We don’t always associate lifting weights with speed. So It might surprise you to find out that a two-time gold medalist Olympic runner like Eliud Kipchoge strength trains twice a week.
Can weight training really make you faster?
The short answer? “Yes, it can.”
The slightly longer answer? “Yes, it can—if you do it correctly.”
It’s pretty simple, really: when you’re stronger, you’re able to apply more force and move faster. And that extra bit of force (and speed) can mean the difference between winning and losing.
For example, lifting weights that make your back and legs stronger will help you run faster and jump higher.
So why don’t most people think of strength training as something we do to become faster?
One reason is that it can be difficult to see how weightlifting makes you move faster. After all, when you’re lifting weights, you’re generally not moving what one would call “fast.” But what you are doing is building muscle—and building muscle is crucial for becoming faster.
When most people think of what they can do to train to become faster, their minds instantly go to cardio activities, like running. And while running is important for developing speed and endurance, it doesn’t do much to help develop the kind of explosive power that can make you a speed demon on the track, field, or court. That’s where weightlifting comes in.
Can lifting weights help you perform better in your sport?
If you play a sport that requires you to be fast, then the answer is yes.
Think about it this way: if you can apply more force to your movements, you’ll be able to move faster. And that’s exactly what strength training helps you do.
It should come as no surprise, then, that many professional athletes—including football players, baseball players, and even tennis players—incorporate weightlifting into their training routines.
Of course, it’s not only professional athletes who benefit from strength training like lifting weights. If you simply want to improve your speed and power, strength training can help you do that, too.
Should runners lift weights?
Again, the answer is yes.
While runners naturally focus on building endurance with activities like long-distance running, strength training can help you build the explosive power you need to run faster.
Perhaps the reason this question still comes up so much is that, honestly, many runners don’t like to strength train. For many runners, the weight room isn’t as much of a thrill as running outdoors.
But the truth is that strength training can benefit runners in a number of ways.
- It can improve your running economy.
- It can help you avoid injuries.
- It can make you a more well-rounded athlete.
- It can increase your maximum speed and power.
So if you’re serious about becoming a faster runner, strength training is a must.
The bottom line?
Yes, weightlifting can help you become faster. But it’s not the only thing you need to do to develop greater speed and power. A speed training program that includes a variety of exercises is the best way to develop the speed and power you need to perform your best—no matter what sport you play. Incorporating other activities like sprinting, plyometrics, and even simple bodyweight exercises can also help you become faster.
If you want to develop the kind of explosive power that will help you perform your best, strength training in general is a great place to start. Just make sure you’re working the right muscles and doing the right exercises.