COROS Coaches: Strength Workouts

As part of our COROS Coaches initiative, we received multiple questions regarding strength sessions and the best time to implement those. Let’s take a dive into our analysis so you can benefit from our coaching insight and improve your own training journey! The topic breakdown is followed by our full coaches’ analysis and feedback on the athlete’s question.

If you would like your own training questions answered, send us an email at and we’ll be happy to share insights!

The 3 Pillars of Strength Training

Gym sessions don’t come down to bench press and squats all the time. Resistance training can be boiled down to 3 broad focuses that runners can truly gain some positive adaptations from. Below you will find the pro’s and con’s of these pillars as well as the best time to utilize them throughout your training schedule.

PillarsStructure ExamplesPro’sCon’sWhen to incorporate it?
Hypertrophy3-4 sets
8-12 reps
Slow speed
Adds muscle density around major joints to prevent injuriesIncreases body mass which is not ideal for runnersOff-season (very far from races)
Max Strength5-6 sets
4-6 reps
Avg speed
Increases motor unit activation leading to a higher relative force for each strideThose sessions could lead to injuries if not done properlyAerobic base phase (far from races)
Power3-5 sets
6-10 reps
Fast speed
Improves running economyThose sessions can be highly taxing during an important phaseSpecific Phase (closer to races)
Examples cited above are highly individualized based on goals and training history.
  • Hypertrophy: We often think hypertrophy as bigger muscles, but for runners it means stronger joints. This phase includes a great amount of time under tension. It is also best done during off-season where you may be working on weaknesses and cross-training.
  • Max Strength: This phase requires high load, low repetitions, and additional rest. Because it can be considered as a high-intensity workout for the body, we recommend including it during a lower-intensity aerobic phase.
  • Power: Think of power as the combination of strength and speed. This phase can only be done effectively if the two previous ones have been completed as it requires a certain amount of strength to develop power.

High Load-Low Reps or Low Load-High Reps?

Research has shown on many occasions that both methods lead to significant positive adaptations if they have the same amount of series to failure. If you are more confident with lighter weights, make sure you safely reach failure once in a while to ensure your body gets the required stimulus.


An athlete in preparation for a 100km ultra this upcoming summer has never done any resistance training in the past. Instead, they focused on high mileage throughout their training.

Training-Related Question

Should I start incorporating strength workouts into my training schedule?
Coaches’ Feedback

As coaches, we will always advertise that strength training has more benefits than detriments until proven otherwise. It is possible however that in some cases we may suggest to hold off like in the presence of serious injuries or during race season.

In this scenario, multiple drops in base fitness are explained by minor injuries

After speaking with this athlete, we found out that minor injuries kept coming back and preventing them from reaching their true training potential. In this scenario, incorporating the 3 pillars of strength training as outlined above would allow them to strengthen their body in different ways and ensure a stronger body and lower likelihood of injury for the races to come.

Is Strength Training for Everyone?

Yes, absolutely. Because running is a highly repetitive sport, muscles are being shortened and lengthened in the exact same way for thousands of times. Although some good can come out of this, muscles eventually weaken when not used at their full length. Come chat with us if you are interested in incorporating more strength sessions in your training journey!
2 strength workouts per week are ideal for running purposes

If you would like your own training questions answered, send us an email at and we’ll be happy to share insights!

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