3 reasons why you should add strength training to your running program

By Chiropractor Luka Fantela


Back in the day, if you wanted to become a better runner you would simply run, and then run some more!

While this can be a useful strategy to some extent…

More and more, we now see recreational runners all the way to elite-level runners incorporating strength training into their weekly training routine and the outcomes have been impressive.

So here’s why you should be adding strength training into your training schedule…

Improved Running Economy —

  • Defined as the the oxygen uptake required at a given sub-maximal running velocity (1). In other words, the better your running economy (RE), the less oxygen you need to maintain your running pace.
  • In recent studies, both strength and resistance training have been shown to be effective means at improving RE in all levels of runners (1,2) So yes, even the weekend warrior can supplement their running with some resistance exercise and reap the rewards.
  • The great thing is, these demonstrated benefits don’t require months to years to attain but only several weeks before these changes can be achieved (3,4).

Improved Running Performance —

  • Typically defined by the parameters of VO2 max, maximal anaerobic running velocity & power generation, which habe all been shown to significantly improve in conjuction with a sound strength training program.
  • In a few recent studies, direct improvements have been shown not only in short to intermediate distances but longer distances as well (eg 1,500m to 10,000m) (2,4,5).
  • Once again, these changes in running performance were achieved in as little as two to three strength training sessions per week (6).

Reduction in Running-related Injuries —

  • Although it’s difficult to determine the injury risk in running due to so many potential variables at play. What we can do is take the data we have from common running injuries involving the knee, Achilles, shin and hip and consider the similarities among them, with one of the most prominent being reductions in strength.
  • Also, if we consider the main interventions in the management of running-related injuries, exercises focused on building strength, endurance and power has been highly considered first-line and recommended treatment (7,8,9,10).
  • We know running places considerable loads through our body, with the foot and ankle requiring to withstand loads of 6-8x our body-weight at a jogging pace (11). In order to improve our bodies ability to handle these loads we need to ensure we have sufficient capacity in the muscles attenuating the loads. What better way to do this then with a resistance training routine tailored to your running requirements?


  • Adding in 2-3 resistance training sessions into your running can improve running economy, running performance and make you more injury resilient
  • The benefits associated with resistance training can be seen in just weeks
  • Apply this now by adding in some exercises into your training routine, focusing on key muscles involved in running such as: calf complex, hamstrings, quadriceps and hip stabilisers to improve physical capacity.

Thanks for reading.

Want to find out more about how strength training can optimise your running? Please feel free to reach out to me below:

E: luka@pinnaclehealthgroup.com.au

  1. Balsalobre-Fernandez C et al. (2016) Effects of strength training on running economy in highly trained runners: a systematic review with meta-analysis of controllled trials. J Strength Cond Rest, 30(8):2361-8
  2. Yamamoto LM et al. (2018) The effects of resistance training on endurance distance running performance among highly trained runners: a systematic review. J Strength Cond Res; 22(6):2036-44
  3. Denadai BS et al. (2017) Explosive training and heavy weight training are effective for improving running economy in endurance athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med, 47(3):545-554
  4. Alcaraz-Ilbanez M & Rodriquez-Perez M (2018) Effects of resistance training on performance in previously trained endurance runners: a systematic review. J Sports Sci, 36(6):613-629
  5. Beattie K et al. (2014) The effects of strength training on performance in endurance athletes. Sports Med, 44(6):845-65
  6. Blagrove RC et al. (2018) Effects of strength training on the physiological determiants of middle- and long-distance running performance: a systematic review. Sports Med, 48(5):1117-1149
  7. Zouita S et al. (2016) Strength training reduces injury rate in elite young soccer players during one season. J Strength Cond Res, 30(5): 1295-307
  8. Santos TR et al. (2015) Effectiveness of hip muscle strengthening in patellofemoral pain syndrome patients: a systematic review. Braz J Phys Ther, 19(3):167-76
  9. Esculier JF et al (2018) Predictors of clinical success in runners with patellofemoral pain: secondary analyses of a randomized clinical trial. J Sci Med Sports, 21(8): 777-782
  10. Van der Vlist AC et al. (2019) Clinical risk factors for achilles tendinopathy: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med
  11. Dorn DW et al. (2012) Muscular strategy shift in human running: dependence of running speed on hip and ankle muscle performance. J. Exp. Biol. 215, 1944-1956

When Shoulder Pain Is Actually Coming From Your Neck

Woman suffering from neck pain

Can your neck cause shoulder pain? Yes. There are a lot of interconnected muscles in the shoulder and neck. This means that pain in one place can often come from the other. The way our bodies report pain is sometimes unreliable. Neck and shoulder pain can often indicate another problem or be a sign of overlapping problems. When an injury occurs to these areas, the brain can’t always trace the pathway of that pain to its source because the neck and shoulder have so many connected nerve pathways.


Signs Shoulder Pain is Related to Your Neck

Inflammation of any of the 14 nerves or eight pairs of joints in the neck can cause shoulder pain as well as neck pain. As one of the hardest working areas of our body, it’s not surprising that they’re responsible for a lot of cases of shoulder and neck pain.

Symptoms that may indicate your shoulder pain is related to your neck includes pain that is:

  • Radiating to your shoulder blade, close to or on the side of your neck
  • Stabbing, burning or tingling
  • Persisting even during rest
  • Radiating down your arm when you twist or extend your neck
  • Going away when you support your neck

Since pain in one area can be confused with another, only a thorough examination by a medical professional can determine the cause. This includes motion testing and strength testing.


Shoulder Pain Causes

The eight nerve roots branching from each side of the cervical spine in the neck are labelled C1-C8. Nerve roots C3 to C8 all go through a specific part of your shoulder. If any of these cervical nerve roots become compressed or irritated in the neck, pain can radiate along the path of the nerve into the shoulder, arm or hand. This is called cervical radiculopathy.

Common neck problems can cause symptoms of cervical radiculopathy, including:

  • Cervical degenerative disc disease – This occurs when the intervertebral discs between the vertebrae lose too much hydration over time, becoming thinner and unable to do its job. This can produce pain, irritation and pressure on the nearby nerve root.
  • Cervical herniated disc – If the outer layer of the intervertebral disc gets a tear that allows the inner gel to leak out, it can inflame and irritate the nerve root nearby.
  • Cervical osteoarthritis – When a facet joint in the neck is affected by arthritis, inflammation and excess bone growth can alter the joint’s size and spacing, resulting in a nerve root being irritated or impinged.
  • Cervical foraminal stenosis – When the nerve root becomes compressed while going through the foramen (a small hole in the bony vertebral construct), it can result in shoulder pain. The narrowing of the foramen can occur in several ways, from the overgrowth of bone spurs to a herniated disc.

This isn’t all the conditions that can cause radicular pain in the shoulder. You should always consult a health professional for an exact diagnosis.


Consult With A Professional In Melbourne or Sydney

Pinnacle Health Group provides a range of services including physiotherapy, massage, clinical Pilates, yoga and more in multiple locations across Victoria and New South Wales. If you’re injured or need health advice, book an appointment from one of our CBD based health clinics or join a wellness class near you.

Suffering From Lower Back Pain? These 3 Tips Will Help You Manage

By Chiropractor Luka Fantela

Suffering from low back pain? Here are 3 tips to help you manage lower back pain.

Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most troublesome and common workplace disorders, with this burden being recognised worldwide¹ ². The majority of low back pain is non-specific in origin, meaning it is uncommon for these problems to be caused by any specific underlying condition such as infection, arthritis, fracture or cancer². As a Chiropractor, I frequently get to assess, diagnose and manage clients troubled by this burdensome condition.

In this article, I’ll be highlighting three important tips for managing your next episode of LBP. 

1.Understanding is Key 

It’s important for me to highlight once again that the majority of LBP is rarely attributed to a specific reason. Instead, try becoming aware of other factors in your life that can possibly be amplifying and intensifying your pain, such as aggravating movements and postures, excessive muscle tension, long-term stress, heightened anxiety and many others that may be contributing and possibly intensifying your pain experience³.

2.Getting Back to Life 

It’s essential to remain active and keep moving on a daily basis while keeping within your tolerance, which will increase gradually. Physical movement is simple, effective and a potent pain relieving strategy that you have at your exposure. When taking the first steps after an episode of LBP, it’s always a good idea to slowly and gradually get back to the activities that matter most to you, whether that be running, playing golf or even being active with the kids. Start with what you can manage at this very moment, no matter how big or small it may be.

3.Harness the Power of Exercise

I have to admit I am a little bias but research tends to agree with me on this one, resistance or strength exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on pain levels in people dealing with low back pain. Strength exercise, commonly performed in a gym environment but don’t let that discourage you as it can also be performed at home or outdoors. Strength exercise offers a plethora of additional health benefits from improved bone density, improving muscular strength and decreasing overuse-type injuries. So if you haven’t tried it before, it comes strongly recommended by myself!

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you find yourself struggling with the management of your low back pain, come find myself or one of our efficient therapists at Pinnacle Health Group Docklands to help you along your road to recovery.

1.Blanchette et al. (2016). Effectiveness and economic evaluation of chiropractic care for the treatment of low back pain; a systematic review of pragmatic studies. PLOS 

2.Chou et al. (2018). The global spine care initiative; applying evidence-based guidelines on the non-invasive management of back and neck pain to low and middle-income communities. Euro Spi J 

3.Bunzli et al. (2016). Patient perspectives on participation in cognitive functional therapy for chronic low back pain. Physical Therapy; 96:9 

4.Loras et al. (2015). Medical exercise therapy for treating musculoskeletal pain: a narrative review of results from randomized controlled trials with a theoretical perspective. Physiother Res Int; 20(3): 182-90 

5.Searle et al. (2015). Exercise interventions for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Clinical Rehabilitation; 29:12, 1155-1167