Should an endurance athlete lift weights?
We could leave it at that but it wouldn’t really be a blog post. We could do this on our instagram account instead (@missiontriathlon).
If you have been doing any form of endurance sport for the past 5+ years you will have probably dabbled in the gym over winter and then forgotten all about it as soon as the season approaches. Mistake number one.
The classic we hear is athletes saying they do not want to ‘bulk up’. Think about this. You are doing on average over 10 hours of cardio based exercise each (swim, bike, run), not eating a body building diet or taking specific supplements and not following a body building workout plan (we hope). How are you going to bulk up?
In several tests and analyses, endurance athletes who follow a structured training plan can expect to see improvements in reduced energy cost per movement and maximal power and strength increase. Effectively increasing muscle economy and threshold limits.
Don’t just focus on the muscles, mistake number two. Think about all of the connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and your skeletal structure that is enhanced and strengthened through following a strength and conditioning plan. The net result of this is making your body more resilient to injury. We like to call it making yourself bullet proof!
The amount of people we have worked with over the years who after six months + suddenly realise and comment that their old niggling injury has gone or their tendency to be injured has reduced significantly. Obviously you cannot prevent all injuries and they can happen in the gym just as much as whilst out training or racing. By following a structured training plan based around your testing and feedback you can reduce the risk by a large percentage.
Mistake number three, doing the same shit day after day. When athletes finally undertake a training plan they go onto google, pick up an old copy of men’s health, speak to a bodybuilding friend or PT who doesn’t understand the demands of the sport you live and breath and repeat the same workout day after day. After a few weeks you will see some improvements but it stops there. Your body adapts quickly to new stimulus when training and this is why it’s important to cycle your sessions in the gym and more importantly make the workouts specific to the sport you do.
If in doubt please feel free to ask.
So the season is drawing to a close. Make sure you start to consider lifting weights and speak to a specialist who can help you get a bullet proof body.