This is the next article on from my previous post on ‘Why Endurance Athletes Should Lift’. In this post I am going to show you 5 exercises that should be included in the training program of an endurance athlete (assuming they are healthy and injury free). The following exercises address commonly neglected areas, and also work to increase strength and range of motion where they are needed most. This isn’t an exhaustive program by any means, but an indication of the type of exercises that should be included.

Bulgarian Squat

The Bulgarian Squat is a serious strength exercise. When performed correctly, it will increase hip mobility, strengthen the key movements involved in running, and challenge the postural muscles that support and protect the spine. A must!

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Here is an exercise that will keep the posterior chain healthy by strengthening the hamstrings and glutes, encourage a healthy hip hinge (which is crucial for efficient running), and challenge your single leg balance. The quads are often overworked with a lot of running, especially when the running is carried out with a limited range of motion. This will help you engage your glutes and take the pressure of the dominant quads and lower back.

Cossack Squat

The Cossack squat may not seem like an obvious choice for an endurance athlete who primarily moves solely in one direction for a long period of time. You may be asking yourself why should you need a lateral exercise in your training program. Well, the Cossack squat is great to open up the hips and stretch the adductors, and it will also build up a nice bit of strength in the adductors, glutes, and hamstrings. The adductors, glutes, and hamstrings are often neglected in a program that focuses solely on running or cycling ect, yet they contribute a lot to a successful performance when working correctly. You can feel excessively tight when you start to perform the Cossack squat, but perseverance with this one will certainly result in greater hip mobility.

Renegade Row

An exercise here that combines a pressup and a row, and challenges the core and postural muscles. The renegade row is a time efficient exercise that will build upperbody strength and core strength all in one. Perfect for the runner or cyclist that does not want to spend too much of their time on upper body exercises.

Half Kneeling Single Arm Shoulder Press

Another efficient upper body exercise that challenges the posture and core muscles, as well as developing health shoulders and a strong upper body. Adding exercises that work the upper body and core at the same time really are time savers, and a great way to build functional strength that you can actually use and that will benefit you during competition.

What about sets and reps?!

Don’t worry, I wasn’t going to leave you hanging. Because you are a runner, swimmer, cyclist ect, you will be spending a lot of your time with your chosen activity, and time is often an issue when it comes to gymming it. Perform the exercises above in a circuit fashion (one set each all the way through), and repeat 2-5 times. Below is a table with an indication of the repetitions that you should be aiming for with each exercise.

Reps Sets
1. Bulgarian Squat 8 each side 2-5
2. Single Leg RDL 10 each side 2-5
3. Renegade Row 12 total 2-5
4. Cossack Squat 10 total 2-5
5. ½ kneeling SA Shoulder Press 10 each side 2-5

Read the article on ‘Why Endurance Athletes Should Lift’.