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Weight Training for XC runners

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  • #16
    Re: Weight Training for XC runners

    Many of the posters on here are missing the point of weight lifting. The workouts typically described for xc are, in reality, a repetition of what the athletes are doing in the running portion of the workout. Doing multiple sets and reps with minimal rest between them will put the lifter into an aerobic metabolism, which they are already doing in their running. Because of that, they show marginal improvement over just running alone. In addition, they will show minimal strength gain by that type of workout because the fiber recruited to sustain the workout will be predominantly red or slow twitch. In essence the workout is telling the system it needs to be able to carry the load longer and that is not strength its endurance.
    Running is already doing that.
    Hill running for "strength" is not efficient. The body will adapt to the load rather quickly and gains will be much harder to come by. A proper lifting routine would provide the necessary strength gains on a continual basis much more rapidly then hill runs.
    Then what should the purpose of lifting be? To increase leg strength as much as possible, but in relation to body weight. The higher the ratio, the longer the athlete will be able maintain a higher rate of speed simply because less energy is required to propel the body on each stride. Less energy used, more available during the course of the race.
    XC runners that lift, like the current crop of sprinters, are using a basic bodybuilding routine, which makes no physiological sense for any athlete. A well designed lifting plan will add tremendous strength with minimal increase in mass.
    Bottom line: lifting is not the issue, it's how you lift.

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    • #17
      Re: Weight Training for XC runners

      It's seemed to me that some, maybe most, of the top American sprinters are heavily muscled in their upper bodies -- a lot of extra weight to carry. Granted that the upper body in sprinting is important -- you're using the entire musculature in the effort to move forward fast -- it still seems a bit much. What's the theory? (Not to imply that skinny Kim Collins is the way to go, either --)

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      • #18
        Re: Weight Training for XC runners

        The upper body doesn't need to be bigger, just stronger. Faster running comes from the amount of force exerted against the ground, but as stated above, in relation to body weight. As the amount of force increases so does the amount of torque applied against the upper body. The upper body aids in reducing torque by swinging the arms in the opposites direction, thereby counteracting the torque. The abs, obliques and low back muscles must work to stablize the trunk, keeping it from turning to the side (thats why they must be strong)and maintaining an upright position as the same time. The arm drive is the critical factor in countering the massive power developed by the leg drive however, so shoulder strength is very important. The upper body does not play a critical role in creating speed, only in maintaining it by allowing the runner to run straight. The power plant is the legs.
        Having a big chest may intimidate opponents, but in reality that chest development comes from the recruitment of massive amount of mitochondria, capillaries, and fluid. There is an increase in myofibriles as well but in significantly less proportion. Mitochondria benefits only the aerobic metabolism (bringing oxygen as fuel) which the sprinter should never use, while myofibril material is the portion of the muscle that causes tension-or what we see as strength.

        Doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a sprinter to have a big chest.

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        • #19
          Re: Weight Training for XC runners

          >ALL
          >athletes that are well clear of puberty, should
          >be on some kind of weight program, IF they wish
          >to excell in ANY kind of athletic endeavor.

          I disagree with this completely. There are tons of elite runners who aren't on any kind of weight program, yet they obviously excel in this athletic edeavor! For that matter, most of the runners who do lift weights are not truly strength training - the light weight, high-rep lifting and circuit training regimens typically employed by endurance athletes do not qualify.

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          • #20
            Re: Weight Training for XC runners

            I disagree with this completely.
            >There are tons of elite runners who aren't on
            >any kind of weight program, yet they obviously
            >excel in this athletic edeavor! For that
            >matter, most of the runners who do lift weights
            >are not truly strength training - the light
            >weight, high-rep lifting and circuit training
            >regimens typically employed by endurance
            >athletes do not qualify.


            Hmmm, little piece of bad logic here! The fact certain elite runners excel without lifting is absolutely no proof that they wouldn't do even better if they did lift. We can't know either way so your point is not really valid. I heartily agree with the second part of your statement, though!

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            • #21
              Re: Weight Training for XC runners

              I believe that strength training is truly overrated for runners and athletes in other non-strength sports. Unfortunately, most people just don't understand what strength is and what athletic advantages that superior strength can and cannot confer.

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              • #22
                Re: Weight Training for XC runners

                >I believe that strength training is truly
                >overrated for runners and athletes in other
                >non-strength sports. Unfortunately, most people
                >just don't understand what strength is and what
                >athletic advantages that superior strength can
                >and cannot confer.

                Why don't you enlighten us? Please make sure your answer as some physiological reason and not just a guess.

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