Jul 3rd, 2010
Raph contemplating the benefits of strength during an 800 meter run.
The case for strength driving progress on higher intensity, shorter duration conditioning workouts is straightforward. When you need to perform multiple repetitions of a weighted exercise, making it so that load is a smaller proportion of your one repetition maximum will yield performance improvements. Cardiovascular endurance, while important, will not help you deadlift 225 pounds 21, 15, and 9 times for the CrossFit workout Dianne when your maximum deadlift is 250 pounds. What is less obvious is whether strength will have any carryover to more purely endurance activities. Will picking up barbells make you a better runner or cyclist? The answer is yes, although there are caveats.
Your chosen focus in fitness will require specific training geared toward that goal. If you want to be an Olympic weightlifter, you need to practice clean and jerks as part of your training. If you wish to be a runner, you must run. CrossFit competence requires working on CrossFit movements, usually under duress. Lifting weights, or doing other resistance training, can serve to boost performance on endurance activities while the converse is rarely true. In fact, focusing too much on longer, slower distance activities will often cause strength gains to stall or erode. Unfortunately, life is not quite as simple as increasing your squat and immediately reaping faster 10K run times.