Maximal Strength Training Improves Running Economy in Distance Runners

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Abstract

Purpose:

The present study investigated the effect of maximal strength training on running economy (RE) at 70% of maximal oxygen consumption (V˙O2max) and time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic speed (MAS). Responses in one repetition maximum (1RM) and rate of force development (RFD) in half-squats, maximal oxygen consumption, RE, and time to exhaustion at MAS were examined.

Methods:

Seventeen well-trained (nine male and eight female) runners were randomly assigned into either an intervention or a control group. The intervention group (four males and four females) performed half-squats, four sets of four repetitions maximum, three times per week for 8 wk, as a supplement to their normal endurance training. The control group continued their normal endurance training during the same period.

Results:

The intervention manifested significant improvements in 1RM (33.2%), RFD (26.0%), RE (5.0%), and time to exhaustion at MAS (21.3%). No changes were found in V˙O2max or body weight. The control group exhibited no changes from pre to post values in any of the parameters.

Conclusion:

Maximal strength training for 8 wk improved RE and increased time to exhaustion at MAS among well-trained, long-distance runners, without change in maximal oxygen uptake or body weight.

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