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|Subject: ||Weights (1/14/2002)|
The MAIN PURPOSE of lifting weights is to BUILD lean muscle tissue, and that's also the most common OUTCOME of lifting. Ask yourself if you need to have the musculature of a wrestler (freestyle, that is - not WWF) or that of a RUNNER!
We've learned through the decades that ALL of the muscle contractile properties needed for running can be developed with drills which involve body weight vs. gravity (or exaggerated motion), hill work, and (surprise) running. Barbells, dumbbells and machines are not needed except in special cases. Neither is upper body work.
Those special cases are:
1.) Rehab following injury - This is pretty self-explanatory. If you can't support your own weight (due to injury or atrophy), you'll obviously need some other form of weightlifting (machines or free weights) in order to rehab.
2.) Injury prevention - I include this ONLY if you have an obvious structural weakness which causes chronic imbalance or discomfort or injury. In that case, you MAY need some progressive weight training (example: internal hip rotators). "Body weight vs. gravity" exercises (such as pushups, pullups, ab rollers, dips, toe raising/lowering, step-ups, etc.) are preferable to standard forms of weightlifting, since they involve more core muscle groups and/or stress BALANCE. Be sure to work the same muscles on BOTH sides of the body (to prevent imbalance) AND work the agonists and antagonists (e.g., quads and hams) of the areas you're targeting. Also lower the weight SLOWLY so as to work the "eccentric" phase. It's these eccentric movements that usually contribute to DOMS (and possible injuries), since fewer muscle units are being used during the lowering phase and that's where people are weakest. This is why you might have read that you should LOWER your body weight in a "reverse toe raise" to strengthen your Achilles tendons (if you do this exercise, remember to keep the knee straight on some reps and bent on other reps, since the gastroc and the soleus work in concert when running).
3.) Extremely poor muscular development - Well, I suppose by BRUTAL'S standards we distance runners are ALL complete wimps in the muscular strength department! Realistically, though, there aren't too many SERIOUS runners (those who can run numerous 100-mile weeks without snapping into pieces) who are so frail that they're unhealthy. They may LOOK frail and unhealthy, but some of these twigs are sub-13:00 5,000m runners. And they DON'T lift weights! To repeat: Ask yourself if you want the musculature of a wrestler or that of a RUNNER!
4.) Aging - If you're past your prime racing years (somewhere around age 35, give or take a few years), you might benefit from weightlifting by virtue of burning fat (post-exercise) in a wide variety of muscle groups. If you can train (running-wise) like a 20-year-old (read: high mileage), you probably don't need very much weight training, but it does get a lot tougher to keep the body fat low as you get older. Again, "body weight" exercises are best in most cases.
To combat message board spam (by non runners). We are making people answer a brief question before they can post on a thread that is over 20 days old.
If you answer this question you should be able to post.