Weight Lifting And Running

Weight Lifting and Running

            For A better Life

Welcome to the Weight Lifting and Running, Health, Wellness and Anti-aging Website of Dr. Baltes (PhD).

Longevity, Life-extension, Strength, Fitness, Nutrition, as well as Anti-aging and Hormone Replacement Supplements for the over 30's crowd are what we endorse. Our goal is to provide you with useful information about developing strong, healthy bodies through exercise, good healthful eating habits and wise supplementation.

Doctor Baltes believes in strenghening the body using common sense fitness, powerlifting, bodybuilding and cross-training methods.

In order to build muscle, you need to follow 3 synergistic principles that will unleash your muscle building fury and will always allow you make continuous gains, any time you want.

These principles must be organized in a weight lifting program that allows you to grow consistently.

As long as you follow these principles, you will always continue to improve.

The synergistic principles to building a strong, powerful body are:

1. Smart weight lifting
Intelligent, quality nutrition
Quality rest

Successful athletes and weight lifters have know this for ages and it will always be these three component that will seperate an o.k body from one that is built from head to toe.

You see, all three principles must be in place if you are to succeed at building muscle. Not one, not two, but all three must be present and in balance if you want to build muscle and power. Smart weight lifting, intelligent nutrition and quality rest are the real keys to optimal weight lifting and building muscle.

If you can get these elements down in an organized, well balanced weight lifting program, you'll be well on your way to building muscle and the body you've always wanted.

If just one of these principles is lacking, your performance will drastically be reduced and your gains will be non-existent and at best, poor. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Here's where Building muscle 101 can help. Inside this website, you'll find information and weight lifting tips that will help you attain all three synergistic muscle building principles that will unleash your muscle building potential.

Ok, but who are you? And why should I listen to you?

Weight lifting began for me over 14 years ago as a means to gain muscular weight for hockey. I was a dreadfully skinny kid. At 5'9" I was lucky to weigh 120 pounds. I devoured every bit of information I could get my hands on from bodybuilding magazines to news articles desperately trying to build muscle and add size.

At the time, I must have tried every muscle building and weight lifting routine there was, as I'm sure most of you are doing right now.

Let me tell you, I made my share of mistakes but each one of those mistakes was a learning experience. Despite my set backs, I continued my quest for information, learning and trying each technique. Over time, I began to realize that I was training hard but I wasn't training smart. I also realized that I wasn't feeding my body the right nutrients in order for it to grow.

Combine poor eating habits and bad weight lifting technique and you get poor results and injuries. I got both.

As soon as I started to train smart and I started to feed my body the correct nutrients and in the right combinations, I got bigger and stronger.

I want to share with you some of those basic techniques to help you get your muscle building routine up and running.

As you go through the material in Building muscle 101, you will discover that attaining a strong and healthy body is not out of your reach and doesn't have to be a confusing subject.


From the 1950s to the 1980s many successful elite weightlifters were from the USSR and parts of eastern Europe, including Bulgaria and Romania. A poll completed by the IWF in 1982 produced Tommy Kono as the greatest weightlifter in history. Tommy Kono represented the United States setting 26 world records, winning 2 Olympic Gold Medals (1952 and 1956) and an Olympic Silver Medal (1960). Kono remains the only weightlifter to set world records in four different weight classes.

Vasily Alexeyev of the USSR set 80 world records and won two gold medals during the 1970s. Since then, lifters from China, Iran, Greece and Turkey have competed successfully at the international level. In the history of the sport, only four weightlifters have managed to capture three Olympic gold medals.

Naim Suleymanoglu of Turkey won Olympic gold in 1988, 1992 and 1996, while Pyrros Dimas and Kakhi Kakhiashvili of Greece and Halil Mutlu of Turkey repeated the same feat, with three successive victories through the 2000 Olympic Games for the two Greeks, and through the 2004 Games for Mutlu.

In 1996, Andrei Chemerkin of Russia won Olympic gold in the Super Heavyweight class. Reports were dominated by photos of the nearly 400 pound weightlifter bounding jubillant and triumphant in mid air over his fully loaded bar, having jumped for joy over his victory. Chemerkin won the bronze in 2000.

At the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, Dimas won a bronze medal in the 85kg class, becoming the fourth weightlifter in history to win a medal at four different Games after Norbert Schemansky (1964), Ronny Weller (2000) and Nikolay Peshalov (2004).

The men's Super Heavyweight Class (at present, the 105+ kg category), a perennial favorite among spectators, is currently dominated by Iranian Hossein Reza Zadeh who first set a world record at the world championships and another on the road to a gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Reza Zadeh has since broken his own records on a number of occasions, including at the 2004 Athens Games, where he captured his second olympic gold medal

If you want to lose fat or change your body, one of the most important things you can do is lift weights. Diet and cardio are equally important, but when it comes to changing how your body looks, weight training wins hands down. If you've hesitated to start a strength training program, it may motivate you to know that lifting weights can:

  • Help raise your metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn all day long.
  • Strengthen bones, especially important for women
  • Make you stronger and increase muscular endurance
  • Help you avoid injuries
  • Increase your confidence and self-esteem
  • Improve coordination and balance
A weightlifter about to jerk 180kg

Getting started with strength training can be confusing--what exercises should you do? How many sets and reps? How much weight? The routine you choose will be based on your fitness goals as well as the equipment you have available and the time you have for workouts.

if you're setting up your own program, you'll need to know some basic strength training principles. These principles will teach you how to make sure you're using enough weight, determine your sets and reps and insure you're always progressing in your workouts.

Overload: If you want to get stronger, you need to use more resistance than your muscles are used to. This is important because the more you do, the more your body is capable of doing, so you should increase your workload to avoid adaptation. In plain language, this means you should be lifting enough weight that you can ONLY complete the desired number of reps. You should be able to finish your last rep with difficulty but also with good form. Progression. In order to avoid plateaus (or adaptation), you need to increase your intensity. With strength training, you can do this by increasing the amount of weight lifted, increasing the sets/reps, increasing or changing the exercises you're doing and/or change the rest intervals between sets. You can also change the order of your exercises. This means increasing your intensity every week. Specificity. This principle states that the way your body adapts to exercise depends on the type of exercise you're doing. That means, if you want to increase your strength, your program should be designed around that goal. To gain strength and mass, you want to train with heavier weights closer to your 1 RM (1 rep max). If you want to build endurance and strength, you'll want to stick with lighter weights and a rep range of 8-12. Rest and Recovery. Rest days are just as important as workout days. It is during these rest periods that your muscles grow and change, so make sure you're not working the same muscle groups 2 days in a row.
A recent study from McMaster University looked at the impact of a 12 week strength training program on 44 sedentary men and women. They began by taking a survey of their body image. They rated how anxious they felt about other people evaluating their bodies, and how satisfied they were with their bodies. Researchers also measured their body fat, strength, muscularity, and body image. The benefits of a consistent strength training program are well known: increases in muscle size and tone, increased muscle, tendon, bone and ligament strength, increased physical performance, improved metabolic efficiency and decreased risk of injury. Psychological benefits such as increased self esteem, energy and improved mood are also documented. Now you can add improved body image to the list.

Sets and Reps

A set is a group of successive repetitions performed without resting. A rep or repetition is the number of times you repeat the move in each set. Therefore, if your instructions were to do 3 sets of 12 (3 x 12) biceps curls, you would curl the weight 12 times in a row to complete the first set. Then you’d put the weight down, rest a moment and do 12 more in a row to complete the second set, and so on until you’ve finished the prescribed number of sets for that exercise.

There have been studies showing similar strength gains from one, two, or three sets. Single set exercises are usually done to the point of failure, meaning to the point where you can’t complete another full repetition. This is commonly referred to as high-intensity training or HIT. Multiple set exercises are usually done with one to three minutes of rest between each set. An advantage of single set training is that it requires less time in the gym. An advantage of multiple set training is that the longer training session can result in higher calorie expenditure.

Resistance and Range

The number of repetitions chosen for each exercise depends on the amount of resistance (weight) you’re using. Maximum resistance is the most weight you can lift with proper form one time. In general, most people can complete 6 repetitions with 85% of their maximum resistance, 8 repetitions with 80% of maximum resistance, 10 repetitions with 75% of maximum resistance, 12 repetitions with 70% of maximum resistance and 14 repetitions with 65% of maximum resistance. Training with more than 85% of your maximum resistance increases the risk of injury, and training with less than 65 percent of maximum resistance decreases strength gains. So, a safe and productive training recommendation would be 8-12 repetitions using 70% to 80% of maximum resistance.


Full range of motion is an important component of proper form. Each exercise should be taken through the complete range of joint movement in a slow controlled manner, with emphasis placed on the completely contracted position. If a weight is so heavy that you have to jerk, bounce or swing to get it to the top of the movement, it’s too heavy. Your form is compromised. Full-range of motion movements contract and strengthen the muscle you’re working (the prime mover) and stretch the opposing (antagonist) muscle. This contributes to both muscle strength and joint flexibility.

Progression and Frequency

Progressive resistance is the key to any well designed strength program. This means that as your muscles adapt to a given exercise, you need to gradually increase the resistance or the repetitions to promote further gains. You should start out with a weight that allows you to do at least 8 repetitions of a particular exercise. Once you can complete 12 repetitions with that weight, you increase the weight by about 5 percent. Now, you’re doing 8 repetitions with the slightly heavier weight. Once you’ve worked up to 12 repetitions with the heavier weight, you increase it by another 5 percent (or no more than 10%) and go back to doing 8 repetitions. The idea is to keep alternately increasing repetitions and resistance, so that you continue to see results.


Increases in muscle size and strength don’t occur while you’re training, they occur during the rest period between workouts. This is when your muscles recover and rebuild, gradually becoming bigger and stronger. The recovery process takes at least 48 hours. For this reason, strength training sessions should be scheduled no more frequently than every other day. If you prefer to train more often, you should avoid hitting the same muscle group on consecutive days.

Sequence and Speed

When doing a series of exercises, you’ll generally want to start with the larger muscle groups and compound movements and work toward the smaller muscle groups and isolation movements. This allows you to do the most demanding moves when you’re the least fatigued. For example, you’re less likely to lose your balance during a lunge if you do the lunges before exhausting the muscles of quads and hamstrings with machine exercises. You’ll use better form on your push-ups if you do them before fatiguing the triceps with presses or kick-backs.

The speed of the movement is also an important element of each exercise. A reasonable training pace is one to two seconds for the lifting (concentric) portion of the exercise and three to four seconds for the lowering (eccentric) portion of the move. Fast, jerky movements should be avoided. They place undue stress on the muscle and connective tissue at the beginning of the movement, substantially increasing the likelihood of an injury. Fast lifting also cheats you out of some of the strength benefits. When lifting at a fast pace, momentum (not the muscle) is doing a good deal of the work.

There's something just so gratifying about having lean, well-shaped biceps and triceps that it makes all the hours in the gym seem well worth it.

The upper arm is made up of two primary muscle groups—the biceps and the triceps. A lot of lifters just train the biceps; however, the triceps make up two-thirds of the upper arm mass. Thus, it is extremely important to focus on triceps training as much or more than biceps training if you want to build strong, healthy arms!

There is an endless array of strength training programs and theories out there, much of it geared toward bodybuilders and advanced exercisers. If you’re just getting started, it’s quite easy to become totally confused by all of the anatomical terms and gym jargon. We’d like to fill in the gap by giving you the foundation of any safe and effective strength training routine.

You’ll learn the names of the major muscle groups and the exercises that target them, the difference between sets and reps, the elements of proper form, and the basics of frequency and progression.When selecting exercises for your strength routine, it’s important to choose at least one exercise for each major muscle group. This prevents muscle imbalances that can lead to injury. Let’s take a look at the major muscle groups and a few of the exercises that target them:


GlutealsThis group of muscles (often referred to as ‘glutes’) includes the gluteus maximus, which is the big muscle covering your butt. Common exercises are the squat and the leg press machine. The glutes also come into play during lunges, tall box step ups, and plyometric jumps.

Quadriceps – This group of muscles makes up the front of the thigh. Exercises include squats, lunges, leg extension machine, and leg press machine.

Hamstrings – These muscles make up the back of the thigh. Exercises include squats, lunges, leg press machine, and leg curl machine

Hip abductors and adductors – These are the muscles of the inner and outer thigh. The abductors are on the outside and move the leg away from the body. The adductors are on the inside and pull the leg across the centerline of the body. These muscles can be worked with a variety of side-lying leg lifts, standing cable pulls, and multi-hip machines.

Calf – The calf muscles are on the back or the lower leg. They include the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius is what gives the calf its strong rounded shape. The soleus is a flat muscle running under the gastrocnemius. Standing calf raises give the gastrocnemius a good workout, while seated or bent knee calf raises place special emphasis on the soleus. These small muscles can handle a relatively large amount of weight.

Low back – The erector spinae muscles extend the back and aid in good posture. Exercises include the back extension machine and prone back extension exercises. These muscles also come into play during the squat and dead lift.

Abdominals – These muscles include the rectus abdominus, a large flat muscle running the length of the abdomen, and the external obliques, which run down the sides and front of the abdomen. Exercises such as standard crunches and curls target the rectus abdominus. Reverse curls and crunches (where the hips are lifted instead of the head and shoulders) target the lower portion of this muscle. Crunches involving a rotation or twist work the external obliques.

Pectoralis major – Large fan shaped muscle that covers the front of the upper chest. Exercises include push-ups, pull-ups, regular and incline bench press, and the pec deck machine.
Rhomboids – Muscles in the middle of the upper back between the shoulder blades. They’re worked during chin-ups, dumbbell bent rows, and other moves that bring the shoulder blades together.

TrapeziusUpper portion of the back, sometimes referred to as ‘traps.’ The upper trapezius is the muscle running from the back of the neck to the shoulder. Exercises include upright rows, and shoulder shrugs with resistance.

Deltoids – The cap of the shoulder. This muscle has three parts, anterior deltoid (the front), medial deltoid (the middle), and posterior deltoid (the rear). Different movements target the different heads. The anterior deltoid is worked with push-ups, bench press, and front dumbbell raises. Standing lateral (side) dumbbell raises target the medial deltoid. Rear dumbbell raises (done while seated and bent at the waist, or lying face down on a flat bench) target the posterior deltoid. Biceps – The front of the upper arm. The best moves are biceps curls. They can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, or a machine. Other pulling movements like chin-ups and upright rows also involve the biceps.
Triceps – The back of the upper arm. Exercises include pushing movements like push-ups, dips, triceps extensions, triceps kick-backs, and overhead (French) presses. The triceps also come into play during the bench press and military press. Latisimus dorsiLarge muscles of the mid-back. When properly trained they give the back a nice V shape, making the waist appear smaller. Exercises include pull-ups, chin-ups, one arm bent rows, dips on parallel bars, and the lat pull-down machine.

Strength training is important for weight loss, raising your metabolism, burning fat, building muscle and keeping your bones and connective tissue strong. Check with your doctor before beginning exercise if you have any medical conditions or are pregnant.

How to Begin

  • Start with a program that works ALL muscle groups 1-2 non-consecutive days a week (never work the same muscle two days in a row).
  • Warm up with 5-10 minutes of light cardio to avoid injury
  • Choose one exercise for each muscle group (see below) and do 1 set of 10-16 repetitions of each exercise
  • It's a good idea to start with machines (if you exercise at a gym). They're easier to use and you'll condition your muscles before moving on to free weights, which requires a bit more coordination and the use of more muscles to stabilize your body.
  • Each session, add either 1 repetition and/or a few pounds of weight to each exercise to progress
  • You want to challenge yourself, not kill yourself. The first few weeks, focus on learning how to do each exercise rather than on how much weight you're lifting or how many exercises you're doing. You have plenty of time to build muscle!
  • After 6 or more weeks of consistent strength training, you can change your routine to make it more difficult (see below)
  • Stretch between sets and after your workout.

What Exercises Should You Do?

If you don't know much about weight training, consider hiring a personal trainer to help you set up your program. You should work all of your muscle groups each week so that you avoid muscle imbalances, which could lead to injury.

Below is a list of muscle groups along with sample exercises using both machines and free weights. If you're a beginner, you only need to choose one.

  • Chest: bench press, chest press machine, pushups, pec deck machine
  • Back: seated row machine, back extensions, lat pulldowns
  • Shoulders: overhead press, lateral raise, front raise
  • Biceps: bicep curls, hammer curls, concentration curls
  • Triceps: tricep extensions, dips, kickbacks \
  • Quadriceps: Squats, lunges, leg extension and leg press machines                              
  • Hamstrings: deadlifts, lunges, leg curl machine
  • Calves: calf raises
  • Abdominals: crunches, reverse crunches, oblique twists, pelvic tilts
How can I best increase my running strength?
The best way to increase running strength is to run against
resistance.  The easiest ways to do this are to run sprint repeats and to run hill repeats.  Plyometrics and running drills can be very useful. Plyometrics are mostly used by sprinters while running drills can help all of us.
Sprint repeats are simply running fast for a short distance and then
taking enough rest that you can do it again.  Unlike intervals, where the point is to practice quick recoveries, these are meant to work the body against wind resistance and its mechanical limits.  They are a real pain to do well.  Hills are easier to run.
Find a hill that will take you about a minute to run up.  Run up it
hard, using the body motion that you will race with.  For endurance runners this means sitting back a bit and letting the big muscles in your butt and hamstrings move you.  For sprinters or people who are working on their finishing kick, try leaning into the hill, driving the knees forwards, and pumping the arms hard.

Come down the hill easily and relaxed.  Be careful not to go to fast or to injure yourself by pounding too hard.  Most injuries come while running down hill.  You can also plan your daily runs
to include more hills, and push the uphills when you are doing fartleks.

How can weight training help my running?

Weight training will increase your muscular endurance, especially in your upper body.  Weight training will strengthen your non-running muscles and reduce the likelihood of injury.  Weight training can aid cardiovascular fitness. 

Weight training will increase muscle mass and bone density, both of which are important for people who are getting into shape,
especially women and older runners.  Lean muscle mass is denser and burns more calories than fat tissue, which also helps people who are running to increase their overall fitness.

I feel that for runners weight training gives a second-order benefit.
It will not make you faster, but it can make it easier for you to do the workouts that will make you faster.

What will lifting weights NOT do for my running?

If you lock yourself in the gym all winter and lift without running, in the spring you will be stronger but you will not be faster.  (The year I did it I came out markedly slower.) Being able to lift a lot of weights means that you are good at moving a heavy barbell up and down, nothing more.  For a runner, lifting has the most benefit as part of an overall program of speed work, distance work, and stretching.

However, lifting weights can add overall strength.  As mcbee@datasync.com (Ron) wrote:  "I lift to get strong.  I don't want to weigh less than 170 lbs.  I want to be able to move furniture around the house when needed.  I've been lifting for 20 years, and plan on continuing indefinitely.  No, I'm not a faster runner because of it, but at least I'm pretty strong."
People with knee trouble, especially overpronators and people who are prone to runners knee, get great benefit from strengthening the muscles. The best way to strengthen the muscles that you actually use in running is to run hills and sprints, but lifting weights is a wonderful way to build up the supporting, balancing, and tracking muscles especially the vastus medialis, the muscle on the lower inside of your thigh that makes sure that your kneecap tracks properly.  Lifting also helps the calf and lower leg muscles that protect against shin splints.  

What sorts of Weight lifting are good for overall fitness?

When in doubt always do the large multi-joint movements.  They build muscle mass, work your stabilizer muscles, and give your entire body something to do.  The classic five exercises are:  squat, deadlift, bench press, pull ups, and dips.  Most of us can not do pull ups and dips when we first start lifting.

There are assisted pull-up and dip machines available
that work the major muscles (but not the stabilizers) that can be useful.

Also lat pulldowns are a good way to build up to doing pullups.  Although anyone can do a pullup with enough training, most people are just as happy working with the lat pulldown instead.

These are the most accessible of the multi-joint exercises.  There are others.  Hal Higdon was shown how to do an Olympic clean and jerk many years ago.  He likes them and includes them in his routine.  The lesson here:  try several things - carefully - and then see which ones suit you. Do them.

People who are running for fitness or to improve their appearance also
get good results from combining a lifting routine with their workouts.
This is especially true for older runners as weight lifting can maintain
muscle mass and promote bone density, both of which decline as part of the
aging process.

Finally sprinters use more upper body strength than endurance runners and are more likely to benefit from gym workouts.  Linford Christie of England loves the gymHal Higdon suggests in _Run Fast_ that the people who would benefit the most from weight training are masters women with naturally skinny upper bodies. By contrast, young male competitive distance runners with naturally good upper body strength and good mechanics are unlikely to see any gains from weight lifting.

What sorts of Weight lifting should competitive runners do?

The classic competitive runner's lifting routine is a light set of
upper body exercises done three times a week on the easy days.  They
usually do long sets, 12-15 repetitions of each exercise for men, use light
weights and never lift to positive failure.  Common exercises are:
dumbbell shoulder press, barbell bench press, barbell incline press,
dumbbell shoulder raises.  Even if they do some whole-body lifts these are
also done with light weights and are often concentrated in the off season.

What sorts of Weight lifting will protect my legs?

Shin splints:  Many shin splints can be helped or prevented with
stronger lower legs
.  Calf raises are good for this.  You can do bodyweight
calf raises at home by standing on a stair with the balls of your feet near
the edge of a step.  Lower yourself down slightly, then go up as high as
you can comfortably - remember to straighten your ankle.  It is a good idea
to hold the railing while you get the feel for the motion.  Repeat about 20
times, and do several sets.  The machines in the gym will replicate that
calf motion, only with extra weight.

  One thing that is useful for the front of the shin is a silly exercise you can do at home.  I call them bucket raises, others call them plantar flexions or shin curls.  Sit on a chair with one leg out in front of you. Hang a scrub bucket from your foot.  Raise and lower the bucket by flexing and pointing your foot.  This works the muscles along the front of the shin.  Put more or less water in the bucket to vary the resistance.  Like most rehabilitative exercises this should be done heavy enough that you notice it but not so heavy that you can not finish a dozen or so repetitions. Beyond this you may want to do some smaller lifts to help you. Shoulders are very important for a runner. I like doing shrugs and dumbbell shoulder press. Some people like shoulder raises or the various cable exercises. Try several, do two of them regularly. Variations on biceps curls are also enormously popular, the best ones to work with are seated dumbbell curls and preacher curls using a special bench. You should also be working your abdominals.
Abs will both support you through your other lifts, reduce the likelihood of getting cramps and side stitches while running, and firm up your belly for the beach. Powerlifters work their abs in short heavy sets like any other muscle. Runners usually benefit from moderately long sets. If crunches are getting boring then hold a dumb bell on your chest or try some of the crunch variations on the Abs-Faq.

What are plyometrics and how do I use them?

Plyometrics are a good thing for building strength and running form. They come in the form of box drills and running drills. Sprinters get the most benefit from these exercises, but endurance runners can improve their form and strength with a prope Some drills that help runners are: running in place, standing bring knee to chest, walking bring knee to chest with arm pump to balance, running in place or very slowly with high knees, running very slowly with a butt-kicking motion, hot-foot drills where you minimize your plant time, skipping for height, skipping for distance, and bounding.

I list these in order of stress - make sure you are warmed up and well stretched before doing any, and do not move past the first few exercises until they start Low intensity - In place squat jump Medium intensity - in place pike jump, double leg tuck jump, double leg hops, alternate leg bounding High intensity - single leg hops, speed hops Shock intensity - in depth jump, box jump**Remember that the point is to work your muscles, not to cover ground. Keep the feet moving quickly. Hal Higdon's _Run Fast_ has a good chapter on running drills.

So if you are trying to get strong, why are you lifting lightly? Shouldn't you go heavier?

Light lifts as presented here are not the best way to get strong. But they will make you stronger without stressing the body overmuch. Remember that (in the absense of recovery-enhancing drugs) the human body can only recover from three or four hard workouts a week. The usual runner's week includes: long run, speedwork, tempo/threshhold run. That is three hard workouts. Some folks add a moderate workout, either a longish run or a pace run. Then you have the slow recovery jogs on the easy days. If you try to add stressful weight workouts on top of that you will break down the body faster than it can build itself up and will end up overtrained. If you do want to experiment with harder weight workouts, do them in the off season when you do your base running.

How should I change my diet if I both run and lift Running takes carbohydrates. Even when you are doing long slow fat-burning runs fat is only providing a portion of the energy your muscles need. The rest comes from glucose. Do not stop eating the carbohydrates you need to keep running. One recommendation for marathoners is to eat four grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight during the peak training cycle. The classic runners diet is: vast quantities of carbohydrates, lots of fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of protein, and between 20% and 30% of calories from fat. Building muscle requires protein. Many bodybuilders eat as much as four grams of protein per pound of lean body weight each day. This is excessive for most of us. Eat a little more protein, perhaps add a tuna salad to your weekly menu or some turkey sausage to your spaghetti sauce. Most distance runners are eating enough calories to cover for their mileage that the protein comes along for the ride. Listen to your body, and go ahead and add some tuna fish or some chicken breasts or some beans and rice to your diet if you crave it. As always, drink lots and lots of water.  

Should runners use free weights or machines?  Should they lift isolation exercises or whole body?

There is a long debate on working the whole body and isolating
specific muscle groups.  This FAQ will not settle that debate.  The best
answer is pragmatic:  do the exercises that do what you want them to.  If
you are focusing on building up the protective muscles around your knees or
adding a little shoulder endurance then some isolation work will be very

If you are working on overall fitness then do some whole body
lifts.  Everyone ends up with a slightly different combination, but a good
way to start is with a combination of whole body and free weight exercises
that work your overall fitness and a few isolation exercises to work
trouble spots.  Remember that you only have so much time to work and try to
get the maximum benefit from your workouts. 

Will lifting weights make me big and slow?

While many people believe that simply walking into a weight room will
automatically make them look like Arnold Schwarzenegger this is not the
case.  The weight room monsters you see in there have worked very hard for
a very long time to get that way.  They build muscles by alternating
between eating massively and then dieting off the fat, by lifting heavy
weights for short sets, and by staying clear of running and of extensive
cardiovascular exercise. 

If you lift lighter weights for longer sets and
keep on running at least 3 times/week for at least 30 minutes then you will
get stronger but you will not get much bigger.  Distance running actually
eats your muscle mass, and there are many stories of heavily muscled very
fit people training to run a marathon and seeing their weight drop by 10
percent even though they ate massively throughout their training

Weight training is a useful part of a balanced training routine. Many endurance runners are skeptical about its value and there have been some contradictory statements made about it. There have been several studies of NCAA runners and weight training. They were inconclusive - weight training neither sped them up nor slowed them down on average. Most world class distance runners never touch the weight room. Other top runners feel that weight training helps them run. The key is that different runners lift with different routines and get different results. This FAQ argues that weight training will do little to speed up an athlete already in competitive shape, but will increase overall fitness, prevents injuries, and can help athletes who are trying to get into good enough shape to enjoy running in local, club-level road races. For clarity it breaks runners into three ideal types: the competitive runner who is interested in maximizing her 10K time and not much else, the protective runner who is injury prone and wants to avoid downtime, and the fitness runner.

The idea in all of these is to make the best use of your limited time. Do the big whole-body lifts first, then do the lifts that work the body parts that will help your running.

Optional exercises can be done after the others or can be rotated into

Competitive runner:: light squats 4 sets of 12; dumbbell bench press, 3 sets of 12; barbell incline press 3 sets of 12; barbell shrugs 3 sets of 12; dumbbell shoulder press 3 sets of 12; abdominals.

Optional exercises: dumbbell shoulder raise; stiff legged dead lift; preacher curl.

Defensive lifter: squats, 4 sets of 12; leg extensions 3 sets of 12; leg curls 3 sets of 12; calf raises 3 sets of 12; turned-foot leg lifts; abdominals.

Optional exercises: anything that works the abductors and adductors. Can be done with fitness machines, cable stations, or Jefferson squats.

Fitness runner: squats, 4 sets of 12; lat pulldowns (pullups if you can do them) 3 sets of 12; leg extensions 3 sets of 12; bench press 3 sets of 12; calf raises 3 sets of 12; shoulder press 3 sets of 12; abdominals.

Optional exercises: deadlift, dips, dumbbell flies, preacher curl. Sprinter:: Squats, 4 sets of 12; Stiff legged dead lifts, 3 sets of 10; Bench press, 3 sets of 10; Pullups/lat pulldowns, 3 sets of 10; Leg curls, 3 sets of 10. Also rotate some preacher curls and dumbbell rows into your workout.

Optional exercises: shoulder raises, leg extensions if you have knee trouble. Don't forget the situps/hyperextensions. For all runners consider using lunges and front squats as occasional variations on squats.

How should I do my sets You should do them well. (Sorry) Things to remember:
A, Do the set with good form. If your form falters the set has just gone to failure. Stop or reduce the weight.
B, Rest only about 30 seconds between sets. You are lifting for muscular endurance, not to maximize hypertrophy or to recruit the maximum number of neuromuscular connections.
C, Move rapidly from one exercise to the next.
D, Move the weights slowly and smoothly. Try to do the eccentric part of the movement (the part where you relax and put the weight down) more slowly than the positive (or concentric) portion.
E, Do not use a weight belt. These increase your maximum lift by compressing your abdomen and giving extra support. They are also a crutch that will leave you with weak abdominals. Besides, you aren't trying to lift heavy. (Some people also argue that the belt reminds them of proper back form. Just feel the right form and you will be OK.)
F, when you do your squats do go down until your legs are bent at at least a 90 degree angle. Preferably go down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Runners do not need to take their squats much below parallel.
G, Do not worry that the gym monsters are lifting larger weights with different routines than you are. You are developing your strength endurance without messing up your ability to recover from hard runs, they are maximizing either growth or one-rep strength.

How often should I change my workout?
Running follows a cycle of hard-easy. This applies to days, weeks, months, and seasons and is based on giving the body a chance to recover from exertion. Lifting is also a way of challenging your body and making it respond. It follows cycles of 8-12 weeks, at the end of which the body will stop responding to your current workout.

Common ways to change the workout are: give a month or so of shorter sets and heavier weights, alternate the order of your exercises, change the things you do to work each body part, alter the tempo or rest intervals.

In addition many people cycle their training so that they do heavier and harder lifting during the running off season when they are simply building base. Then they cut back on the weight workouts - doing fewer exercises and lighter weights - during speed work training and prime racing season.

Runners are taught that it is a very bad thing to run the same route each week, timing yourself, and trying to improve your time each and every week. This is a recipe for overtraining.

Lifting, by contrast, you want to do the same exercise for several weeks, and if you do not improve - lift more weight, do more repetitions, finish stronger - for two or three sessions in a row then it is time to re-arrange your workout and shock your system again.

In addition remember that while you lose running fitness very rapidly with a layoff your lifting strength, once achieved, will not go away as fast. One common power lifter cycle is sets of 8-10 for two months, sets of 3-5 for a month, sets of 1-3 for a month, competition, 1 week completely off.  Repeat.

This is a lot like the runners cycle of; base building, threshold training, speed work, competition, off week. The point: change your workouts every 2-3 months, keep them the same long enough to see progress. Cycle your lifting intensity to complement your running.
Women have different neuromuscular connections and can work effectively at a higher proportion of their one repetition maximum. They should generally lift for 15 repetitions and not the 12 that male runners lift. This difference persists at lower repetition counts, and women should lift 10 instead of 8, 5 instead of 3 and so on. Finally, women are more prone to osteoporosis and suffer more from muscle loss as they age. They get proportionally much more benefit from lifting, especially from the big whole body lifts where your body has to brace to move a lot of weight. This seems to do the best job of increasing bone density. (There is also an amazing sensual thrill to picking up something heavy and moving it.) *
Jason Ross <IronClinic@aol.com> comments that "Axial compression (loading) is the most important consideration when lifting weights to combat osteoporosis. "A squat would axially load the spine and leg bones whereas a leg extension would place sheer stress on the femur. Thus the squat is much better an exercise."
How should masters runners lift differently?
One of the things that we lose as we age is balance and supporting muscle strength. In addition it takes us longer to recover from injuries and exertion.
Free weights, especially dumbbells, require a lot of balance and a lot of supporting muscle strength. Once you can use them, however, they improve your balance and your stabilizers. In contrast a weight machine performs the stabilizing function for you - it will not wobble or shift on you. However, by locking your motions into the single track used by the machine it can lead to unbalanced development and further injury.
Masters runners who are just starting to lift should stick to the machines until they get comfortable with the general motions and balance required. Then they should decide if they feel safer moving to free weights or sticking with the machines. Everyone who shifts from machines to free weights sees their poundages drop. It is always a good idea to start using free weights with light weights until you are comfortable with the motions and balancing required. Both of these points are even more important for the Masters runners.

I am working out to lose weight, why does my scale say I am heavier?
Your weight only really matters to your knees. Muscle is much denser than fat. It is very common to start running and lifting, lose a large amount of body fat, add some lean muscle, and see the scale go up and the clothing sizes go down. If it were not so easy to measure weight, no one would use it.

A much better gauge of fitness is a set of calipers used to measure body fat percentage. Also many of us have "reference clothing" a jacket, pair of pants or dress that we have had for a while and that we use to judge our fitness. Try this on every week or two and see what happens.

Also look at your belt loops, or take a measuring tape to your waist. Some fancy scales claim to measure your body fat through electrical resistance. They can monitor changes in your fat levels but they are thrown off by changes in your hydration level.

Once you are at your desired level of fitness you can pull out the scale again, but now use it not to measure fitness but to watch for the sudden weight drops that are a sign of overtraining. I also find that morning weigh ins are useful because they tell me when I need to eat more. Just remember that weight is a secondary indicator of fitness, and that it carries absolutely NO normative value by itself. Don't be surprised if you start lifting to go with your running, your weight stays stable or increases moderately, and yet people start telling you that you have lost a lot of weight. They mean that you are visibly fitter, so smile and thank them. The measure on the scale doesn't really matter at that point.

  Are seated leg extensions dangerous?
Some people feel that seated leg extensions are dangerous because the position at the start of the positive phase of the movement, with your legs hanging down as you push them forward, places unusual and unbalanced stress on the knee and especially on the anterior cruciate ligament. It also encourages people to twist or turn their legs oddly while they lift.
Runners generally do this exercise in order to work the stabilizer muscles at the bottom of the thigh. These are only worked as you approach full extension (the painful part of the exercise.) I found it useful to place my hand on the vastus medialus in order to feel it contract at the top of the movement. Once I learned what that felt like I could concentrate on forcing that muscle to work harder during the exercise.   Always be sure that you line up the knee's axis of rotation with the machine's pivot point. Especially if you are moving heavy weights, do not bring your leg all the way back to 90 degrees, remember to do the movement slowly and smoothly - no jerking, a Some alternative exercises are: front squats, close stance sissy squats.
What should sprinters do differently
All runners want to have balanced legs, preferable with quadriceps stronger than hamstrings in a ratio of about 3:2. Endurance runners tend to have stronger hamstrings than quadriceps. Sprinters and football players generally have stronger quadriceps than hamstrings. I say lift both sides of the leg as the best way to strengthen the weaker portion. That means doing squats.
Other good leg exercises for sprinters are: hamstring curl, Stiff legged dead lift, and leg extension. Both the SLDL and the leg extension can be dangerous. Sprinters also need strong quads and hip flexors. Pliometrics and hills will work both of these. To make sure you work your hip flexors you should use situps and hyperextensions rather than crunches to work your midriff. Work your abs hard (this is good advice for everyone, not just sprinters.)
Sprinters need upper body strength not just upper body endurance. Bench press hits a lot of muscles. Do it. Also do some pullups or lat pulldowns. You will get more benefit than most runners from doing curls, preacher curls are the most effective ones. Don't overdo it on the curls. RedTed sez that most people, and especially most men, overdo their biceps work. Also do some shoulder presses, shoulder raises, and other upper body work. I find that strong lats help me power up hills, so a few rows would be a very good thing if you can fit them into your workout. Finally a strong lower back is a very useful thing. If you add that up it comes to a complete body workout, with a mild emphasis on the back of the body. I am going to guess that sprinters would do well lifting in 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions each with about 45-60 seconds rest between sets.
This is a routine that is equidistant between the mass-building and the endurance-building level. It also will not wipe you out as completely as a pure strength session (warmup, then 5 sets of 3 very heavy, 5 minutes rest between sets, split the body up and lift different parts each day, often chest/triceps, back/biceps, legs.) This way you will be able to put forth good hard effort on your hills and repeats. Stretch. Stretch some more. Remember to do moving stretches not just static ones. By this I mean that a weekly session of 200 meter intervals, run smoothly but not too fast, will do a lot to keep you loose. We all have stories about the high school sprinter who spent the winter in the weight room and lost 2-5 seconds off his 200 the following spring.

How often should I lift weights?

If you are just starting out you should lift three times a week on your easy running days. Do all of your lifts the same day, but be sure not to spend more than one hour in the gym.

After a while you may find that you like it or that you want to separate your workout. The most common splits are upper body/lower body and pushing exercises/pulling exercises. More advanced lifters will work each body part one time a week.

If you are training hard on running, reduce your light whole-body workouts to twice a week. Only lift once a week or not at all in prime racing season or the final taper before a marathon.

Remember that the most important part of a workout is the recovery. Just as you do not want to run intervals several days in a row you do not want to alternate hard runs and hard lifts without taking the occasional day completely off. A good hard session of lifting can stress the body more than a tempo run does, especially if you lift heavy with the whole-body exercises like squat and deadlift.

Should I run first or lift first?

If you are lifting lightly it doesn't really matter which one you do first. Try it each way for a week and then do what suits you. Here are some common combinations and the logic behind them. Generally you do the most important workout first. If you are lifting to failure or working close to your limits you should lift before running. If there is some slack in your lifting then go ahead and run first if that feels better.

Which workout to do first is most important for people who are lifting for about 30 minutes and running for about 30 minutes in the same workout.

Here the first workout can tire you out for the second. Many people feel that their run is more important and do it first. This is a combination workout that generally goes with an easy run however. More, a mild change in your easy run will make a big change in your ability to lift, while a good hard lift will not change your easy run very much. I recommend lifting first in this situation as it makes it easier to know how much weight to put on the bar.

You can follow your set routine, lift quickly and effectively, and then jog off the lift.

What About My Weight?

Gaining weight is something most people try not to do. On every corner, in every store, on every magazine cover, and whatever direction you turn, people are obsessed with weight loss. Fat loss, fat loss, fat loss. Even 95% of all fitness related sites on the Internet are geared towards losing fat.

However, there are some people, who struggle their whole lives trying to pack on extra pounds and are underweight. I was one of those people. People, pre-dispositioned to skinniness, are commonly referred to as “hard gainers.” This is the cool way to label your scrawny frame despite the fact that your body turns into a Number 2 pencil when you wear yellow!

It's not totally your fault you are skinny

In the skinny guys defence, the reality is that some have been cursed with traits like Lamborghini type metabolisms, giraffe like limbs, and the strength of a senior citizen. These people have to fight with every bone in their body to do something about their small frame and to keep up to their male buddies who seem to grow muscle just by sneezing.

Even though you might think that your genetic deficiencies have sentenced you to a life of frailty and surprised looks when you tell others you lift weights; I am living proof that hard gainers with very ‘muscle-unfriendly genes’ can fight back against their genetics and gain muscle weight.

Skinny guys must play by a different set of rules

If you are underweight than your first step to gaining weight is to understand that you must play by a different set up rules. You must think outside the box and give up the excuse of being a ‘hardgainer.’ It is time to stop listening to all the naysayers who have told you that is impossible to gain weight because of your genetics.

It is time to give up the eating habits and workouts that have not delivered the results you have been looking for. Regardless of what you have been lead to believe, you do have the potential to build an impressive physique that turns heads and build a new level of strength that intimidates! Below I have provided four very practical and straight forward tips that you can apply today. If you have attempted to bulk up and are still on the light side of the scale it is because of one main reason - you are trying to build a house without the cement and wood. You are trying to buy a $50,000 car with only $25,000 in the bank. Both scenarios are literally impossible.

Four tips to growing like a skyscraper!

Let's take a look at the relation to building muscle and calories. Your muscles grow on calories and require more than you are currently eating. If you are underweight and no longer wish to resemble a microphone stand than you must overload your metabolism to ensure growth.

Double it up.

One of the most practical steps you can take is by doubling what you are currently eating in the kitchen right now. If you are eating one chicken breast per meal than cook up two. If you are only eating two slices of bread than make it four. If you are eating one handful of nuts than make it two.

If you are using only two scoops of protein powder than make it three. Pretty simple? Most likely you are only a few dozen meals short of filling out those underdeveloped body parts. I assume you are already in the kitchen and have the food out. Perhaps finding the time to get in extra meal is your next challenge to overcome but for right now you have to excuse not to shovel down a greater percentage of calories by doubling it up!

Live your life around food.

Sure you know that you must eat every 2-3 hours but how well do you execute? Set your clock around or a countdown timer to go off every 2 and ½ hours so that you reinforce the habit of eating literally not a second late for each meal! You should be eating your first meal within 15-30 minutes of waking up - absolutely no later. Don’t be surprised if you are not gaining weight if you do not find yourself spending more time preparing food, more time eating food and more time cleaning your kitchen. You should also find yourself spending more time in the grocery store and you should also find that you are budgeting more money on food each week.

Use BIG eating equipment

If you want to bulk than you have to eat like Hulk. Do you think Hulk eats out of small plate, or a small bowel or a small cup? If you are aiming to get BIG, you are going to require large amounts of food most likely close to double of what you are currently eating. So get BIG eating equipment! Get a BIG cup, get a BIG bowel and get a BIG plate. Surround yourself with BIG. Most of the time hard gainers are nothing more than ‘under eaters.’ If you struggle to complete a meal than a bigger serving on a bigger plate will look small!

Never train hungry

How many times have you waken up, whipped up a protein shake and than headed off to the gym? Or maybe you had a long afternoon and missed a few meals and than attempted a weight training workout after work? I thought this was common sense until a few of my skinny clients confessed that they were showing up for their workouts having only eaten a piece of fruit and some crackers within the last half day. After dropping the 45 pound plate on my foot out of shock they reassured me that ‘they were not hungry.’ I sometimes screamed back, “Yeah, that’s because your metabolism is in starvation mode and shut right down you skinny pencil neck.”

I understand that training in the morning is the only time for some however I recommend to aim for a minimum of at least three solid meals in your system prior to eating. Would you take your car out on a long trip with a half empty fuel tank? Not unless you want the car to die and push it the rest of the way. So why would you take your body through a grueling training session on a empty stomach?

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