T Nation

Strength Training for a 35 yo Runner

Hi!

A friend of mine asked me to help him start out at a gym I go to.
He is 35, and a marathon runner, so overall very fit. He has never lifted weights, however, and says he feels his upper body is very weak compared to his legs and wants to change that (but he is not the skinny, thin type, he is medium-framed, if you can say so).

He would still focus on running 2-3 times a week, but wants to incorporate weights, starting once a week, maybe twice later. What kind of training can I recommend him?
I was thinking to start with a general FBW, since it is once a week only, but should I incorporate the major free lifts from the get-go (bench, pull up / barbell row, deadlift) or start with machines?
Should I omit the legs completely, since he is an advanced runner?

I appreciate your insight!

Some ideas…

[quote]bldswttrs wrote:
He is 35, and a marathon runner, so overall very fit.[/quote]
“Marathon runner” does not necessarily equal “very fit”. I presume you mean he’s not overweight or fat, but any injuries - low back, knees, hips, ankles? Any flexibility issues?

Lifting once a week would be the bare minimum. Just enough to say he’s now lifting weights, but not enough to see significant strength or muscle benefits. If he wants to start lifting, that’s awesome. But if he can schedule at least two days of lifting, he’ll see much, much better results.

Option A.

Absolutely not. Runners typically have plenty of leg issues to work out. Strength imbalances, muscle discrepancies, injury rehab/prehab. Smart leg training will go a long way to actually improving his runs.

[quote]bldswttrs wrote:
Hi!

A friend of mine asked me to help him start out at a gym I go to.
He is 35, and a marathon runner, so overall very fit. He has never lifted weights, however, and says he feels his upper body is very weak compared to his legs and wants to change that (but he is not the skinny, thin type, he is medium-framed, if you can say so).

He would still focus on running 2-3 times a week, but wants to incorporate weights, starting once a week, maybe twice later. What kind of training can I recommend him?
I was thinking to start with a general FBW, since it is once a week only, but should I incorporate the major free lifts from the get-go (bench, pull up / barbell row, deadlift) or start with machines?
Should I omit the legs completely, since he is an advanced runner?

I appreciate your insight![/quote]

Good luck getting him to squat, that’s like trying to get a powerlifter to run a marathon!

Keep it simple for him; the heavy exercises like bench will keep his progress coming and him back for more. As a marathon runner, he’s no dumb bunny, he knows how to listen to his body and train. Just keep his time in the gym short and to the point. Good luck.

Not important but 35 and want’s to start lifting? I’m taking a stab in the dark here but any chance recently divorced?

Him being a marathon runner and in the world of runners means he is fit. Let me see you covering 10 kms with his same speed . so shuuush. air heads like you make my sphincter cringe

@ op , these kind of questions should be addressed to someone more professional, as your friend being a marathon runner and i assume he wants to keep on running. Any extra muscle would definitley make him stronger but at what exppense. speed> muscles in world of marathoners

[quote]waelkd wrote:

Him being a marathon runner and in the world of runners means he is fit. Let me see you covering 10 kms with his same speed . so shuuush. air heads like you make my sphincter cringe

@ op , these kind of questions should be addressed to someone more professional, as your friend being a marathon runner and i assume he wants to keep on running. Any extra muscle would definitley make him stronger but at what exppense. speed> muscles in world of marathoners
[/quote]
Being a marathon finisher does not mean fit, nor does someone who runs the occasional marathon in 4+ hours. However, he might very well be fit, but chances are his legs have tons of aerobic endurance, but very little actual strength.

[quote]waelkd wrote:

Him being a marathon runner and in the world of runners means he is fit.[/quote]
In what regard, aerobic endurance? Neat, but that would be dependent a very limited definition of “fitness.” It’s also an indicator that, looking at the big picture, there’s a good chance he’s actually not “very fit.” But that’s why I was try to pull more information out.

The fact is, a mid-30s, “medium-framed”, “advanced” marathon runner who’s never lifted weights before is probably lacking muscle, strength, and power, and may actually have some impact-related joint issues.

Ha, okay, um, didn’t mean to get you all worked up. Take a breath and unclench.

Thank you for the advice!

[quote]waelkd wrote:
air heads like you make my sphincter cringe

[/quote]

Which sphincter?