Strength Training Adaptations & Programming


In order to maximize your strength training program, and subsequent running performance, it is important to take into account the overall layout of your program. In general athletes should consider a few things prior to beginning a strength training program, including:

  • Strength training age & experience
  • Strength training goals in relation to your running goals & running program
  • A scientific approach to programming
  • Individual limitations & needs

Adaptations To Strength Training

8-Week Muscular Endurance/Hypertrophy Strength Plan

Plan designed by strength training expert Rick Davis. This plan takes runners through an 8-week periodized plan focused on muscular endurance and hypertrophy. This plan is designed to build athletes ability to lift and prepare them for the next phase of their programming needs. Below is a list of each lifting type and how they should be used throughout a season.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance can be defined as the ability to repeatedly contract against submaximal loads. In simple terms, this is your muscles ability to lift lighter weights for higher repetitions without failure. This style of training should be trained at the beginning or preparation period within your strength program. Endurance can be trained from using lighter loads with higher repetitions and shorter rest intervals.


Hypertrophy is defined as an increase in the size of muscles, or the cross-sectional area related to muscle fibers. This is important as the size of muscles are directly related to how much force you can produce. Training for hypertrophy involves using moderate weights, repetitions, and rest intervals.


Muscular strength is defined as the ability to generate or produce force. Strength is important as it is correlated to many other aspects of performance including power, speed, and your bodies ability to rapidly produce force. Training for strength involves using heavier weights with less repetitions, and longer rest intervals.


Power is defined as the ability to produce or generate force quickly. This is important as it can benefit the nervous system and your bodies ability to move fast during coordinated movements. Training for power involves using low-heavy weights for low repetitions, with longer rest intervals.

Adaptation & Programming

Having a scientific approach to your strength training program regimen will set you up for success. By adhering to a few basic principles when designing or following a strength training program, you can ensure that your adaptation to the training will be more functional. A brief description of programming can be seen in the below table.

PeriodPreparationBuildCompetition TransitionCompetition
Adaptation & PhaseMuscular Endurance / HypertrophyStrengthPowerPeak
Intensity (%1RM)50-75%75-95%30-85%50-90%
Volume (Sets)3-63-52-51-3
Volume (Reps)10-202-62-51-3
Rest (Minutes)1-23-52-33-5
Guidelines for Each Phase
Rick Davis
Rick Davis

Rick Davis is a strength and conditioning coach working in the high-performance field. He has a diverse background in exercise science, and has worked with athletes from college to professional settings. Rick is currently a PhD candidate in the Human and Sport Concentration track at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. He believes that exercise is a fundamental component to living a long and healthy lifestyle.

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