In this episode of the A to Z Running podcast Zach and Andi reveal the best ways to build leg strength as runners.
Keep listening for world records in the world of running segment!
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MAIN TOPIC: Ways to Build Leg Strength.
In this episode of the A to Z Running Podcast we discuss the physiology of leg strength, ways to build leg strength, and ways runners can put it together to build leg strength that will help with running. From hill running, drills, functional movement, and weightlifting, we discuss all of it.
The Physiology of Leg Strength
What makes up leg strength?
- Muscles – fast twitch fibers vs. slow twitch fibers
- Functional movement
- Coordination, stability, precision
The Ways to Build Leg Strength
Jogging → supports structural development and muscular endurance
Hill running → great for building power and muscular strength
High volume easy running → capillary development
Outside of Running
Precision drills → wiring proper movement paths (muscle memory)
Stability and coordination exercises → strengthening the muscles that support running motion
Functional movement exercises → strengthening and stabilizing the muscles performing the running motion
Plyometric and bodyweight lifting → power and precision strength building
Weightlifting → power and capacity strength building
How to Put It All Together
Priority #1: Precision and Structural Integrity
- Wiring proper motion paths is key
- Takes more or less work depending on how bad current habits are
- Something all runners should be doing regularly for the rest of their lives
- Best means of doing this is through deliberate precision drills, pre-run activation
- We love Dave Hodgkinson’s Dynamic Activation (Warmup Routine)
- At the same time, the running side of things includes a whole lot of jogging
- The goal is load, the higher the better (within reason)
- Need to build slowly enough to avoid excessive stress, but not as slowly as conventional wisdom often states (so long as effort is low)
- While focusing on building leg strength, all efforts should remain minimal in order to grow resilience
Priority #2: Functional Movement & Stability
- Either at the same time or after getting started a bit with the running side of things
- This kind of work should be oriented around addressing each of the key areas for runners
- (1) Back/trunk (posture)
- (2) Hip girdle/upper leg
- (3) Foot/ankle/lower leg
- Exercises should be both addressing the functional movement of running and the supporting or stabilizing muscles and groups
- Often more emphasis is placed on the eccentric phase of an exercise vs. the concentric
- Example: while the functional movement aspects of the hip focus on anterior/posterior linear motion, the stabilizing aspects might involve rotational as well as lateral forces
- Check out our Stationary Leg Strength workout for a great yet simple routine.
Priority #3: Power and Explosion
- Often considered the least valuable to distance runners
- Certainly the last ingredient in terms of priority but not at all worthless
- The reason for this placement is that these kinds of workouts are substantially more valuable and even potentially less dangerous when performed after other strengthening work has occurred
- Greater risk of injury as well as substantial fatigue or soreness (and disruption to training)
- What is the benefit? Increased muscle output also helps improve efficiency
- Value increases the faster the race effort
- These include hill running, plyometrics workouts, and weightlifting
- For hill running, most of the benefit is best achieved with sustained uphill repeats
- Can increase the benefit with plyometric-type springing and bounding on hills (WARNING: this is very high-risk, especially for older runners or injury-prone athletes)
- General plyometrics are also effective and can reduce the risk (consider this Leg Strength Circuit example
- Note about weightlifting: to achieve this purpose, we recommend a high weight, low rep approach with substantial rest periods (at least 2-3minutes) between stimuli
Check out the complete AtoZrunning article with leg strength exercises, “Leg Strength Workout for Runners.”
WORLD OF RUNNING
AtoZrunners… Chad 24hr race Farmdaze 3rd male with 107.730 Miles
#1. Jakob Ingebrigtsen Breaks First World Record
- Jakob set a new 1500m Indoor World Record at the 2022 Athletics Indoor Tour in Liévin with a time of 3:30.60..
- Set against the world record holder at the time, Samuel Tefera, Ingebrigtsen broke Samuel Tefera’s 1,500m record by half a second.Samuel Tefera, ended up with 2nd place in a time of 3:33.70
- Jakob’s training is being overseen by his brother Henrik after Gjert Ingebrigtsen stepped down from coaching his kids a couple months ago.
#2. USATF Track & Field 100 Mile National Championship
- Camille Herron set a new 100 Mile World Record in 12:41:11, beating her own mark of 12:42:40.
- First race as a masters runner
- Overall winner of the USA Track & Field 100 Mile National Championship.
- 12 Hour World Record in ~94.5 miles.
- 100 mile win was at a 7:37 min/ mile pace.
- Herron topped her previous WR set FIVE YEARS AGO at Tunnel Hill (2017). While this is a fast course, it has elevation (~ couple thousand ft over 100 miles).
- Previous podcast Guest Stefanie Flippin was 3rd place.
#3. Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon
- Eilish McColgan broke Paula Radcliffe’s 21-year-old British half marathon record at Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.
- Eilish ran 66:26 over Paula’s 66:47.
- She also broke her mother Liz McColgan’s Scottish record which was 67:11.
- Ethiopia’s Girmawit Gebrzihair Gebru won in a course record 1:04:14 over Helen Obiri. Helen ran a personal best time of 64:22.
Keely Hodgkinson broke the British 800m Indoor Record in a time of 1:57.20. Keely tore her quad early January, fastest indoor 800m time in the World in 20 years.
- Interested in a training plan and/or coaching? We offer personalized support to help you achieve your goals!KEEP LISTENING
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