Leg strength training

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17/01/2013 at 21:46
I am trying to move from 5k to 10k and am trying to build in leg strength training. I have been running about six months having never having run previously but when I was younger played plenty of football. I normally run Tuesday Thursday with a longer run Saturday. Does anybody have any suggestions of what and when I should be doing leg exercises. I normally do body weight / dumbbell stuff. Thanks
18/01/2013 at 08:30

i would say that the only way to build appropriate leg strength for running, is to run? however i may be wrong and thats a bit of a flippant answer!

You could take up cycling, thats a great way of building leg strength without the impact. I assume you are doing bodyweight squats and lunges etc?

18/01/2013 at 08:36
Yea all that stuff. I'm after a bit more power, maybe I should just eat a bit more spinach!
18/01/2013 at 08:37

work some fast intervals into your training.

 

18/01/2013 at 13:15
Will do
18/01/2013 at 13:55

hill repeats are very effective at building strong quads. find a hill that takes about a minute to run up, and do as many repeats as you can, jogging down slowly to recover. build up week on week to about 10-12 repeats, you'll be flying.

18/01/2013 at 14:13
Can you do these after a run or on a different day as part of an exercise day say?
18/01/2013 at 14:38

for people who do hill repeats they're usually done as one of the key runs in a weekly plan, in the same way that interval training, tempo runs, long runs would be key runs.

if it's the first time doing them, start with fewer repeats, otherwise you'll murder your legs and have DOMS for days afterwards. also perhaps do them every other week when you start out.

18/01/2013 at 14:51

Yeah, hills are definitely good.  If you want to mix it up, try a hilly fartlek run - a bit like hill repeats but just run at an easy or steady pace, then blast each hill you get to, or depending on the steepness of the slope, work a bit harder to maintain your pace, and concentrate on running up on your toes, as the toe-off will help strengthen your calves and quads.

18/01/2013 at 14:54
AgentGinger wrote (see)

hill repeats are very effective at building strong quads. find a hill that takes about a minute to run up, and do as many repeats as you can, jogging down slowly to recover. build up week on week to about 10-12 repeats, you'll be flying.

I tried that a couple of weeks ago, and after the very first run my knee didn't like it at all (it's always been troublesome).  Annoyingly, I was fine myself: I wasn't really badly out of breath or anything.  What about running up hills at a steady pace - does that build strong quads and calves?

Max's Mum wrote (see)

i would say that the only way to build appropriate leg strength for running, is to run? however i may be wrong and thats a bit of a flippant answer!

You could take up cycling, thats a great way of building leg strength without the impact. I assume you are doing bodyweight squats and lunges etc?


That's what I thought at first, but after around three years of running, my quads do not look any bigger.  However, I've now added some HITT to my routine via my exercise bike, so perhaps that'll make some difference long term.

Edited: 18/01/2013 at 14:59
18/01/2013 at 15:36

squats and lunges

19/01/2013 at 08:28
Final question!

Is it sensible to do say a session of squats lunges etc say 20 minutes on the same day that I did a run? I'm trying to keep all leg work and runs on 3 days whilst doing some core and upper on another 2 with 2 as rest days. Sensible?
19/01/2013 at 10:42

I often run in the morning and follow that up with a gym session of leg presses, lunges and squats in the evening. There really is no hard and fast rule as to whether you should or shouldn't do both in one day - give it a bash and see how you feel!  Make sure you eat plenty and keep yourself well fuelled and don't forget the stretching!

I recently added increased leg work to my gym sessions as I'm aiming to do more 10K's this year rather than longer stuff.  Not only has the leg work helped leg strength, but also glute and hip flexor strength helping me get over a recent bout of ITBS.

I know die hard runners swear that running is the only way to improve your running but I disagree. I run, do gym work, swim and cycle - it's good to mix it up and helps muscle imbalances (and also means also I don't have spindly arms like many runners!!)

19/01/2013 at 10:50
Thanks Daniel
21/01/2013 at 09:25
RoadRunner76 wrote (see)

That's what I thought at first, but after around three years of running, my quads do not look any bigger.  However, I've now added some HITT to my routine via my exercise bike, so perhaps that'll make some difference long term.

Are you trying to build strength for running, or are you trying to get bigger quads?
The two are not necessarily the same thing.

you can have strong quads without them being bigger. what sort of running are you hoping to concentrate on, if its sprinting, you need specific training, if its distance, you need different training.

sorry just remembered you said you were upping from 5k to 10k.

most 10k runners dont have big quads because you need more endurance than quick explosive speed! look at Mo. . . .

Edited: 21/01/2013 at 09:31
21/01/2013 at 19:34
Moving from 5 to 10k - yes I'm looking at running further, how it feels right now I obviously need a greater cardio vas' capacity which should come by more runnung and continuously adding distance - but I'm pretty sure greater strength in my legs would help, calves, hamstrings, quads - in many respects - whatever the muscle, I don't really know or care!

I've been doing lungs and squats type stuff and have started using drum bells to add some weight. My question is - does this help, it is necessary and is it ok to do on the same day as a run? Once a week? Twice?
21/01/2013 at 19:36
By the way, I'm not necessarily after big quads but firm strong muscles would be nice!
22/01/2013 at 01:19
Max's Mum wrote (see)
RoadRunner76 wrote (see)

That's what I thought at first, but after around three years of running, my quads do not look any bigger.  However, I've now added some HITT to my routine via my exercise bike, so perhaps that'll make some difference long term.

Are you trying to build strength for running, or are you trying to get bigger quads?
The two are not necessarily the same thing.

you can have strong quads without them being bigger. what sort of running are you hoping to concentrate on, if its sprinting, you need specific training, if its distance, you need different training.

sorry just remembered you said you were upping from 5k to 10k.

most 10k runners dont have big quads because you need more endurance than quick explosive speed! look at Mo. . . .

I would like slightly bigger quads, not huge or anything like that, but nice athletic looking legs.

Edited: 22/01/2013 at 01:20
22/01/2013 at 10:01

Just re-read the above and realised i've been a right numpty and got people mixed up!


Allan - as a runner, its a good idea to do cross training to help build up leg strength, eg squats and lunges and calf raises, although you prob shouldnt need to add weight, body weight should be sufficient. If you do add weight, make it light and stick to more reps.
Body builders use big weights and low reps to build muscle mass, you dont need that.. As mentioned above, hill work is really good, as is off road running as you use more muscles, and cycling for cross training. To build speed, faster intervals are good.
I think most of the training advice is about twice a week, but am not sure, dont know if its ok to do on same day as run or if you should do it on a rest day? perhaps someone can advise on if it makes a difference?

Roadrunner if you want to build muscle size, then do less reps with more weight. (typical muscle building would use enough weight that you can only just do 10-12 reps, for 2 sets, if you can do more, the weight is too light) When running, i guess sprints would be the thing?

Edited: 22/01/2013 at 10:04
22/01/2013 at 15:04

I don't think my knee likes speedwork - at least not on hills.  More weight, less reps - looks like it's time to finally utilise the 'power bar' that came with my Total Trainer: you stick extra weight plates on it when the exercises become too easy at the top level, which is definitely the case with my legs.  They must already be reasonably strong if the top level exercises are getting too easy - I can do well over twenty reps - but I want 'em to look a bit bigger as well.

Edited: 22/01/2013 at 15:11
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