Running Strength Training Programs
From the desk of Dr. Drew Deppen, DC...
As a chiropractor, strength coach, and running coach, I often get asked by fellow track and cross country coaches about setting up strength and conditioning programs with their athletes. Most of the time coaches know they should implement this in to their routine, but they just don’t know how, or what they should implement. So they ask me – Coach, could you come and give us a strength routine?
While I always enjoy doing this, it’s often a larger challenge than most people realize. For starters – different athletes have different weaknesses. These require slightly different routines. So coming up with a few general exercises will sometimes leave some of your athletes wasting their time, at best.
Now, you say – Well don’t most runners have similar issues or weaknesses? The answer is yes, and therefore, we can come up with some exercises that all programs should do. These exercises should cover the most vital movements for running -
~ Ankle dorsiflexion
~ Belly breathing
~ Hip extension.
So my preference is to include the following exercises / drills in every program – Side bridge, ankle bounds / hops, heel shuffles, backwards walking, minarets, single leg squats and jumps, high knee’s, heel kicks, belly breathing, bear crawls.
There – I somewhat solved my first challenge.
The next challenge that most of us coaches (myself, often included) don’t integrate is PROGRESSION to the strength program. We understand this for the running program, but often not for strength. While it may be good to simply use strength training as a means to create and maintain balance in the stride and body; it would be even better if the program could also aid in specific performance benefits.
For instance – your 5K girl has trouble closing the last 400m. How could strength training help here? General strength prep is of course warranted, and as you then progress how about including some tuck jumps or box jumps, or jump rope after a tempo session?
Your 10K guy can’t cover surges mid race. Have a kettle bell nearby and have him do 10 swing sets during an interval workout. These are ways to specifically challenge and work on weaknesses.
We also need to take in to account progression. For a general prep phase we can do just about anything and it will be just fine in building fitness. Let’s pick the dead lift. It’s a great exercise, works the glutes, hips and spine. During a championship phase the dead lift needs not be off the ground. It can start off the ground in the general prep phase in order to get full hip ROM. But as we get closer it should progress to a more mid-range flexion to full extension – off blocks or elevated up off the ground.
i.e. more similar to the running form. The weight may change, as could the reps/set ratios. All should mimic what you want your athlete to achieve.
This can of course be a challenge to coordinate for an entire team. And because of this strength is often either left out, or just thrown in haphazardly. For distance runners you can somewhat get away with it, but to constantly produce high class sprinters, that also peak when you want the to – it’s a vital component to the training program. (And even distance runners, you’ll find, will benefit from having a strength program with progression and purpose!)
Drew Deppen, D.C. Licensed Chiropractor
As your Boston Back Bay Chiropractor, Dr. Deppen takes pride in the diversity of his practice. He has worked with a wide variety of patients from Olympic medalists to the everyday active person, Dr. Deppen’s Boston practice uses the most current evidence-based treatment protocols. He has a deep interest in Rehabilitation strategies, Vojta Therapy or Dynamic Neuromusclar Stabilization, McKenzie Method Protocol, Active Release Technique, Strength and Conditioning, and Applied Kinesiology. Dr. Deppen is also the only Chiropractor in Boston Back Bay with McKenzie certification credentials. Additionally, Dr. Deppen is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a USA Track and Field Certified Coach. Research has proven that both chiropractic manipulation and exercise are the gold standard for spine pain. Dr. Deppen's combination of Chiropractic, McKenzie Method, and Strength Coach experience is a powerful combination for patients.
Dr. Deppen grew up in Chicago, Illinois. As a young athlete, Dr. Deppen was fortunate enough to work with a local chiropractor for many years while in high school. From there, Drew went to Eckerd College, graduating with Honors with a degree in Biology and Chemisty. While at Eckerd, Dr. Deppen played volleyball and captained the team under Coach Dexter Rodgers, a former silver medalist.
Dr. Deppen then attended Palmer College of Chiropractic and graduated magna cum laude. Palmer is the oldest and most prestigious chiropractic school in the world. While at Palmer, Dr. Deppen developed a love for endurance sports: running, cycling, and triathlons. Since then, Dr. Deppen has completed multiple Ironman events, and every distance from a 10K through 100-mile road races.
As a way to couple Dr. Deppen’s love of running and desire to help out in the community, he started coaching and working with a local high school while in Chicago. He had the pleasure to coach high school athletes in both Cross Country and Track and Field for three years and in this time frame, helped coach and develop three NCAA Division I and four NCAA Division III athletes, as well as six Illinois All-State athletes.
During this same time, Dr. Deppen also worked with many beginner and amateur runners, both high school age and adults looking to participate in road running. Often times, Dr. Deppen’s patients have asked him to help them learn how to run or train for a marathon. Some of Dr. Deppen's most memorable moments from running lie in this arena: helping others find the love and joy of running and chiropractic to change their lives.
Dr. Deppen truly values the integrative approach offered at OMBE Integrative Health Center. He has seen how multiple disciplines together can create a unique approach to health and overall wellness. He looks forward to answering any questions you may have for him about chiropractic in a complimentary consult. Book online for any chiropractic service at our Boston location or contact OMBE for additional information.