It is not a big surprise that runners like to run. Due to the desire to get in more miles, we will typically not place emphasis on a designated time for strength and power training. However, this additional aspect of training is integral to becoming a stronger and more efficient runner.

A systematic review and meta analysis looked at the effect of explosive training and heavy weight training on running economy. This study showed that heavy weight training or explosive training, in combination with endurance training, decreases the energy cost of running (running economy).

This means that by doing this additional weight and plyometric training, a runner can improve their running efficiency, which can lead to improved performance.

Research showed an improvement in running economy within 4-6 weeks with concurrent/combination training.

Take away 

Running economy can be improved by adding power work or heavy lifting into an exercise routine. Power work could entail plyometric exercises to target explosive training when heavy lifting is hard to implement. 


The emphasis is on heavier lifting in order to attain the appropriate result. Therefore, focus on heavier loads with lower repetitions. You can perform deadlifts, squats, cleans, etc. in order to work on this aspect of heavy lifting.

Due to availability of weights, it can be challenging to attain a heavy enough load. Therefore, you can decrease the weight of the exercises and focus on the speed at which you perform the lifts, and/or you can work on the quickness of getting off the ground via plyometrics.

Below are some examples of exercises you can perform for work on power development:

  1. Dumbbell push press
  2. Double leg squat jump
  3. Split squat jump
  4. Double leg hurdle hops
  5. Single leg hurdle hops

 This information is not intended to be medical advice. Consult with your physician or physical therapist before beginning any exercise program.


Denadai BS, de Aguiar RA, de Lima LC, Greco CC, Caputo F. Explosive Training and Heavy Weight Training are Effective for Improving Running Economy in Endurance Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2017;47(3):545-554. doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0604-z

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