As a Trainer and a Coach, I hear this pretty often from mostly endurance athletes.

Perhaps not as frequently as say 10 years ago, but often enough to realize there is a real aversion amongst many endurance athletes to lifting the old weights.

The first question that comes to mind is "Why does this aversion exist?".

There are possibly 2 answers to this question:
  1. The sheer volume of training that most Endurance athletes complete every week, does not leave a whole bunch more time for anything else in the way of training.
  2. The fear that being involved in a Resistance / Strength Training program will bulk them up, which in turn results in them become slower.
And even though both of these responses are completely valid, they do not nearly balance out the benefits derived from getting involved in Strength Training.

So why then should Endurance athletes get involved in Strength training?
  • Injury prevention - Not only will connective tissue (Ligaments, Tendons and Fascia) become stronger and less prone to injury, but assist in reducing the imbalance between Agonist and Antagonist muscle groups (Hamstrings VS Quadriceps), and help with Postural correction (Prehabilitation)
  • Improvement of Non-Cardio-Vascular / Cardio-Respiratory fitness components such as Balance, Proprioception, Co-ordination.
  • Increase in Lean Body Mass (Muscle mass) and reduction in Fat Mass (FM), which in turn increases your economy of movement and reduces the amount of "excess body weight" you have lug around while running, cycling or swimming.
  • Multi Planar + Multi Directional movements, are movements that require the body to move in directions other than the usual forward of running, cycling and swimming, and challenge movement patterns in front, behind and to the sides of the athlete.
So the bottom line here is that as the Northern hemisphere moves into Fall and Winter, there will be less opportunity (for most of us) to get outside and log up any significant mileage, so why not take this little bit extra time put it into Strength training.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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