The importance of muscles in running

It is well known that any extra weight can add time to the performance in aerobic sports like running, but what type of weight are we talking about? Is it fat or muscle? For sure, adipose tissue, body fat, is very detrimental not just for the speed but also for health, in particular, abdominal fat that also infiltrates muscle tissue contributes to insulin resistance and decrease the speed of neuromuscular activation.
On the opposite, muscles are very important for a vast array of reasons: protect tendons and bones, retain water and help to maintain proper running position.Despite these solid arguments, the majority of runners don’t invest time in strength training on a regular base. They don’t because they are not aware of these benefits and think they don’t have time for anything else but running.


This is a very common behaviour, especially amongst the over 40s first-time runners. The typical pattern is they are sedentary, they start running, they fall in love with the sport, they want to improve, they achieve some result, they increase mileage, they get injured… 

Well, a little bit of information could help in considering strength as an important part of the weekly routine, so let’s dig a little bit deeper into the main advantages of resistance training for runners.

Protection of tendons and bones

Muscles act as a shock absorber, if a car runs with worn-out absorbers it’s very likely that some damage could occur to the body. The same applies to the human body: weak muscles produce less stimulus on the connective tissue of tendons which will be weaker and more subject to degeneration and chronic inflammation.
Skillrun class: a new and addictive training experience
Achilles or patellar tendinitis are very common pathologies and many cases are treated with drugs, shockwaves and rest. Strength training could be the best choice to prevent but also to recover. The stronger the muscle the higher will be the tension applied on the tendon. The result will be a stronger and elastic tendon which will hold up with the ground impact forces. Stress fractures are also common injuries that usually occur in the metatarsal bone or the tibial distal third. At rest muscle tone is also crucial to stimulate bone tissue to maintain its structure and prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis which are relevant risk factors for stress fracture.

The importance of intracellular water in muscles

Total body water is important for optimal health and performance, but intracellular water must be taken in even higher consideration. The highest quantity of intracellular water can be stored by muscle cells this is another good reason to develop and preserve muscles. If there is sarcopenia (deficit of muscle tissue) it will be fewer cells to retain water no matter how much the water intake is.

The more we drink, the more we eliminate the liquid through the urine without achieving optimal hydration.

A proper amount of intracellular water it’s fundamental for optimal cellular functioning and to maintain performances in long competition, especially in hot weather.

Proper running position and efficient stride

If you stand on the roadside and observe participants to a half or full marathon at 10th and 20th kilometre you’ll pick up large differences in both body position and stride length and frequency. The most common differences between the two checkpoints will be a less steady trunk posture and a shorter, slower stride. The changes of the running style are almost completely correlated with muscle fatigue, the longer the distance the bigger is the effect of energy depletion.
For this reason, if the athlete loses muscle efficiency the running efficiency itself will be much less. Weak core muscles will cause front-back and side to side trunk oscillation with a consequent displacement of the centre of mass of the body with a higher risk of low back problems.
Skillrun is a range of treadmills dedicated to improving athletic performance
Fatigued legs will decrease the rebound that is generated by the capability of muscles to “store” kinetic energy at each ground impact and to give it back through tendons and connective fascia that work as a spring, compressing and releasing at the toe-off. But tired muscles will stretch at the impact of the foot dissipating the majority of the energy and vanishing the elastic action of tendons.
Skillrun: all parameters under control and special training modes
Skillrun is the most advanced amongst bohgym treadmills. It has a direct drive running surface which provides a very natural running feeling. The large display allows monitoring running biometrics such as cadence, stride length, contact time, right-left balance providing continuous biofeedback. The perfect tool to Unleash the Athletic Potential, providing incredible insights on running efficiency with the Advanced Biofeedback.
Skillrun 7000 sled training: endurance training
Its precise sensors can detect the differences between the action of the left and right leg exploring your stride length and ground contact time while running or determining your greatest power on sled and parachute training.

3 rules for effective strength training for runners

We said at the beginning that extra weight slows down each runner, for this reason, it’s out of the question to increase muscle mass. Yet, we’ve described the benefits of well-trained muscles and it’s now time to suggest a training program that could produce the expected benefits.
Skilltools: skip alternato alternato allo speed ladder
Here are the rules:

  1. Work on core muscles: plank, twist, and bridges are the basic set of exercises. Our suggestion is to increase the difficulty level by decreasing the number of touchpoints: for example, bridge or plank on one leg.
  2. Off-season basic strength: spending a few weeks in the off-season learning and performing basic powerlifting movements can be a very good investment. Half squat, bench press, deadlift, and clean & jerk and clean & press are the fundamental movements that must be learnt under the guidance of an expert.
  3. Train the kinetic chain, not the single muscle: running involves much muscle at each stride with a fast switch from eccentric to concentric contraction. Getting closer to the competition season, we should take into consideration this and design exercises that respect the sport kinematic; choosing exercises that involve upper and lower body at the same time will increase coordination and specific strength.
Girl trains with a med ball
The Skilltools are perfect for helping every athlete create an infinite number of exercises. Together with Kettlebell, tools such as Power bands, Medicine ball and slam ball are among the most useful tools for functional training specific to runners, but it is suitable for any type of training. The Skilltools range covers three categories of movement (mobility, stability, and speed) and is designed to support and perfect any type of exercise: the product line offers users a wide variety of training combinations that allow them to improve their workouts at every stage of the session, from warm-up to cool down

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