Gradually more and more endurance athletes who know the benefits of strength training and who consider it a fundamental part of their planning. However, there is still a custom among these athletes to focus all their workouts on aerobic endurance, forgetting -or at best dedicating little time- to strength training despite the benefits that it can bring to both performance and of injury prevention.
Strength training can help correct dysmetria and postural deficiencies caused by the large volumes of training performed, thus decreasing the risk of injury. In fact, a meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sport Medicine (Lauersen et al., 2014) that included 26,610 participants found that strength training decreases up to 50% of overuse injuries. On the contrary, other more famous strategies such as stretching or proprioception exercises (for example, with unstable surfaces such as a bosu) did not bring benefits.
As shown by studies led by various Spanish groups such as Dr. Gonzalez-Badillo, perform strength training at the maximum possible speed and trying to lose the minimum speed during each series (i.e., avoiding fatigue and moving away from muscle failure ) will mean greater performance improvement, less muscle mass gain and less fatigue, which will allow us to perform better in later sessions (González-Badillo et al., 2017). For example, these researchers (Pareja-Blanco et al., 2016) compared the effects of performing strength training losing 20 or 40% of speed during each series of strength (that is, stopping the series being farther or closer to the muscle failure) and saw that performing the exercises until greater fatigue (greater number of repetitions and greater loss of speed) implied a lower performance gain and greater muscular hypertrophy.
In summary, strength training can improve performance in endurance athletes and also reduce the risk of injury, being more effective than other commonly used strategies such as stretching. To obtain the greatest benefits it is advisable to perform the concentric part of the exercises at maximum speed and try to accumulate as little fatigue as possible (that is, lose little speed) during each series, this will allow us not to excessively increase muscle mass and power perform better in later sessions.
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• Damasceno, M. V, Lima Silva, A.E., Pasqua, L.A., Tricoli, V., Duarte, M., Bishop, D.J., Bertuzzi, R., Damasceno, M. V, Pasqua, L.A., Bertuzzi, R., Lima-Silva, A.E., Tricoli, V., Duarte, M., Bishop, D.J., and Appl Physiol, E.J. 2015. Effects of resistance training on neuromuscular characteristics and pacing during 10 km running time trial. Eur J Appl Physiol 115(7): 1513–1522.
• González-Badillo, J.J., Sánchez-Medina, L., Pareja-Blanco, F., and Rodriguez-Rosell, D. 2017. La velocidad de ejecución como referencia para la programación, control y evaluación del entrenamiento de fuerza. Ergotech Consulting S.L., Murcia.
• Lauersen, J.B., Bertelsen, D.M., and Andersen, L.B. 2014. The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br. J. Sports Med. 48(11): 871–877. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092538.
• Pareja-Blanco, F., Rodríguez-Rosell, D., Sánchez-Medina, L., Sanchis-Moysi, J., Dorado, C., Mora-Custodio, R., Yáñez-García, J.M., Morales-Alamo, D., Pérez-Suárez, I., Calbet, J.A.L., and González-Badillo, J.J. 2016. Effects of velocity loss during resistance training on athletic performance, strength gains and muscle adaptations. Scand. J. Med. Sci. Sport. (1998): 1–12. doi:10.1111/sms.12678.