Why Joggers Need Strength Training More Than They Think

If you have read much of my work, you will know that I’m not a big fan of jogging. However, the fact is that many people jog. My writing is not going to change that. Some people jog for psychological reasons, it makes them happy to feel sweaty. Some jog for the social interaction, some jog because its the easiest form of group exercise, some jog to raise funds for a charity. All these are acceptable reasons.

Unfortunately, the injury rate for joggers is really high. We live in a very sedentary and de-conditioned society so most of us are weak to begin with and have poor motor control and muscle firing patterns. This means injury.

Add this to the fact that most new joggers push themselves too hard too soon, and don’t do a suitable warm-up, the statistics make sense and are pretty scary… Studies show that the majority of new joggers get some kind of injury in the first 6 weeks of starting a jogging program. Shin splint, plantar faciatis, ankle sprains, back pain and other problems.

I’m here to help! Here are several reasons why joggers NEED strength training. This is not a recommendation, its a requirement. Do you want to maintain proper function and health?

*Jogging is an imbalanced activity. Well… all sports have some kind of imbalance, but in jogging this is made worse because these imbalances are repeated hundreds of thousands of times over a year with every stride.

The most common imbalance that I have seen among joggers is what is called “quadriceps dominance”. Joggers use their thighs a lot. They hardly ever go into a deep squat position or into a sprint stride or into a “athletic stance”.

This means that their glute complex (butt and butt-area muscles) are underpowered. The glutes are essential for proper posture, knee health, and back health.

Strength training also improves running efficiency. Studies show a 8-10% improvement over 11 weeks of strength training. To put that into perspective, that’s something like 10-12 minutes off your half marathon time!

Targeted strength training is the only way to get these underused muscles to balance out with the overused ones.

*Jogging reduces the body’s immune system function. That’s just the way it is with long distance activity. Strength training improves immune system function.

*Jogging reduces muscle mass (that’s bad!). Strength training will help maintain it.

*Jogging does not help you in old age. Maintaining strength and power is what keeps us happy, healthy and functional all the way to the finish line. Strength training helps in this critical area as well.

*Ok this one is not a universal truth like the previous 4, but from my experiences, joggers don’t take as much care of their nutrition as strength training athletes do. Many see jogging as an “excuse to eat poorly, after all, I just burned a thousand calories jogging”.

The truth is, everything we put into our mouths is a chance to get better or a chance to get worse. In addition, it is IMPOSSIBLE to out train a poor diet. Remember, your body is worth more than the most expensive Ferrari! And we wouldn’t put low grade petrol into the Ferrari… but we often do that with our bodies which have to do more and last longer than any car!

There we go! Real life reasons how strength training can help a jogger. So joggers, go do some dead-lifts, then thank me afterward.

Coach Jonathan Wong, is a sought after Singapore personal trainer and performance expert who has helped hundreds of clients in Singapore from regular folk to national level athletes achieve their fitness, fat loss and sports performance goals regardless of starting age, fitness level or experience.

He Is also a fitness author and a member of Singapore Men’s Health Advisory Panel. Visit his website for a free 1500 page e-book, blog, newsletter and constant updates. http://www.coachjon.com

To find out about his athletic performance program visit http://www.singaporeathlete.com

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