Runners: Time-saving tips for strength training
Updated: Sep 14, 2022
🏃♀️We know that for most runners, strength training can be a chore. But we also know the importance of doing it! So here are the top tips for saving time on your workouts, influenced by a recent 2021 review by Iverson et al.
🔑Prioritize target areas
🎯If you are injured or injury prone then ensure you include strength exercises to target these issues i.e. quads for knee pain, calf strength for Achilles tendinopathy
🎯If performance improvement is the goal then chase the big fish! Calves, quads & hamstrings do most of the work during distance running, so ensure you cover these.
🔑Sets & reps
🔎Microdosing: don't have time for 60min strength sessions? More frequent sessions of 15mins can be just as effective
🧮Aim for at least 4 sets per week of the target muscle group
😮💨Considering both high & low rep schemes can improve strength provided that INTENSITY is the same (i.e completing to near failure or 2 reps in reserve), to save time, put more load on & perform between 6-12 reps
🔑Multijoint or single joint (isolation) exercises?
🏋️♂️Whilst single joint, isolation exercises can help target deficiencies, to save time opt for multijoint exercises (i.e. squats & deadlifts) to work multiple muscle groups
🔑Bilateral vs unilateral exercises
🏋️We love unilateral exercises for runners, but they do require twice as much time, so bilateral exercises win out here to shorten your workout.
😴Whilst it might seem you are wasting time here, rest periods are important to build strength & hypertrophy
😴1-2 mins should be sufficient for most people
💪Exercises can be paired together to save time. They can either target the same or different muscle groups, although for runners we recommend pairing exercises that work different muscles i.e deadlifts and calf raises
🔑Shorten the warm-up & skip the cooldown
🥵General movement for the warm-up, or a lighter set if lifting heavy >80% RM
🥶Cool down can be skipped as it doesn't tend to reduce DOMS or injury risk
👋Runners & health professionals like this post if you learnt something & share it with your friends to save time!
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Iversen, V. M., et al. (2021). "No Time to Lift? Designing Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review." Sports Med 51(10): 2079-2095.