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  • Leg Workout

    For the runners out there, do you do leg workouts with weights? Do you find that it helps your times.

    I'm preping for Marine OCS so not only do I need to be able to run a pretty fast 5K, I need to be able to hump a pack up hill, and have good general strength and endurance. I've been doing a lot of upper body work and running but I haven't done much leg weight work. I'm just wondering if it's going to help. I expect that it will help with general fitness but I'm concerned what it might do to my run time.
    On the wings of a dove
    Let's roll for justice
    Let's roll for truth
    Let's not let our children grow up
    Fearful in their youth -- Neil Young

  • #2
    I'm right there with you. I've been in the service 17 years, and maintaining a balance between strength conditioning and cardio endurance is always a challenge.

    My specialty calls for humping a rucksack also. Most of the time, it's well over 100lbs, unless we're doing a timed movement when it's always 60lbs dry.

    I weigh 215, have a large leg size, can still do 3-5 miles at a 7 minute/mile pace, I don't do heavy squats or deadlifts, and I only run 2-3 times per week.

    Here's my leg routine. It's all circuit/high-rep stuff. I use a bar on my shoulders with 135lbs, and then do 10 front lunges (5/leg), then 10 quick full squats right after.

    Next time I do legs, I'll do step-ups on with 40lb dumbells, followed by silly old-fashioned jumps. Squat all the way down, and jump as high as you can, 10-15 times. It's a smoker.

    This is what I found to maintain a good leg routine, without hindering my endurance, and actually helped my run time come down.
    Whitechapel - Hate Creation

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    • #3
      That's good to know. Thanks for the reply.

      I'm 5'9" 170lbs so I think I'm going to cut down on my squat weight and the weight I use for lunges. Sunday I did 2 sets of 20 lunges, 10 each leg, with 2 25lb dumb bells and I was spent. I always shoot for 3 sets of everything so 50lbs was definately too much. I squat about the same but I'm pushing it to get three sets with 135-145-145. I also do leg curls and extensions but so infrequently I never remember how much weight I do with those.

      I was thinking about doing some step work too but I've never done it before. Maybe I'll try some of that.
      On the wings of a dove
      Let's roll for justice
      Let's roll for truth
      Let's not let our children grow up
      Fearful in their youth -- Neil Young

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      • #4
        Sounds like you're on the right track. I do SOME lower body weight work, but not a whole lot - press, extension, curl and squat. Can't do lunges because they bother my knees. Squat jumps and step-ups are a good suggestion (just be careful about your knee angle - beyond 90 degrees and you're placing a LOT of strain on your knee joint - which has a cumulative effect over the long term).

        May also want to think about using one of your weekly runs to focus on hills - nothing builds leg strength and stamina (as well as mental strength) like hill running. I do adventure racing so spend a LOT of time looking for (and training on) hills in both running and biking. I still HATE hills, but they don't scare me anymore!.

        If you start focusing more on lower body lifting, I would also suggest that you give more attention to flexibility training as well. Lack of flexibility through the achilles tendon, hamstrings and hip flexors will slow down your running (and these all have a tendancy to become tighter with regular strength training).

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        • #5
          When I went through OCS, I found that being a good runner helped me more than anything. Be prepared to do a lot of time in the front leaning rest too.
          Visit TheologyWeb.com now!!!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by krj
            May also want to think about using one of your weekly runs to focus on hills - nothing builds leg strength and stamina (as well as mental strength) like hill running.
            Amen! Running flat surface all the time is boring anyway. It's easy to do event-specific training, and lose sight of fitness goals. In the military, sometimes guys focus on pushups, situps and running, and that's it.

            I love running on trails through the woods. You end up using alot more stabilizing muscles that get ignored running flat surface.
            Whitechapel - Hate Creation

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            • #7
              I agree. Hills and trails are much better than running on the road. There are a couple state parks around here that have some tough hills. I don't really hate hills. I like them it's just the miles before and after that I have problems with
              On the wings of a dove
              Let's roll for justice
              Let's roll for truth
              Let's not let our children grow up
              Fearful in their youth -- Neil Young

              Comment


              • #8
                Becareful with doing lunges and running in the same time period. Lunges really work the hamstrings and running can exhaust them which was the cause of my hamstring tear.

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                • #9
                  What do you mean by "same time period"? Same day? Next day? If it a choice between lunges once a week and running 3-4 times a week I might have to drop the lunges. Right now the plan is leg work on wednesdays and run Monday, (maybe Thursday), Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

                  I suppose I should say that running is my priority. I'm at @ 21:30 3 mile and want to get to 20 min by June 1. I can't afford an injury like a torn hamstring right now. I decided to start weights to augment my running but I don't want to risk a serious injury, and I don't want to cut down on the miles.

                  BTW, how did you know you tore your hamstring? Was it a noticeable instant where you said ow I hurt something? or was it more gradual?
                  Last edited by jarhead6073; 04-01-2004, 11:53 AM.
                  On the wings of a dove
                  Let's roll for justice
                  Let's roll for truth
                  Let's not let our children grow up
                  Fearful in their youth -- Neil Young

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would keep it simple. Just don't do a hard run after a leg workout. Take a day off, continue to stretch, and you should be fine.

                    Here's my simple schedule for TOTAL fitness, not trying to run a marathon, and just getting some simple strength training in without killing myself:

                    Day 1 - Run 5-7 miles medium pace
                    Day 2 - Chest/Back
                    Day 3 - Run 2-3 miles fast pace
                    Day 4 - Legs/Shoulders
                    Day 5 - OFF! Stretch, sauna, relax, whatever

                    Repeat...
                    Whitechapel - Hate Creation

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jarhead6073
                      What do you mean by "same time period"? Same day? Next day? If it a choice between lunges once a week and running 3-4 times a week I might have to drop the lunges. Right now the plan is leg work on wednesdays and run Monday, (maybe Thursday), Friday, Saturday or Sunday.


                      BTW, how did you know you tore your hamstring? Was it a noticeable instant where you said ow I hurt something? or was it more gradual?
                      By the same time period I mean, in my case, in the same workout. I was running for about twenty minutes as a warm up then hitting the leg weights. My doctor said that running really hits the hams so I was exhausting them to the point that my muscle fibers were misfiring instead of firing in a coordinated manner. A self test of this is to lay on your stomach and bend one of your legs back half way just like the mid point of a leg curl. Now have someone hold that leg while you try to curl it more. If you leg is shaking then the fibers are misfiring. In my case it was so bad that when I tried to curl my leg up while standing, as if trying to tie a shoe while standing, my leg was shaking. Scar tissue from pervious strains and sprains wasn't helping either. Dropping too many carbs was the straw that broke my hamstring's back, muscles have to have carbs more than anything else.

                      M doctor said he sees this injury all the time with sprinters and squaters who run or do two leg days a week. What I'm trying now is running every other day and not running at all on leg day. I do a light eliptical rider workout as a warm up for legs and as my light cardio day. This way I can run relatively hard on my running days and have a day off after each run to get som rest. I've also slowed down a tad but extended my run a little to work on my base. The trade is more muscle fatigue so we shall see. I've also put away my heart rate monitor as I think it was causing me more problems then it was solving. I'm going to go by feel and planning and save the monitor for my eliptical day.

                      Because of time and family constraints and for recovery I run and workout at the same time and take everyother day off of working out totally unless it means going more than two days w/o running.
                      Last edited by JRT6; 04-02-2004, 09:27 AM.

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                      • #12
                        JRT - I HOPE that you don't mind (and you have already alluded to many of them in some of your posts re: your hamstring injury) - but what you are experiencing now is an opportunity to bottom-line some injury prevention stuff for the benefit of others.

                        NUTRITION:
                        Last year all the buzz was about Atkins. This year it's about low carb. Next year it'll be about something else. Ignore it all. You need fat and protein, but for those who are physically active the biggest portion of their diet should come from quality carbs.

                        PREVIOUS INJURIES:
                        Respect previous injuries. Know that because something has ALREADY been injured, the potential for REinjury of the same area is greater.

                        PAY ATTENTION TO "TWINGES"
                        Most injuries start with small "warning signs" that many of us choose to ignore. Those quiet, little, early warning signs often turn into screaming pain if we keep ignoring them. Pay attention to twinges, soreness, discomfort - usually some ice and a day off will be enough to make 'em go away. A day off won't set your fitness goals back (but weeks and months off because of serious injury WILL set you back).

                        REST:
                        Building adequate rest periods into your workout plan is AS important as all the physical workouts you do. Body structures are microscopically damaged during exercise, and they need time to repair.

                        INTENSITY OF WORKOUTS:
                        Not ALL of your workouts should be maximal efforts (in fact, most SHOULDN'T be). There should be hard workout days and easy workout days built into your week. With respect to running - a "listening to your body" pace is preferable to a "HR monitor" pace. Within a short period of time you'll just KNOW where you are in terms of heart rate at every point in your run. You can FEEL it.

                        STRETCHING:
                        Regular flexibility training a) maintains flexibility around joints b) increases efficiency of muscle contractions (and consequently all types of movements that are a RESULT of muscle contractions) c) releases tension in muscles.

                        Muscles act as shock absorbers - and they help to dissipate stresses we place on our body. One of the major reasons that I have not injured myself during some of the falls I have taken off my mtn bike over the past year is that I have strong, flexible muscles able to absorb some of the shock (well...that and a lot of luck ).

                        CROSS TRAINING:
                        I fought through knee problems and shin splints for YEARS before I gave up on running. I started running again a couple of years ago, but also during that time have become involved in a multi-sport that requires me to train in a NUMBER of different activities. There's been a lot of sore muscles (and a lot of bumps and bruises) - but no injuries (and I'm more active now that I was a decade ago).

                        You may chose to have one activity as your PRIMARY activity - but I am convinced that cross-training (placing different stresses on different parts of the body, in different ways) is a successful recipe for lowering injuries over the long haul.
                        Last edited by krj; 04-02-2004, 03:55 PM.

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                        • #13
                          In my particular case I had no warning at all other than the spasms in my hamstrings that I noticed in hindsight. There was never any pain prior to the injury although prior pain is usually the case.
                          I score in the 100 percentile for hamstring/lower back flexablity.


                          As far as going hard on legs. My weight and reps are almost never change. I'm as strong as I can realisticaly get w/o getting hurt. The pain in my knees determines the cycle I'm on and not a set schedule. I don't do light days as to me they are a waste of time. If an exercise hurts, rather than prolonging the recovery by going light which in the end is still working the muscle, I do something else instead for a while. I get anywhere from 6-9 days off between between body parts(ex. chest on the 1st of the month and then again on the 8th) so my muscles get plenty of recovery. The great thing about getting stronger is that the stronger you are the more recovery you need which means less time in the gym and more time to do other things in life.

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