Which muscles are activated when running? How does this activity affect the muscles: “build” or “burn”? We answer these and other questions in today’s article.
Running is first and foremost the work of the heart, which is a kind of main muscle in our body. Regular running training improves the functioning of the cardiorespiratory system and strengthens the heart muscle. At the same time, many believe that running trains only work our lower body: we run with our feet! In fact, running covers the whole body.
What muscles work while running outdoors?
There is practically no difference from the work of skeletal muscles on a treadmill here.
- Thigh muscles. In the front and partly on the lateral surface is the quadriceps muscle (quadriceps), one of the largest muscles in the human body. The four main bundles that make up the quadriceps are usually divided into separate muscles: the rectus, lateral, medial, and medial thigh muscles. During running, they work mainly in the initial phase of the step, raising the hips and bringing the lower leg and foot forward.
- Hip flexors. First of all, this is the biceps femoris (biceps femoris), located from the hips to the flexion of the knee. Below are the thigh muscles. The biceps femoris makes the posterior wing of the heel, is involved in the final stage of the running stride, during the push-up, and then with the movement.
- Hip muscles. The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus muscles actively work both when we lift the leg at the start of the movement, during the push-up and when the leg is pushed back. They relax only during the flight phase. These muscles also take part in the balance of the body during running.
- Calf muscles. The calf and soleus muscles are activated when the foot is activated, that is, from the moment of landing to the moment of pushing. Since these muscles are closely related to the extension of the foot, they bear the burden of the heel-to-toe transition and the propulsion of the foot. This move pumps the calves, so they are well developed in professional runners.
- The tibialis anterior muscle is located on the front of the lower leg. It helps flex your foot so it locks in place while pushing. Helps stabilize leg position
- The peroneal muscles of the lower leg are located on the sides. They can be felt by turning your foot left and right and bending it towards you in extreme positions. They also support foot movements: momentum, thrust. They also participate in the stabilization and correct pronation of the foot, that is, they help keep the feet from turning outwards and placing them parallel.
From the heel or from the toe: which muscles are strengthened while running?
Race Technical Question: “Heel or Toe?” This is a subject of endless debate. There is no single answer. When running from the front and middle foot, however, the load is distributed more optimally. In terms of muscle involvement, the main difference comes down to training style. Slow running requires the least involvement of the arm and leg muscles and is more like an elastic retraction of fascia. To explain: The fascia is the connective tissue covering of the muscles, which is responsible, among other things, for their elasticity. When running slowly, the inertia of the movement plays an important role, not the forceful push-off of the foot and the muscles moving backwards, and this is where the fascia plays an important role.
If we think of acceleration and “running” uphill, more muscle power is required here, since the runner has to work with his own body weight. This format is more like strength training. In general, running is an aerobic type of exercise, so don’t expect significant muscle hypertrophy.
Beginning runners often experience an increase in muscle fibers. But it’s not just muscle hypertrophy with cell growth. This serves to fill the muscles with blood in addition to the appearance of lactic acid. In contrast to slow running, intensive sprinting uses fast-twitch muscle fibers and stimulates muscle cell hypertrophy. In any case, the skeletal muscles involved in running are not dependent on the type of jogging: they all work in the same way, but with different intensity.
Which upper body muscles do running strengthen?
Almost all stabilizers. Here the press comes into play – the rectus abdominis, the deep muscles of the shell, the serratus muscles and the muscles of the hands – the biceps, triceps, deltoids. The load varies depending on the type of running training.
- Muscles of the upper shoulder girdle. The deltoids in the shoulders, biceps and triceps work in sync with the legs and determine speed. They participate in the stabilization of the body and help the runner move in rhythm. The work of the sprinters’ hands is especially pronounced, which pumps them up separately.
- Muscles of the body (cortex). In fact, it is the deep muscles that are responsible for stabilizing the spine and maintaining balance during movement, as well as for abdominal pressure. The core muscles are primarily used for balance, while the abdominal muscles are actively involved in raising the knees and hips. They are particularly stressful when driving uphill.
Is it possible to pump up the press with the help of jogging?
Sharply increasing the volume of muscle mass in the press area will not work. But it is quite possible to burn fat by relaxing the muscles, tightening them, drying them and training the “cubes”. Running is especially good for this. On dirt roads and trails, your abs have more stability to keep you balanced. Running on hills teaches you to lift your legs, and in the woods you need to lift your feet to avoid tripping over roots or potholes. On trail runners, abs look very impressive without the extra training.
Is it worth it to pump running muscles additionally?
It depends on the tasks you set yourself to accomplish. In general, the shorter the distance, the greater the strength and explosive strength training. Moreover, your task is not only to build muscle mass, but also to increase explosive speed and sharpness. In this mode, of course, there is a certain amount of muscle mass, because without power there is no sharpness, and without volume there is no power. But the muscle mass of bodybuilders or weightlifters cannot be gained by running, regardless of which muscles tremble during running.
Running alone is great exercise; But to improve the performance and condition of the musculoskeletal system, additional functional training is required. By building muscle through strength training, you can generate more power when accelerating or driving uphill. Strengthening your stabilizing muscles will protect you from injury, while training to improve mobility gives you more range of motion and speeds up recovery processes.
There are also several specific running exercises that can be done as a warm-up or as a separate workout specifically to develop and strengthen the feet.
Why is it said that running burns muscles?
Running is catabolic (destruction), while weight training is anabolic (synthesis). If your main goal is to build muscle mass, it’s best to separate these workouts from each other. This is especially true for thin people (ectomorphs and asthenics). During strength training, the body consumes glycogen stores and after the extra load of running, it starts to produce energy by breaking down the muscles.
If your goal is to lose weight, a low heart rate endurance run (up to 60% of your maximum heart rate) after strength training can help. 15 to 30 minutes of slow jogging increases total exercise time and calorie expenditure by connecting fat stores.
How to avoid injury while running?
It’s important not to overdo it, as overtraining can negatively affect recovery processes or cause injury. Join the race, adding distance and speed should be done gradually according to your situation. It is also important to develop safe individual running technique. Understand how to descend more efficiently anatomically, calculate body position. It is impossible to overestimate the role of running shoes in protecting your feet from injury, when they are only suitable for the surface and position (pronation) of your foot.
As with any sport, running has its own characteristics that you should consider when creating a training plan. The same kind of monotonous training and exercises will not provide the progress you need. Typically, runners spend most of their time training between December and February, when there are fewer opportunities.