Do you train legs? What about upper body? Or maybe you train quads and biceps?
Training muscles as opposed to movements is in fact a throw back to most gym programmes being for the sole purpose of body building – not for sports performance!
Isolating the training of individual muscles has it’s place. Namely bringing up weaker, injured or previously neglected muscles IN ADDITION TO training larger ‘compound’ or multi-joint exercises. The focus of a whole programme should rarely be on single muscles.
Body builders and those concerned only with the absolute size of a muscle will spend time isolating and training that muscle to fatigue. When we look at how best to train for running however that approach rarely gives us the best outcomes.
Why did a ‘legs day’ exist?
Primarily people started splitting up the regions of the body for resistance training so that once or sometimes twice a week you could hit a muscle group/region hard then allow it to recover until the next week and do it again. If you’re planning to run 2+ times a week as well, does this approach really work?
Whole body ‘splits’
Instead of focusing on only one body part at a time we recommend identifying which exercises you need to make you a better runner. These will form the largest part of your training programme. Those exercises are usually multi-joint compound movements such as squats, lunges, step-ups and deadlift variations as well as hopping and jumping drills. Core exercises making use of the whole body are also really effective.
Once you know the bulk of your routine, you can add in areas of weakness or lagging muscles, but the idea is to do just enough work to challenge and progress them without causing crippling soreness for the next three days!
If you want to be a good runner you must train in a way which allows that, not follow a super general body building programme that happens to have squats in. Performance based training will prioritise training your body as a whole interconnected system – a runner!