While most individuals associate building muscle with strength training. However, the fantastic news is that it is possible to build muscle while you run if you follow the correct training and nutrition plan. And that’s great news if you don’t like lifting weights as building muscle has a tonne of health benefits. It strengthens your bones, increases your metabolism, manages chronic conditions, and makes it much simpler to do everyday tasks.
How Does Running Affect Your Muscles?
Running can build lower body muscles, however it largely depends on the intensity as well as the duration of your runs. In one study, 12 recreationally trained university students completed high intensity interval training (HIIT) involving four sets of running at near maximal capacity for four minutes followed by three minutes of active rest.
After 10 weeks of HIIT workouts, three times per week, they showed close to an 11% increase in the muscle fibre area of their quadriceps (which are located at the front of the thigh), as compared with the control group. As such, workouts such as sprinting may provide benefits for muscle development.
Aerobic exercise – such as running – is thought to build muscle through constraining proteins that interfere with muscle growth as well as lowering muscle protein breakdown (MPB). On the other hand, long-distance running may significantly increase MPB and so hinder muscle growth.
For instance, in a study in 30 male amateur runners who ran 10, 21, or 42 km, all of the groups experienced major increases in markers of muscle damage. Levels of these markers rose together with the distance and stayed elevated even three days afterward. These results make the suggestion that high intensity, short duration running builds leg muscles, while long distance running causes noteworthy muscle damage, inhibiting muscle growth.
Including Strength Training To Your Exercise Routine Is A Good Idea
Adding strength training into your exercise routine is another fantastic way to build up muscle. Some advantages of adding strength training to your workout routine include:
- Reduced fatigue,
- Faster runs,
- Better runs, as well as
- Lowered likelihood of injuries.
However, building muscle could be dangerous, especially for new runners. Pushing yourself too hard may lead to certain injuries, such as:
- Plantar fasciitis,
- Achilles tendinitis,
- Runner’s knee,
- ITB syndrome,
- Shin splints, or
- Stress fractures.
Being mindful of your body and also wearing the proper footwear can go a long way in order to ensure that you do not injure yourself. Build yourself up slowly and then you will see improvement in your ability as well as muscle mass over time.
So, does running build muscle? It can, dependent on what you do. Integrating different running styles into your training as well as strength training may contribute to muscle growth. Alone, training is not enough. However, getting the correct nutritional balance from your food, getting plenty of rest as well as drinking plenty of water all play a part in assisting your body build muscle.
It is very important to remember that your body could need a different training and nutritional regime in order to achieve the same results as another runner. Not all bodies are the same so if you need help building a routine, contact a local certified personal trainer for advice on where to start.
Eager to learn more about the biomechanics of exercise? Then you need to do our Personal Training Diploma. Follow this link to read more.