By Jason Koop,
Head Coach of CTS Ultrarunning
Before getting to today’s post, I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family friends and colleagues of Andrea Huser, who passed away recently in a training accident. As a fixture in US and international races for many years, Andrea was a fierce competitor and one of the nicest people you could imagine. The trail running world will miss her dearly.
Last week I wrote about how heavy strength training is superior compared to light weight/high repetition strength training for runners. I invoked a recent study published in the European Journal of Sports Science that compared three different types of strength training interventions for 6 weeks in recreational runners: low rep/heavy weights (i.e. 3 sets of 5 reps), high rep/light weights (i.e. 3 sets of 20-30 reps), and complex training which is a combination of low rep/heavy weights and plyometric movements. For anyone following strength training and running for the past several years, the results should really come as no surprise. The heavy weight/low rep and complex interventions produced superior improvements compared to the light weight/high repetition protocol. The light weight/high repetition version ironically produced no distinguishable improvements despite being load matched to the other two interventions. The reason the results should come as little surprise is that this adds to the vast body of literature that continually demonstrates that heavier weights with lower repetitions will produce bigger improvements compared to their lighter weight counterparts.
I’ve received numerous questions about how, why, and when to implement a strength training program. I’ve also received a number of inquiries as to how to transition from a high rep/low weight or bodyweight based program to a more efficacious one. So, here goes; you asked and I will answer.