BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE
Strength training is frequently recommended for runners and multiple benefits have been reported in the literature. However, for some runners, there is concern that it may negatively affect their performance or athletic build. This detailed systematic review examines the effect of strength training on multiple measures including running economy (a measure of efficiency), time trial performance and body composition.
Electronic databases were searched using relevant key words to identify studies that met the following inclusion criteria:
- Participants were middle or long distances runners with at least 6 months experience
- A strength training intervention was used lasting at least 4 weeks
- A running only control group was included
- Data was collected on one or more physiological variable
In total 24 studies met these criteria and their quality was assessed using the PEDro scale. These studies involved a total of 469 participants (352 male, 96 female) aged between 17 and 45 years and including a variety of competitive levels (from recreational to elite athletes).
As expected, significant improvements in strength were reported, with a 4-33% increase in 1 repetition maximum. Jump test performance improved in some studies (3-9%) but not in others (when compared to control). Mixed results were found regarding peak power, rate