Sport performance

The interest of muscle building in endurance athletes

by Uperform

Running, although an ancestral discipline, is more fashionable than ever! We have never seen so many runners in the streets, in the forest or even indoors on mats.

At Uperform, this is not to displease us. We strongly encourage the practice of regular physical activity, in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (discover them in our previous article here.


In the majority of training programs; from the preparation of the hockey player to the tennis player via the rugby player, there are muscle strengthening sessions.

On the other hand, it is rare to come across an endurance athlete in a weight room. It is commonly accepted that for endurance efforts, this kind of session is useless… and yet!

This type of training will allow runners to improve their running performance, improve their running economy (through the improvement of their VO2max) and reduce the risk of injury. Among the professionals already convinced of these benefits, there are unfortunately still some misconceptions about training planning.


Indeed, many believe that the most suitable muscle building for the endurance athlete must be composed of many repetitions of low intensity exercises. Although the idea may seem logical, it has shown no benefit when put into practice in scientific studies (see references). This type of session is even superfluous in reality, the benefits linked to strength endurance training being already obtained with the practice of running itself.






The maximum benefits in terms of performance enhancement and injury prevention are achieved by performing high intensity muscle strengthening exercises.





– If you’re just starting out, just choose 3-5 exercises that target the hips, thighs, and calves.
– Perform 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions per exercise.
– Make sure the intensity (load) is high enough (heavy) to have an effect on your muscles. The last repetitions must be difficult to achieve!
– Take 2 to 3 minutes of rest between sets: it is important not to chain them too quickly.
– This type of session should ideally be repeated twice a week.
For more information or to effectively incorporate these training sessions into your sessions, do not hesitate to make an appointment with our physiotherapists and sports coaches!




We care, u perform



Cet article est inspiré d’infographies réalisées par le groupe éducatif Trek Education


Bibliographie :


  • Rønnestad BR, Mujika I. Optimizing strength training for running and cycling endurance  performance: A review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Aug;24(4):603-12.


  • Balsalobre-Fernández C, Santos-Concejero J, Grivas GV. Effects of Strength Training on Running Economy in Highly Trained Runners: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Aug;30(8):2361-8.


  • Karsten B, Stevens L, Colpus M, Larumbe-Zabala E, Naclerio F. The Effects of a Sport-Specific Maximal Strength and Conditioning Training on Critical Velocity, Anaerobic Running Distance, and 5-km Race Performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2016 Jan;11(1):80-5.


  • Lauersen JB, Bertelsen DM, Andersen LB. The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Sports Med. 2014 Jun;48(11):871-7.


  • Mikkola J, Vesterinen V, Taipale R , Capostagno B, Häkkinen K, Nummela A. – Effect of resistance training regimens on treadmill running and neuromuscular performance in recreational endurance runners. J Sports Sci. 2011 Oct;29(13):1359-71.