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trength Training
Strength Training For Distance Runners

© Wayne L. Westcott PhD

Generally speaking, you should see about a 40 to 50 percent increase in your exercise weightloads after eight to 10 weeks of regular strength training. Although some of the initial strength gain is due to motor learning factors, you should notice a significant improvement in muscle function during your training runs. You should also be much more resistant to typical running injuries.

The following chart presents 12 major muscle groups of the body, and my recommended Nautilus or free-weight strength building exercises. This is a fairly comprehensive program of basic exercises designed for overall muscle conditioning. Try to make every repetition as productive as possible by using slow movement speed and full movement range.

Recommended Strength Exercises For Runners

Quadraceps Leg Extentsions Squat
Hamstrings Leg Curl Squat
Gluteals Hip Extension Squat
Pectoralis Major Double Chest Bench Press
Latissimus Dorsi Super Pullover Bent Rowing
Deltoids Lateral Raise Lateral Raise
Biceps Biceps Curl Biceps Curl
(EZ Bar/Dumbell)
Triceps Triceps Extension Triceps Extension
(EZ Bar/Dumbell)
Spinal Erectors Low Back Back Extersion
Body Weight
Abdominals Abdominal Tunk Curl
Body Weight
Upper Trapezius Neck and Shoulder Shrug
Neck Flexors/Extensors Four-Way Neck -------------


1. Westcott, W., Dolan, F., and Cavicchi, T. 1996. Golf and strength training are compatible activities. Strength and Conditioning, 18:4, 54-56.

2. Westcott, W. and Guy, J. 1996. A physical evolution. IDEA Today, 14:9, 58-65.

3. Starkey, D., Pollock, M., Ishida, Y., et al. 1996. Effect of resistance training volume on strength and muscle thickness. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 28:10, 1311-1320.

4. Westcott, W. 1993. How many repetitions? Nautilus. 2:3, 6-7.

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About The Author
Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. He is strength training consultant for numerous national organizations, such as the American Council on Exercise, the American Senior Fitness Association, and the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, and editorial advisor for many publications, including Prevention, Shape, and......more
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