Running can have a whole slew of great impacts on your body. It can help you lose weight and grow fit, it can give you those killer abs that are much desired, it can shape up your body and your posture to make you look taller or even help you to grow a few small inches in height, even if you are an adult!
Quite apart from that, running is also incredibly good for health. It improves body fitness, burns excess fat, increases your body’s base line metabolism, helps to increase your stamina, gives more power to your lungs and increases your pulmonary potential. It is also a great exercise to help to keep a healthy heart.
Irrespective of the exact reasons or approach to why someone is running, if what they are ultimately aiming for is to increase the speed and intensity of their running, then supplementing their running workout with other exercises is a good idea to increase their run potential.
Read on to know more, about why upper body strength increasing exercises such as weight training and swimming, can have a positive impact on your running!
Weight training and how it impacts and enhances running
While there is much discussion over the exact effects of weight training and training in upper body strength and how much it enhances a person’s running efficiency, there is one undisputed fact – this kind of training does have a positive impact on running.
For many, training with weights and training for strength are one and the same. However, this is not true. In weight training, you simply try to build up your muscle mass to the point where it is able to lift those weights, while in strength training, you increase the overall tolerance and endurance of your body.
When someone is attempting to body build and increase their muscle mass, they absolutely need to implement both types of training into their workout schedule. However, if you are simply trying to supplement your running workout with other strength and stamina enhancing exercises, a lighter version of these workouts is enough to help you reach your goals.
For training to build up strength, you workout and lift weights for the sole purpose of building more resistance and strength to your muscles. This type of training for resistance is of great benefit in running and increasing running speeds as well as endurance.
How upper body strength promotes better running
The science behind this is simply that having a stronger and more controlled upper body which is full of strength helps you to propel yourself forward better to increase your speeds in running.
While running, your upper half is not sedentary and detached from the proceedings of the lower half. Your whole body gets a workout while running, and in the upper body in particular – you have chest and abdomen and back muscles working in sync to bring about maximum running.
Thus, when you train to increase the strength of your upper body, you are giving yourself an excellent forward propelling mechanism.
Pumping your arms back and forth harder while running is something that greatly enhances your running speed.
If you noticed, you would have seen short distance full intensity sprinters using their arms to move themselves forward with greater running speed, in a race.
Doing exercises like weight training and increasing your upper body strength and endurance through workouts like swimming goes a long way towards increasing your running speeds.
Upper body strength impact on different types of runners
If you are a sprinter or are hoping to train to be a sprinter, upper body strength is very important. In sprinting, the runners put in short times of intense and high speed running in order to reach the goal line and take away the prize.
For this type of high intensity running, a great upper body strength is necessary. For sprinting with good efficiency and speed, do mild weight training exercises, while also concentrating on aerobics and exercises that require control and precision, like the hula hoop and so on. For sprinters, building muscle strength is very important indeed as they need to be able to back up the high intensity bursts of speed required for winning the sprinting.
If you are hoping to become a long distance or marathon runner, it is more about longevity and endurance than strength. This type of stamina can also be boosted tremendously by strength and weight training. But here, the focus is to increase the tolerance to high stress over long periods.
Hence, the training should focus on building stamina and should be more of repetitive and progressive exercises that test the body muscles, rather than high intensity bursts of exercise.
But the thing to ultimately keep in mind while strength enhancing or weight training for better running is this – the training itself is not the goal!
If you strain your muscles too much in trying to build up your body fitness and strength for optimal running, you may end up not running at all in the end due to extreme fatigue and muscle cramps caused by your strength training.
Wield your training plans with moderation, careful planning and discipline. Fix the exact goal of what you wish to achieve through your running workout and devise a strength enhancing or muscle building training program accordingly.
This helps you to run faster by increasing your strength!