Runners are Not Stronger Athletes? What?

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—Video Transcript—-
Hey there, everybody, Steve Gonser, physical therapist with the Run Smart Online.

I want to talk to you guys about some research because it’s really important, not only for you but your parents or your friends about age-related muscle loss.

I’m just gonna go right into it. And really what the research shows is that we get weaker as we get older. The researc study came out in 1990. So it’s a little bit older, but it’s still pretty widely used. It looked at elderly swimmers who were about in their late 60’s, runners in their 70’s, and strength training subjects in their late 60’s. Researchers looked at cross-sectional muscle density to see what’s the difference between each groups. If you swim when you’re older, if you run when you’re older and you strength train when you’re older, what’s the difference between the muscles in these individuals?

And this is pretty common because as a Physical Therapist, I see runners over the age of 40 and 50 start losing muscle mass. But what you’re going to find is that people think, “I’m running so I should be strong, and it’s going to help my bone density.” And it’s really not true, and this research supports that.

What’s pretty clear with this study and another, was that the key to maintaining your strength as you get older is weight training, strength training, and body weight training. It’s not by using clam shells and leg lifts, but true strength training. In the previous study, researchers found that people who swam or ran really didn’t have any difference in muscle strength than those who did nothing really. Pretty shocking, right? Because you think you are strong, but are you just aerobically strong? Are you just “good at running.” But, this research supports the fact that strength training should be a priority in older populations. I advocate it for people over the age of 40, really anyone should be strength training. But this was a great study that showed that.

So if you’re thinking about, “Okay, I need to thwart injuries. I need to stay strong, I want to stay on the road.” You can’t just rely on your running. And I think a lot of people start to realize that as they get older and you get more prone to injury. I mean, research has shown that 80% of people are injured every year as a runner, and how do you stop that is you stop that by smarter training. You stop that by strength training, and I’m going to show you some strength training info, but let’s talk about another research article.

This is a study that’s a little bit more recent, 2008, and they looked at elite male athletes and the age related changes in performance and skeletal muscle structure and function. The whole article is here, and what you’ll find is that as you get older your strength starts going downhill. What ends up happening is you look at the control versus the weight lifters, you’ll clearly see that weightlifters not only start off with more strength, but as they age, they’re stay relatively stronger.

The study also discusses the idea that the loss muscle fibers can be buffered, by some degree, of hypertrophy. So it talks about hypertrophy which is essentially the building up of muscle fibers, and what we’re looking for is the fact that you’re going to lose … Where is it? You’re going to have loss of fiber number. So, when you’re looking at your muscles, they have all these fibers in them that run from point A to point B, and you’re going to lose those fibers as you age. But what this research supports is that you can strengthen the existing ones with strength training. And that’s really, really important if you’re looking to PR this year, finish a race, stop getting injured. It’s all very important stuff.

So how do you do this? How often do you need to strength train. Does it need to be every day? Obviously, you would rather be running, right? You’re a runner, probably why you follow this page. So, what I recommend for all my athletes is to be strength training twice a week, and that could mean that you drop one garbage run a week, and if you do that I think you’re going to find that you’re going to be a lot healthier and a lot less injury prone if you do that, but you’re also probably going to be a little bit faster because you’re going to be bringing more muscle to the table. And I’m not talking about being one of these gym rats, you know, carrying around creatine and a water jug and grunting when you lift weights. I’m talking about just some functional strength training that mimics running so that when you strength train, it’ll carry right over to the road, and you’ll be a faster, stronger runner because of that.

Twice a week, focus on hip and core. Keep everything dynamic and on your feet. If you want some help with this, go ahead and click on the link in this post, and you’ll get $1 access to all these strength workouts plus the training plans that I’ve been going over.

You can build a training plan that actually incorporates the strength stuff into your workout. And I think you’re gonna find that it’s going to benefit you quite a bit. The research supports it. It supports it when we see it in the clinic and what I’ve seen over the last decade, as a physical therapist, but, hopefully that helps and just really be committed to including some strength training in 2019 because that is going to be the key for you PR-ing, training smarter, getting your mileage in without getting hurt.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. I’d be happy to answer those and future live videos. And they will see you guys probably tomorrow with another live, maybe with some new exercises for you to try. All right, have a great day everyone. Bye.

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