Are you a runner or cyclist who has hummed and hawed about resistance training, but cast it aside because it doesn’t seem relevant to your sport? Well this blog post is for you. For decades research has been done looking at whether incorporating resistance training into a training regime improves performance in endurance type events (e.g. running and cycling). Although a lot of the research has been in favour of resistance training, some athletes and coaches still remain set in their ways. I thought I’d summarise two recent systematic reviews (which summarise and compare a variety of good studies on the topic) found in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning that show favourable results for adding resistance training into a regime for anyone still on the fence.
The first review looked specifically at running. They looked at studies that included highly trained runners who underwent a concurrent resistance training program greater than 6 weeks while training. They found that concurrent resistance training improved running economy among the runners by almost 5%. That means that the runners were able to perform the same amount of work with less effort.
The second review looked at cycling. Out of the five studies they reviewed, three found that replacing some of the time the cyclists spent cycling with resistance training improved their performance. The other two added resistance training on top of cycling time which the authors believed may have been too much volume discarding any benefit they may have gotten.
So overall, if you’re looking to improve your running or cycling performance, and want to try something different, it looks as though resistance training is a safe bet. Next time someone tells you it’ll slow you down or make you too bulky, don’t be afraid to show them these two articles or the several other ones floating around that demonstrate otherwise.