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Maxwell's Marathon Training: Strength

Running is often believed to be purely about endurance, or aerobic fitness, but muscular strength also plays a major role. Strength exercises are important to create good running form, avoid injury, and become a more balanced runner.

Leg strength is vitally important for runners, as it helps reduce ground contact times and reduce injury risks, but it’s also important to develop the key muscles of the core, which include the transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques and the erector spinae. Running involves a balance of powerful movements, it’s a complex activity and you need a strong foundation. Any weakness or imbalance within the muscles of the body, including the core, can lead to a decrease in efficient movement. If you’re not running efficiently you’re using up too much energy, you’ll fatigue quicker and your body will make compensatory movements which can lead to increased strain on muscles, ligaments and tendons. Increased strain causes overuse and can ultimately lead to injury and lay off from training.

It is important in running that specific strength training be used to build a strength foundation. A key part of the strength program is stability and core work, providing you with strength through the hips, knees and ankles, which are also the areas are most likely to have running related injuries occur.

Layered over the deep stabilising muscles are dynamic slings which both counter the effects of gravity and carry the large external loads associated with dynamic function. We will look at how to efficiently recruit the posterior, anterior and lateral dynamic muscular/fascial slings of the body to optimise three-dimensional function for work,
daily activity or sporting function.

From our needs analysis and movement screening predominantly single leg movements and core strengthening exercises have been selected for the first phase of strength program. Exercises like split squats, wedge step ups and single leg curls have been chosen in this phase of the program to help build strength and stability around the knee, ankle and feet and also help to correct the bilateral imbalances which were identified in the movement screen.

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