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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

Runners, harmful weights myths busted

✋"Lifting weights will bulk you up"

🙅‍♀️"The lighter you are the faster you will be"

These are two widespread myths in the running community that are both incorrect and potentially harmful.

1️⃣ Contrary to popular belief, resistance training will NOT bulk you up. 💪 While resistance training can have hypertrophic effects, leading to an increase in body mass, this outcome is not typically observed in runners, as multiple studies have shown. Building significant muscle bulk is challenging and requires extensive training and substantial fueling, including high energy & protein intake. Just ask any bodybuilder! 🏋️ Runners who incorporate a few strength training sessions per week will not experience excessive muscle growth.

2️⃣ The notion that there is an "ideal" body weight for all runners and that "lighter is better" is both false and potentially harmful. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no one-size-fits-all ideal weight. 🚶‍♂️🏃‍♀️ Pursuing a lighter body can often lead to calorie restriction, which increases the risk of Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome (RED-S). RED-S can cause a range of health issues, including disruptions in menstrual cycles, illness, fatigue, poor performance, bone stress injuries, and more. 🤕 It is crucial to focus on overall health and well-being rather than an arbitrary weight standard. 🌟

In the running community, it's important to debunk the myths that resistance training will bulk you up and that lighter is always better. Strength training does not lead to excessive muscle growth in runners, and pursuing a lighter body can have detrimental health effects. Prioritising overall health and well-being is essential for optimal performance & longevity in the sport. 🏃‍♂️🏃‍♀️💪🌟

👋Runners & health professionals like & share this to help debunk these harmful myths

🤓Health professionals, to learn more about treating runners, check our upcoming Online & Face to Face “MAT Assessing the Runner” courses. 🔗






  • Alcaraz-Ibañez, M. and M. Rodríguez-Pérez (2018). "Effects of resistance training on performance in previously trained endurance runners: A systematic review." J Sports Sci 36(6): 613-629.

  • Barnes, K.R.; Hopkins, W.G.; Mcguigan, M.R.; Northuis, M.E.; Kilding, A.E. Effects of Resistance Training on Running Economy and Cross-Country Performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2013, 45, 2322–2331

  • Beattie, K.; Carson, B.P.; Lyons, M.; Rossiter, A.; Kenny, I.C. The Effect of Strength Training on Performance Indicators in Distance Runners. J. Strength Cond. Res. 2017, 31, 9–23 

  • Johnston, R.E.; Quinn, T.J.; Kertzer, R.; Vroman, N.B. Strength Training in Female Distance Runners: Impact on Running Economy. J. Strength Cond. Res. 1997, 11, 224–229.

  • Luckin-Baldwin, K.M.; Badenhorst, C.E.; Cripps, A.J.; Landers, G.J.; Merrells, R.J.; Bulsara, M.K.; Hoyne, G.F. Strength Training Improves Exercise Economy in Triathletes during a Simulated Triathlon. Int. J. Sports Physiol. Perform. 2021, 16, 663–673.

  • Støren, Ø.; Helgerud, J.; Støa, E.M.; Hoff, J. Maximal Strength Training Improves Running Economy in Distance Runners. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2008, 40, 1087–1092.

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