Thursday, August 20, 2009

videos: strength training (part 2)

note:  this is the 2nd in an ongoing, non-regular, non-periodic series on strength training in terms of endurance sports.  you can get part 1 here:

it surprises a fair number of newbies that endurance athletes integrate an element of strength training (alternatively, weight training) into their overall training schedules; not just as minor components, but often crucial ones.

this is pretty understandable. looking at the physiques of the elites and the professionals in endurance sports (triathlon, running, cycling, or swimming), you don't see much that corresponds to the common images of hulking Arnold Schwarzeneggar-types often associated with weight training. if anything, you'd think with all the lean, wiry, downright skinny bodies that there's actually a dearth of any strength work being done.

but this belies the truth. the key is to note the concept of sport-specific strength training. athletes in different sports develop physiques tailored to the demands of those sports, and so follow strength training programs that are specific to maximizing performance in them. the Arnold Schwarzeneggar-type bodies are created for the criteria used in bodybuilding, which focus on size, vascularity, and definition of muscles. Olympic track and field 100m sprinters have bodies built for maximum power generation over short distance and time intervals. likewise, endurance athletes need bodies with higher efficiency capable of sustaining power output with limited resources over extended distances and extended times.

this raises the question as to what kind of strength training--i.e., what kinds of exercises are appropriate for a strength training workout regimen specifically tailored for endurance athletes?

i managed to find a pretty good source that i think does a pretty good job of answering this question. it's from Pacific Elite Fitness, which appears to be a company providing personalized endurance-related fitness coaching and resources (i'm not affiliated with them in any way, and don't know anybody who is, so i'm just going off the info on their website). they have a library of strength training exercises, demonstrated in videos (all MOV format) and pictures. you can check them out:
it's not comprehensive, in that i've seen many other kinds of strength training exercises used for endurance sports (and most, if not all, are on Youtube). but it is expansive in terms of offering a wide variety of exercises working all aspects of the body through all ranges of motion in ways relevant for the demands of long distance competition.

i've taken some time to go through the exercises they have. some are quite challenging. some i like more than others. some i'll forego in exchange for others that i've seen on Youtube. but i think they're all beneficial, and all worth keeping in your library of training resources. my recommendation is to give them a try and decide for yourself which ones you find most productive--but be sure to allow several workouts with each one, since it takes a few weeks to get meaningful results.

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