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  • Writer's pictureJay Grady

Episode 13 - Andrew McCauley

- It's time to talk Strength and Conditioning!

In this weeks episode we're joined by leading physiotherapist and strength and conditioning coach Andrew McCauley MSc BSc CSCS HCPC MCSP

Andrew joins us to chat about the when and how elements of S&C training and also the why!

Do you even need to add it to your training routine?

Andrew is the founder of ProCare Sports Medicine, is a sports scientist, sports medicine practitioner, senior NHS physiotherapist and as a sports and conditioning leader he trains other physios across the UK. He has a degree in PE/Sports Science from Liverpool University and a physiotherapy degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. In 2013, Andrew completed his masters in Sports and Exercise Medicine from Exeter University with distinction. Andrew is a certified strength and conditioning specialist from the NSCA.

He also delivers a course internationally called ‘Unravelling S&C for Therapists”, which aims to improve the therapist’s ability to prescribe exercises.

Have you been 'guilted' into taking on some S&C? Do you even need to add it to your training routine? Why does learning to play the kettle bells make such a horrible noise? Okay we made the last one up but I'm sure Mike Oldfield would be able to answer that one if we asked him! So pull up a plyometric box, park your bum and enjoy this weeks episode of Trail and Error!

In addition to our podcast chat we thought the additional info would be interesting to you, so here are some questions from some of our listeners which Andrew kindly answered:

Listeners questions.

Just to be very clear, rehab and strength & conditioning is very individual and there is not a blanket you can put across it unfortunately but here are some general answers to some of the questions. Always seek the advice of a professional before performing changes to your training. It’s not a one size fits all.

1. What's the best time to do S&C?

The key is if you run and that’s your sport then running comes first. If you haven’t got time to do anything else then do the sport (if you are not injured).

When it comes to rehab. That’s different and requires discussion with a professional therapist.

So, to answer the question re 'the best time', I discuss this a little in the podcast but probably on lighter running days and this should compliment your running not restrict it. S&c should improve your performance not make it worse. Measuring impact is key. It lets you know that it is working or not. As I said, it’s very Individual and it depends.

2. For endurance/mountain running specifically when doing strength training what muscle groups should we focus on? For instance I run most days, hills always ('cos I'm in Cornwall, but I barely do dedicated strength work on the legs

A 'gun to head' 5 min workout but I don’t think this is necessary for everyone so please don’t think this is what you should do now and forever.

- Skipping 60 seconds,

- Multidirectional lunges 60 seconds

- Hamstring sliders 60 seconds

- Adductor sliders 60 seconds

- Bear crawls 30 seconds and suitcase carry (heavy weight) 30 seconds.

- Performed at speed or with load. Depending on goal.

3. What muscle groups are important for running?

Ok, the goal again is very important here and measurement but like above I’ll give you a rough idea. I know endurance runners who don’t do strength work. It’s not always necessary but here are the main groups:

- calf

- Quad

- Hamstring

- Glutes.

4. How do I increase my hill climbing power?

When it comes to hills, I did mention this on the podcast but working different intensities on hills is a way of improving hill running. So ask yourself these questions; are you running up a hill fast or slow? Does your brain ever get exposed to a new training stimulus or always the same? The key to adaptation is providing a progressive stimulus to the body in order for it to grow. If stimulus stays the same, the body goes into cruise mode which might be fine for you or maybe not.

5. Can hill running replace weight training?

It depends of course and similar to above answers but here are some thoughts.

- Do you hate strength training? If yes and won’t do it then it’s a non starter. Don’t kid yourself as it will lead to inconsistency and frustration.

- By running hills have u got faster? If not, Is there room for experiment with strength training? I would say probably.

- Do you vary speeds and volume and distance on hills? Maybe start here.

- If you lack capacity, strength and power maybe required.

5. Injury prevention drills?

It’s like fight club, they don’t exist. Injury prevention is impossible but injury risk reduction is possible.

Key factors for injury risk reduction.

- Regular maintenance either by yourself of from a professional

-Preparation for the task or load (common injury mechanism is too much too quickly often after being injured etc.

- Sleep - not same for everyone

- Nutrition - not same for everyone

- Recovery from training - not same for everyone

- Fatigue levels - not same for everyone

- Stress levels - not same for everyone

- Hydration - not same for everyone

- Multi directional loads especially for bone and tendon health can be important.

6. Are plyometrics of any use?:

There are many different types and these can be very useful but a certain level of preparation needs to be done prior to starting them.

7. Should runners train upper bodies?

If you have the time, yes. Anti rotation is key at the trunk in runners. Arm drive can be key especially for speed and hills. It would probably carry less of a degree of importance to lower limbs but certainly yes, upper body training depending on the runner can be important.

8. Trail vs road vs mountain:

it’s all about the demands required. They won’t be too far off the being the same but obviously mountains will require more exposure to vert' and unstable surfaces leading to possible differences in some exercises. The key is, what is that persons weakness or area that requires development. It’s a big it depends question do sorry for vague answer.

9. I'm a busy 40 plus years of old runner trying to do their best?

Time is the issue here, so what I often do is sit down and get the calendar out and ask, when is this going to happen? What is important to them? Where are the issues? What’s the best exercises specifically to that person with their equipment, time, goal etc.

To conclude - Often the advice is little and consistent is better then too much and infrequent or nothing!

You can see more of Andrew here:

Twitter: @mccauleyandrew

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