5. Strength Training Does Wonders for Mobility
Remember how all strength training articles stress the importance of completing a full range of motion? This is how resistance exercises are correctly performed. A greater range of motion brings many benefits, one of which is improving joint mobility. Neither running nor cycling offer this potential – in fact, it’s generally terrible for people with mobility issues.
You can see the difference by comparing a simple exercise like the lunge with running – lunges will strengthen your hips and thighs, improve hip mobility and fix existing muscle imbalances, while running will only strengthen your leg muscles, especially the calves. Try to compare any classic strength-building exercise with running and you’ll get the same result.
#6. Strength Training Will Reduce Your Risk of Injury
And yet the opposite is not true. As it turns out, running can be a rather dangerous sport – recent research has shown that as many as 79% of runners get injured at least once during the year. Physiotherapists have claimed for ages now that excessive running and cycling can create a multitude of inherent imbalances within the organism, mainly because of the limited range of motion and endless, repetitive movement patterns, which is basically a recipe for overuse injuries.
So how can runners, or anyone else for that matter, protect the health of their joints and connective tissues? By incorporating an adequate amount of strength work into their fitness regime, of course. Besides its ability to strengthen your muscles and tendons, strength training also enables you to fix strength imbalances, improve muscle coordination and prioritize natural, functional movements of the body that can’t be trained with running and cycling.
By the way, research on the subject has shown that lack of hip strength and poor development of the core muscles are one of the most frequent causes of common running injuries, and recommended that runners perform strength training to identify and improve their weak areas.
#7. Strength Training Builds a Better-looking Physique
Kind of a no-brainer here. Unless your idea of physical aesthetics is radically different from the one endorsed by most people, you have to agree that, if done properly, strength training can help you build a spectacular physique by maximally developing every muscle in your body, while cycling and running will mostly affect your calves and quads (and possibly weaken your posture).
A high degree of aesthetics is all about the optimal balance between size, proportion, symmetry, and body fat percentage. There are many people with greatly-built bodies out there that haven’t gone through a lot of running, but almost all of them have done strength training for longer periods of time.
#8. Strength Training Offers Immense Exercise Variety
“Novelty or training variety are important for stimulating further strength development”, claims a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, and we couldn’t agree more. Varity is the key for breaking or even avoiding the vicious cycle of monotony and loss of motivation, and in combination with progressive overload, it’s what helps lifters keep on making strength and mass gains.
As you have probably experienced by yourself, cycling and running don’t offer a whole lot in this department – the choice between uphill or downhill running/cycling isn’t exactly what we’d call a wide range of options. On the other hand, there are dozens of ways to do squats and all of them pack unique benefits! The same can be said for a great number of major upper body and lower body exercises.
You can always easily up the challenge and keep your workout interesting by modifying familiar movements and adding little twists to exercises you’ve properly mastered, or you can choose a completely different set of exercises which train the same muscles in a different way. And that’s how you build a complete, healthy and well-defined physique.
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