Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Runners Who Strength Train Found To Be 85% Less Likely To Sustain A Future Injury

January 24, 2023

Running related injuries are common and up to 90% of runners report an injury which limits their ability to train or compete. In our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinics the cause of these injuries is often either too much too soon or too little for too long. Either category can lead to an overuse injury in a runner due to the demands of running exceeding their tissue’s ability to tolerate training loads. Concurrent strength training continues to be prescribed for runners in order to improve their running performance, as well as, reduce their injury risk by increasing the tissue tolerance of the body. The higher the tissue’s (muscle, tendon, ligament, joint) tolerance is less likely to sustain an overuse injury. A recent study described the significant reduction in injury risk among runners who concurrently complete strength training.

Desai and colleagues studied the effectiveness of a strength training program on injuries among recreational runners (Scan J Med Sci Sports. 2023). Authors followed over 400 runners over 18 weeks and placed half in an intervention group and half in a control group. Both groups were instructed to maintain their current running volumes. The intervention group performed a 20 minute strength training routine twice a week which included single leg squats, lunges, crab walks, side planks, and foot arch training. In addition, they utilized a foam roller for thigh and leg muscles for 10 minutes. Authors then determined compliance with this program among runners randomized to the exercise group. The reported recreational runners, who were compliant with this program, had 85% less risk of a running related injury compared to controls.