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Strength Train legs? (Read 255 times)


Not dead. Yet.

    I haven't done any strength training since I started running last year.  I just started up again tonight and it felt great!  But now my upper body is small and my legs are huge from all the running.  Wondering if I should still do specific leg workouts, or just let the running take care of that?  What do you do?  I'm not planning on getting big, so will skipping legs make me one of those top-heavy guys?

     

    PS.  I've seen the picture and there's no way I will ever let myself get like that!

    How can we know our limits if we don't test them?


    MoBramExam

      Doubt your legs are "huge from all the running", especially if you used to be over 100# heavier.  In the big picture, you are still early in reaching your potential fitness.  If your primary goal is to be a better runner, my suggestion would be to focus on an overall strength training plan that is complementary to running.  Work to achieve muscle balance and strength over bulk.

       

      Genetics notwithstanding, over time, the top and bottom should "even out" more than what you are currently seeing in the mirror.

       



        In order to prevent injury, you need to do strength training.  Glutes are very important to running.  Make sure you add exercises that hit your glutes, hamstrings, quads and hips.  We're not talking alot of exercises.  Just enough to really hit those areas.  I do squats, monster walks with therabands, lunges, and a couple hip ad/ab exercises.  Get a swiss ball and look up exercises for those.  You can do a hamstring curl with those and some hip raises.  Bottom line, you don't need to add weights to get a good leg strengthening workout in...body weight exercises work great.  In fact, if you add too much weight you may end up with an injury, or be too tired to get your normal runs in.

         

        As for other strengthening, you definitely need to add some core exercises.  At least start with planks and side planks if anything.

        zonykel


          I'm no expert at this... But the author of "run faster", Brad Hudson, recommends hills.


          Not dead. Yet.

            Doubt your legs are "huge from all the running"

             

            I didn't mean to imply that I look unbalanced.  They are not huge, but they are bigger and more defined than before the running.  I guess I could have answered the question myself...I don't need specific leg workouts right now.  My legs are tired all the time anyway.  Maybe I just needed to justify that to myself.

             

            If your primary goal is to be a better runner, my suggestion would be to focus on an overall strength training plan that is complementary to running. Work to achieve muscle balance and strength over bulk.

             

            A life of fitness is my primary goal.   I love running so that will play a big role, but I'm trying to split up long periods of running with some other activities,  because I'm worried that just doing a lot of running week in and week out will eventually burn me out.  I'm thinking of cutting my miles for a month or two and adding in a bunch of weight training, then building the miles back again keeping the established strength training routine in place.  I'm not planning on getting big.  There's just no time for that.  Even if I cut back to 25 miles, I will only have time/energy to add in a few good full body workouts.  Hoping it will help lean me out and strengthen me up and maybe even help lose a few more pounds.

             

            I do want to become the best runner I can be, but at the same time I realize that I will never be winning any races.  So I guess I'm trying to find a happy balance.

            How can we know our limits if we don't test them?

               

              A life of fitness is my primary goal.   I love running so that will play a big role, but I'm trying to split up long periods of running with some other activities,  because I'm worried that just doing a lot of running week in and week out will eventually burn me out.  

               

              Simple.  Add cycling and the stair climber to your routine.  These are both great cross-training activities that you can substitute instead of running.  Cycling will strengthen your hams and quads and the stairclimber will work your glutes and will imitate uphill running if you at least climb at a good speed.  Both will help maintain your endurance level and with cycling, make sure you add in sprints and that will translate into quicker foot turnover when running.


              Not dead. Yet.

                 Simple.  Add cycling and the stair climber to your routine.  

                 

                I will definitely add cycling at some point, but going back to the idea of the thread, those are both going to slam my legs and leave the rest of my body mostly unused.  Plus I really enjoy the weights and already have everything I need at my fingertips.

                 

                Getting into cycling will take a bigger commitment than I'm willing to make at this point.  I think to learn and really get going, you probably need to make it your number one priority for awhile.  Not to mention the $$.  I'm saving that for a few years down the road when I truly get burned out with running and need a big change.  Then again, maybe that will never happen.

                How can we know our limits if we don't test them?


                Not dead. Yet.

                  In order to prevent injury, you need to do strength training.  Glutes are very important to running.  Make sure you add exercises that hit your glutes, hamstrings, quads and hips.  We're not talking alot of exercises.  Just enough to really hit those areas.  I do squats, monster walks with therabands, lunges, and a couple hip ad/ab exercises.  Get a swiss ball and look up exercises for those.  You can do a hamstring curl with those and some hip raises.  Bottom line, you don't need to add weights to get a good leg strengthening workout in...body weight exercises work great.  In fact, if you add too much weight you may end up with an injury, or be too tired to get your normal runs in.

                   

                  As for other strengthening, you definitely need to add some core exercises.  At least start with planks and side planks if anything.

                   

                  This is kind of what I was looking for.  I see your point about the glutes, but my quads and hamstrings and calves seem to be really strong.  Still not convinced I need to specifically work them other than the running.  I guess I need to look up exactly which muscles running works most and work the others.  Makes sense that hips needed specific work as well, but I need to look up some exercises to hit those areas.  When I think squats, I think with a heavy bar on my back, so the advice to go with body weight is valuable too.  And tons of core work was already in my mind.  Planks kick my ass!

                  How can we know our limits if we don't test them?

                  mab411


                  Proboscis Colossus

                    Just some thoughts, some more directly related to your question than others:

                     

                    1. I've found that strength training helps keep a lot of the aches and pains often associated with running - especially my knees - at bay.  The stronger the muscles around the joints, the better they are able to support those joints through the pounding.  To my thinking, the stronger I can make my legs, the better, so I don't skip the leg exercises.

                     

                    2. I've read in multiple places that strength training in general - including upper body - helps form, which helps prevent injury and makes for more efficient running.

                     

                    3. That said, I've also heard a lot of people say you can probably get by without it, particularly if you throw in some hill work.

                     

                    4. I don't have the time or money to really get into cycling, either, but I found a local gym with affordable pricing for my wife and I...and they have stationary bikes.  Not as much fun as riding on the road (oh boy, is it not as much fun), but my legs sure feel it afterwards.  I figure it's almost as good of a cross-training activity as cycling.

                     

                    Here are the exercises I do when I do a full strength session...not saying this is the best routine out there (I'm a long, loooong way from any kind of fitness expert), but it works for me:

                     

                    Two circuits of:

                    Push-ups

                    Back extensions

                    Dumbbell lat rows

                    Bench Dips

                    Crunches

                    Toe Dips

                    Lat Pull-downs

                    Step-ups (holding dumbbells)

                    Planks

                    Double-lunges (holding dumbbells)

                    Side Planks

                    Squats on a Bosu board

                    Calf raises w/weights

                    Toe raises

                    Alternate Shoulder Presses

                    Triceps Presses

                    Leg Curls

                    Leg Extensions

                     

                    Hmm...I'd never tallied this up before, but looks like I've got seven leg exercises, five core exercises, and six upper body exercises.  I should probably have more core than upper body in there, though a few of the ones I'm calling upper body do work my core as well.  Anyway, I try to do that at least once a week, preferably two.  If I can't, I try to at least do the push-ups, planks, and crunches.

                    "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people


                    Catleesi; mother of cats

                      I'm a huge advocate of strength training in general, and yes I'd still do some leg-specific work. I'm coming back very slowly after a nasty bout of shin splints and I can absolutely feel the difference after a few months of serious strength training, I feel much more stable/balanced. I'm lifting heavy because I enjoy it (and it's kind of better that I have dead legs so I'm not tempted to overdo it on the running while I'm still in recovery) but I agree with maddog's post - lots of bodyweight exercises you can do that will be beneficial without being exhausting.

                      I pick things up and put them down, and when I'm not broken I run.


                      Old , Ugly and slow

                        If you are running for health then you should work your legs.

                        2 days of ;lifting and 4-5 days of  running a week.

                        first race sept 1977 last race sept 2007

                         

                        2014goals   1300  miles  , 190 pounds , deadlift 400 touch my toes

                        scappodaqui


                        rather be sprinting

                          +1 to glutes! A lot of runners get 'dead butt' syndrome because if they do a bunch of easy running, their glutes can shut down and force other muscles to take over, which can result in piriformis syndrome and other issues. I lifted weights before I ran and when I got more into running I got cocky and stopped, and BAM, piriformis syndrome. But I have to say I agree that you don't need a ton of leg isolation work. Most weight lifters I know don't work each muscle separately anyway. You might consider single-leg stuff or stuff that is more running specific. I go to a gym that trains some serious athletes, and the marathon runner there is ALWAYS doing rear-leg-elevated split squats, step-ups onto a box with dumbbells, and lunges. And he's a marathoner, not a sprinter! Stringy legs. Extremely strong and explosive, though, getting up onto that box.

                          PRs: 5k 19:25, mile 5:38, HM 1:30:56

                          Lifting PRs: back squat 176 lb


                          Not dead. Yet.

                            Thanks for all the tips.  The box jumping sounds fun, so I think I will try that!  So far I'm thinking mostly glutes, hips and core (besides my upper body routine), but I'm not really basing that on much.  Mostly on the idea that the big muscles of my legs are already getting a good workout with the running.  I'm still not sure that's valid thinking thinking though.

                             

                            I have the book Running Anatomy, but have yet to read it.  It has great illustrations and examples of lots of exercises and shows how each one applies to running, so I think I will let it guide me to some answers.  It looks like a good read and very applicable to this discussion.  Now I remember why I bought it.   Actually I also have Strength Training Anatomy and use it as a reference when building my program, and even in the gym as a reminder of how to execute certain exercises or to find a new one for an area I want to hit.  Invaluable! 

                            How can we know our limits if we don't test them?

                            zonykel


                              I have the book Running Anatomy, but have yet to read it.  It has great illustrations and examples of lots of exercises and shows how each one applies to running, so I think I will let it guide me to some answers.  It looks like a good read and very applicable to this discussion.  

                              I read "Anatomy for Runners", by Jay Dicharry. It has a number of mobility and stability tests and then recommendations on how to fix problem areas. Overall, a very good book (just wish I had the time to apply it! I'll have to do it next training cycle).

                              Crimson Stride


                                This good to know. I started strength training before I took up running again. Since I added running back to my fitness routine, I have noticed a major difference in my legs. They are more compact and more defined. I'm hoping it helps my endurance and performance in the trail!

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