Maximal Strength Training Improves Running Economy in Distance Runners

STØREN, ØYVIND1,2; HELGERUD, JAN1,3; STØA, EVA MARIA2; HOFF, JAN1,4

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 6 - pp 1087-1092
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318168da2f
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

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.

1Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NORWAY; 2Department of Sport and Outdoor Life Studies, Telemark University College, NORWAY; 3Hokksund Rehabilitation Centre, NORWAY; and 4Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, St.Olav University Hospital, NORWAY

Address for correspondence: Assistant Professor Øyvind Støren, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7489 Trondheim, Norway, and Telemark University College, Department of Sport and Outdoor Life Studies. NO-3800 Bø, Norway; Email: oyvind.storen@hit.no.

Submitted for publication October 2007.

Accepted for publication January 2008.

©2008The American College of Sports Medicine