I can run 10 miles. Now what for strength?
August 21, 2011 6:16 PM   Subscribe

For what level of strength training does my running the Army 10 Mile now qualify me?

I am male, 30, 6'1", 175 lbs. I have never been much for exercise but have been running the past few summers. This year I am running 10 miles every Saturday, 3 miles Mon, Tues, Thurs. I like it and I feel good. I try to eat well. (I probably cheat on Weds, Fri, Sun...)

I'm OK but I'm still a little chunky in the middle with skinny arms. I'd like to start strength training but I'm not sure how much or little I can handle at this point. I can't afford a gym or personal trainer.
posted by metajc to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
Best answer: Start from scratch with strength training. Cardio trains for cardio. It probably won't make a difference to your starting strength. Maybe your legs might be a bit stronger than the average guy's, but probably not noticeably. And it won't have affected your other muscles at all. AND the leg muscles used in leg-based lifts include ones that are not used in running, so if you start too heavy, you might injure some of the smaller muscles.

Do body weight lifts for a bit until you are comfortable with sets of chin ups, squats, push ups, etc. Then weight yourself: use a backpack filled with books or similar for squats. Get a kid to sit on your butt for push ups. Try one-armed chin ups. That will set you up for a long time, and then you can re-evaluate your gym options or other access to actual weighted bars.
posted by lollusc at 6:48 PM on August 21, 2011

Bodyweight exercises don't require any gym equipment or anything except some flat surfaces to work on. Push-ups, chin-ups (you can get one of those bars that goes in a doorway), squats, lunges, etc.

Running doesn't bring your strength up, but it does increase your stamina. When you first start strength training, your muscles are going to feel very sore and very tight at first (when I stop weight training and go back to it, I can't raise my arms to wash my hair the next day), so make sure to start out slow and steady.

In strength training, especially if you work with weights, form matters more than just about anything. There are a gazillion "how to" videos on YouTube about proper form for various exercises. Make sure you know how to do each exercise and that you check your form regularly. The worst thing you can do is hurt yourself by ignoring proper form.

Also, if you're still a bit chunky, the very best way to change that is to change your diet. Cheating on Weds, Fri and Sun probably is a bit too much cheating to hit your goals.
posted by xingcat at 7:10 PM on August 21, 2011

You don't mention what sort of strength training you want to do, and that will be very important to how you answer your question.

If you're interested in barbell work (deadlift, squat, press, etc.), a very good place to start is Mark Rippetoe's book, "Starting Strength". (There's also a website and a wiki for his program.) It will teach you good form and help you set up your program (several examples of beginner programs are shown on this page).
posted by Zonker at 3:05 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

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