You run, but do you actually train your legs?

by: Katia Silva, CSCS

The cardio-protective effects of endurance training (i.e. running, cycling, swimming, etc.) on overall health is unquestionable. The American College of Sports Medicine has laid out the association between active individuals and health outcomes. Factors such as all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease are much lower for those that engage in regular moderate intensity aerobic exercise of at least 30 minutes most days of the week. But, what happens when all you do is aerobic exercise?

Many individuals, marathon runners and general population alike, only do repetitive aerobic exercise. This can lead to varied muscular weaknesses and even injury in the knees and back. Some think it is from over training, and it could be, but it could also be from a lack of training! Just because you are using your legs when you are running or cycling doesn’t necessarily mean you are “training legs”. These activities are NOT muscle building. Diversity in your training program will help increase your overall fitness, prevent injury, and keep you stronger longer.

So, it is time to start adding resistance training to your weekly routine. You should have a variety of exercises that engage all aspects of your lower body. The listed exercises below are a great way to introduce your body to muscle building movements without needing a lot of equipment:

  • Goblet Squats
  • Glute Bridges
  • Single Leg Toe Touches
  • Split Squats
  • X-Band Walks

Start by completing 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions. In between each set rest for 30-90 seconds. As you get stronger increase your load and complete 3-4 sets of 6-10 repetitions. Rest for 1-2 minutes in between each set and then repeat.