Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Why lift weigths for running?

One of the reasons runners trash their knees and ankles as they get older, is because of a lack of muscular support around the knee joint. Another factor is running on hard surfaces, but today we’ll deal with muscular support.
The body works in a very synergistic fashion, different parts working together. The knee joint is not meant to work on it’s own to absorb impact and create movement. Therefore it does not make any sense to push it too it’s limits, and offer it no help.
I routinely run in to endurance athletes who do little if any weight training. The ones who do often do not know why they do it, it is only because they think they are supposed to.
I have already laid out the basic idea, that in order to assist your knee joint and make it stronger to absorb impact, you want to strengthen the knee joint’s support system, which is the muscle around it.
In addition, by making the legs stronger you are reducing the number of times the foot strikes the ground, and therefore lessening the shock. Let’s say it takes you 30 total foot strikes to cover one hundred feet. If your legs were stronger and able to propel you farther and faster, your strike number may drop down to 27 per 100 feet.
This is similar to how we bring the resting heart rate down through exercise, thus reducing the total workload over a lifetime and extending the longevity of the heart.
While lifting weights is good, focusing on compound movements or kettlebells is even better, as it has a stronger effect on the connective tissue than smaller piece like doing leg extensions or one arm dumbbell curls.
So lift some weights already.

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