Cross-Training by Lifting Weights – that’s the title of a New York Times article I found online. I like to peruse the Health section of the NY Times in an attempt to stay abreast of what mainstream people are reading regarding the health/fitness industry. Why the NY Times? They present researched information and, it seems, are genuinely interested in helping those attempting to navigate through all things Health related (not trick them into buying products or creating anxiety by twisting facts).
You may want to know if I read “muscle magazines” too – I do not… generally speaking, they’re all full of absolute nonsense.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“A more recent study of experienced runners by a group of Norwegian researchers confirmed that weight lifting could increase performance. One group did half squats with heavy weights three times a week while continuing a running program. The other group just ran. Those who did the squats improved their running efficiency and improved the length of time they could run before exhaustion set in…
… It is not known why weight lifting would improve performance, but investigators speculate that it may train supporting muscle fibers in the legs, allowing runners or cyclists to use them to augment muscles that get tired.”
Did you read the bolded portions?... I’ll wait while you read it again and let it sink in a bit…
1. It IS known why weight lifting improves performance even in “experienced” (code for endurance) runners: strength training improves endurance by improving the mechanisms responsible for improving running economy. Things like posture, leg turnover, reducing perceived effort, reducing injuries, improving speed (especially up hills and on uneven terrain) are all the amazing and, apparently, “not known” by-products of a strength training program.
2. Can you imagine the improvements that would have been recorded by having this group use a program that involved more than just 3x/week of half-squats? Well, I can! If this programming were in the hands of an experienced professional strength coach, this group of test subjects could look forward to getting way more bang-for-their-buck. A periodized plan containing unilateral (see example video below) and other accessory movements plus special physical preparation exercises would no doubt blow the control group out of the water!
The NY Times makes a great effort to present unbiased information, but I would love to see more depth in their fitness articles. The research already exists and their readers can handle it!
If you’re ready to join the mighty training ranks of SAPT and be guided by a group of coaches that is not the least bit surprised by the above findings, then don't wait one more second and contact us here!