Strength training is effective for improving your running, but here’s the case for deadlifts over squats in an article we rate by Matt Pearse. Squats are great but if you are dealing with muscle imbalance, niggling injuries, knee problems or you’ve fatigued from all your training km’s then squatting may not be the right ‘go to’ strength exercise.
Besides making you stronger, the deadlift trains you to hinge forward at the hips and align your trunk with your knees and feet in the same way you will when running. Also, the strength you’ll gain in your glutes and hamstrings, which make up part of your posterior chain, will help you to apply more force as you rake your foot back to propel yourself forward after your foot strikes the ground.
This common runner’s affliction can crop up when your training volume goes up or you’re pushing hard on race day. Knee pain is the result of a weak posterior chain or being ‘quad-dominant’. Basically, that means that your glutes aren’t doing their job, which forces your quads to do overtime and can lead to painful patellar tracking issues.
Deadlifting done correctly should fire your hamstrings & glutes forcing your quads to play more of a supporting role, which creates good muscular habits and can help prevent potential knee pain.
Again, done correctly, deadlifts train scapular rotation, which will contribute to a nice upright, solid torso. Not only is an upright torso more efficient while running, but that scapular rotation will help keep your airways open. Form is one of the first things to go during a long race as the fatigue sets in and you slump forward, but deadlifting will help you avoid that and stay upright, which will give you more endurance. Another benefit of a strong upper body, particularly arms and shoulders, is that it’ll help you drive forward as your haul your butt up the climb!
You can get through an effective deadlift session in 30 minutes flat, and that includes spending ten minutes or so mobilizing before you start. There are a number of rep schemes you can follow, but lifting for power and overall strength, not muscle gain, is the goal here. You want to be lifting in rep ranges that will overload the muscles and trigger the training response you want.
Lifting heavy weights (comparative to your own ability) for 4-6 reps will achieve that power. Try the 5×5 formula, in which you warm up with some lighter sets before completing 5 sets of 5 reps at a challenging weight. Another method that’s effective, is the Maximum Sustainable Power (MSP) method, created by Jacques DeVore, in which you build up to a heavy set of 5 before dropping down to sets of 4, 3, 2 and 2 again.
It’s gratifying to challenge your body in a new way, and there’s a quiet sense of achievement to be had when you find yourself warming up with weights that had felt beyond heavy weeks before.
Jump onto Mint’s Facebook for a deadlift demonstration by Josh & while your there, you can even brag (post!) about your progress! just be sure to add that you’re only doing it to help your running…