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Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:54 am

Junior Masters Athlete
Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:20 am
Posts: 9

What would be the best weight training routine for track and field. I have stayed away from squats in my weight training and any heavy work on my legs. Feeling that I get enough stress on my legsin my normal training. Also, what are the correct set and reps to gain strtength for track athletes. I would like any idea's on the subject..

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Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:04 am

Master Masters Athlete
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Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 192
Location: San Diego

Squats are great for some events, in fact -- if you're in shape for them.

But it would be more helpful to know your age, fitness level and specific event, bildap. Even middle-distance runners can benefit from weight training.

(When I ran track at Kansas in the early 1970s, coach Bob Timmons had a bunch of barbells made using coffee cans filled with concrete on either side of a steel bar. Jim Ryun and cohorts used them.)

Tom Fahey (discusdoc) is a world-class expert on weight training. Maybe he can offer advice. Just need some specifics on your situation. Any injuries you're dealing with?

Ken Stone

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Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:19 am

Master Masters Athlete
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Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 2:01 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Chico, CA

• We are track athletes who lift weights— not weight lifters who throw, run, or jump.
• Strength and fitness are important but technique is essential. Use film and groove your technique.
• Use whole body, functional training exercises. Typical bodybuilding weight training routines do not develop the muscles the way we use them on the playing field. Wrist curls and heel raises do little to improve performance in the shot or high jump. Power comes from the lower body. In many events, we transfer power from the lower body, across the core, to the upper body. Train this movement.
• The abdominal muscle often prevent movement and stabilize the spine during track and field movements. Yet, we build them by doing sit-ups and similar exercises. Build the abs by making them act as stabilizers, using exercises such as wood choppers (cables, sledge hammer, chopping wood), standing presses and pulls on functional training machines, overhead squats, etc. Do McGill's big three spinal stabilizers every day: curl-ups, side bridges, bird-dogs. Avoid exercises involving force generation with the trunk flexed (i.e., leg presses)-
• Do most exercises from the floor. Dumbbells and kettlebells are excellent tools for track athletes. Include unilateral exercises, such as one-arm dumbbell snatches, clean and press, and one arm-dumbbell high pulls.
• I don't think supported lifts, such as bench press, knee extensions, and incline bench press are good for athletes. While they provide excellent overload, they create excessive torque on the joints. I do not know any old "bench pressers" who have normal shoulders. I benched 450 lb in my 30s and 370 pounds in my mid 50s and developed chronic shoulder pain and had shoulder surgery. I stopped bench pressing and my shoulders feel great. My throwing went into the tank, but that might be due to old age. I think kettlebell training improved my shoulder strength and flexibility.
• Use body weight for resistance. Most people have trouble doing pull-ups, unloaded squats, and push-ups. Start with those before moving to weights. If you can do a push-up from the floor, do one from an incline against the wall. If you can't do a pull-up, start by hanging from a bar.
• Maintain a neutral spine when you exercise. A recent study showed that you can load the lower body with front squats just as well as using back squats but with less stress to the spine and knees.
• Use non-traditional overload techniques. For example, exercise with a 20-40 lb rock. Throw it overhead, under your legs, and from the side. Carry it and squat with it. Find one at a local stream or in your neighbor's yard. Rocks are free and work better than most exercise machines or exercise equipment you buy at Costco. Buy a heavy sledge hammer and hit it against an old tire. It will build tremendous whole body strength that might transfer to the playing field.
• While high tension exercise is important for building base strength, always train explosively— even when using heavy weights. Power is critical for every event in track and field. Even marathon runners must run fast to win.
• Do a few whole body exercises and get on with your workout. The important thing is to train regularly. See Dan John's website for some great information on weight training for track athletes. (
• Sprinters and distance runners benefit from strength exercises and plyometrics. A classic study from Finland showed that 5k runners took 30 seconds off their time in 12 weeks by adding power training. Interestingly, their maximal oxygen consumptions decreased by 3 percent. They ran faster with no changes in oxygen transport capacity.

Thomas Fahey
Dept Kinesiology
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0330

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Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:43 am

Master Masters Athlete
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Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 7:21 pm
Posts: 134
Location: NW Oregon

Are you doing a weight, jumping, sprint or distance event?

I would say that no matter which event you do, you need to strengthen your legs with weights. Just running is not going to cut it if you want to go beyond what ever level you are at now.
Alternate hard / easy, and upper body and lower body weight workouts.
The weights will also help prevent running injures, such as runners knee and such.
I try to do a lot of weights which simulate the muscles which I will use in my running form. I try to work upper body, lower body, and the stomach to connect the two.

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