exercise will feel natural to runners and bikers, as it mimics the drive phase.

Dumbbell Squats

When training for a marathon, triathlon or other long distance sport requiring major use of your leg muscles, dumbbell squats are a great way to build some serious horsepower. Dumbbell squats primarily strengthen your lower back, front thighs and gluteal muscle groups, then hamstrings and calves.

Find a comfortable dumbbell weight that works for you and work your way up. Three sets of ten is a good place to start. 

Resistance Band Row & Cable Row

The resistance band row and cable row strengthen the upper back muscles around your shoulders. Strengthening these muscles is key for maintaining good posture for long periods of time, e.g., long distance rowing and biking.

When doing the resistance band row or cable row, be sure to:

  • Stand tall holding the handles out front.
  • Drive your elbows back.
  • Focus on pinching your shoulder blades.
  • And don’t shrug!

Whether you are training to beat your best finish time or looking to increase your endurance overall, Core Results Personal Training will help you get there. Many of our personal trainers specialize in athletic training and have competed in national endurance competitions. Contact Core Results for your first FREE session today!

Categories: Endurance Training Strength Training