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This article appeared in our June 2009 issue.
Indeed, strength training develops lower-body connective tissue, which can stave off injuries, and boosts upper-body strength, which helps you maintain good running form, says Scott Jackson, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-owner of Real Life Fitness personal-training studio in Nevada City, California. He recommends saving lower-body weight workouts for your easy days so you “have enough juice” in your legs for your quality hard-running sessions. You could workout your upper body at the same time or, if you have time, save that for a longer or higher-intensity day.
Other experts recommend doing a hard run and strength session on the same day so your entire body can be recovered before your next quality run. Neither style has been disproved, so figure out what fits your body, schedule and style best.
“Generally, higher reps with slightly lower weight is a good fit for most runners,” says Jackson. And to build strength, you don’t need a gym membership or elaborate home setup. Possible exercises for a home workout include squats, lunges, knee extensions and hamstring curls (both with rubber resistance), ankle and calf exercises, pullups, pushups and abdominal and lower-back work.