5 Benefits Of Strength Training For Endurance

How Can Strength Training Help?

For most endurance athletes the benefits of strength training are outweighed by the fear of gaining too much bulk, loss of flexibility and diminished “feel” of their sport.

5 Benefits Of Strength Training For Endurance

Let’s get one thing clear right now, strength training for endurance athletes is not about developing a ‘beach body’ or turning you into a muscle bound hulk. I can promise you that getting down to the gym to strength train for two or three times a week will make you stronger in your event (running, cycling, swimming, adventure racing). I’ve worked with enough endurance athletes to know that a good strength training programme will not only make you stronger and faster but will help you to remain injury free.

Still not convinced? Here’s the top 5 training benefits that can be yours in exchange for just two to three short strength training sessions each week.

1. Increased power output – the fastest person wins the race, right. To be fast you need to be powerful. To be powerful you need to be able to generate force. So it doesn’t matter if you are splashing around in a pool or running the streets, you need to be able to put down more power which will translate to higher speeds on the tarmac or in the pool.

2. Power up those hills – if you are a runner you will know that there’s no such thing as a fast flat course and if you want to see how a race can be won or lost on the hills watch a clip of Fraser Cartmell destroying Stephen Bayliss on the final hill in an Ironman 70.3 event.


3. Increase the strength of your swim stroke – maybe running and cycling isn’t your thing but by simply developing increased strength levels you’ll be able to grab hold of the water and pull yourself through and watch how your stroke count drops.


4. Improved endurance – we don’t all have lungs like dustbin liners and hearts to match so there will be genetic limitations as to how much you can improve your aerobic capacity. Strength training will improve your muscular strength and endurance helping you become more efficient, which means you will be able to work at a higher percentage of your aerobic capacity for longer. Become efficient at what you do.

5. Banish those aches and pains – strength training will improve your gross athleticism making you a more robust athlete, allowing you to withstand the training demands placed on your body and helping you steer clear of injuries. I ran a clinic recently for runners and every single runner had been injured or had an injury….actually that’s not correct, one lady wasn’t injured but she had only taken running up 2-weeks before the clinic (only a matter of time then!). Same goes for cyclists with knackered knees and backs and swimmers with shoulders that are constantly pulsating with pain.


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About Nick Grantham 4 Articles

The early years

Born in Crawley in 1972, I am the baby of the family, the youngest of three and my brothers still think I’m the smallest – I don’t think I started growing until I was 15!

Enthusiasm compensating for a lack of talent, sport played a prominent role in my early life – athletics, football and rugby the big three until, in 1989, I discovered Taekwon-do, at which I competed internationally until 1997.

By then I had left school, at 16, and worked in banking and insurance for six years – I hated those jobs, I was terrible!

But through Taekwon-do, I developed a curiosity about sports performance and discovered you could study Sports Science at university – it wasn’t just for the geeks!

So I went to night school – the only male in the class for two years! –   and became the only member of my family to gain entry to university, at Chester, where I completed undergraduate and post-graduate degrees

The first time I coached someone was to prepare an athlete for the Marathon Des Sables, a six-day, 143-mile run across the Sahara Desert and one of the toughest ultra-endurance events in the world

Leading the way

My first job was head of sport science for British Gymnastics at Lilleshall Sports Injury and Human Performance Centre, the first private, non-university-based provider of sport science support for teams and athletes

An accredited Sport Scientist with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, I then gained the National Strength and Conditioning Association certification and became one of the first people in the UK to hold both qualifications

It was at that point that I decided to commit what my boss described as career suicide and become a strength and conditioning coach! But I’ve never looked back…

In 2001 I moved from gymnastics to England Netball, and one of the first full-time strength and conditioning roles in high-performance UK sport

Two years later, I became one of the first strength and conditioning coaches to work for the English Institute of Sport, leading its West Midlands team across three sites

Travelling extensively in support of teams at major championships and on international tours, I gained unrivalled access to leading high-performance facilities around the world, including: New Zealand Rugby, England Rugby, Wales Rugby, the US Olympic Training Centre and even the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Cirque du Soleil!

Going it alone

Leaving the English Institute of Sport in 2007 to move to Newcastle, I  established myself as an independent Performance Enhancement Specialist working with the Chinese National Football team, the RFU, Great Britain’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams, Championship and Premiership football teams.

Globally, I have worked with athletes who have competed at four Olympics and been a Performance Consultant for Nike, locally with Northumbria University, Northumberland Tennis Academy and the Puma Sunderland Tennis Academy, and I have even worked with the Birmingham Royal Ballet!

A published author, I have recently written ‘You’re Hired‘ – an insiders guide to becoming a strength and conditioning professional, The Strength and Conditioning Bible – explaining how to train like an athlete, and contributed to ‘Secrets of Confident People: 50 Techniques to Shine’ and ‘Sport and Exercise Physiology Testing Guidelines: Volume I – Sport Testing

A sought-after expert on strength and conditioning, I have featured in leading publications such as: Mens Health, Mens Fitness, Triathletes World, Sports Injury Bulletin, Peak Performance, Fighters Magazine, Runners World and Trail Magazine

As an international speaker on the physical preparation of elite athletes, I have delivered workshops for the Football Association, British Olympic Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association and the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association

I have also mentored aspiring coaches who have gone on to forge successful careers in high-performance sport.

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