Back in the dark days, when – for example – training for a marathon, athletes would often only pay attention to the elements specific to their chosen event. So, for someone planning to run 25 miles, fitness and endurance would be the key focus points. However, running, triathlons, and other dynamic sports have now fallen into the category of damaging forms of exercise, and it’s rare for any individual participating in these activities to continue training and competing injury free.
Why is that? The answer, in short, is a lack of robustness.
Over the past few years, a picture has begun to emerge which shows that there is a significant risk of being injured throughout a strenuous training period if the same amount of attention is not given to robustness as it is to speed and/or endurance. Now, robustness is one of those fairly new, all inclusive words being bandied around in fitness circles. In essence, robustness means offering overall attention to the whole body – with a large focus on stability and core strength- to ensure that, at its very foundations, your body is strong and ready for the rigours of training. In other words, a robust runner is one who can maintain an intensity of training and perform well without being plagued with injuries or ‘niggles’. Robustness is something that you can train for. In fact, these days, more and more PTs and gyms are offering bespoke, robustness training regimes, which can better enable you to become a well-rounded, less injury prone athlete.
How does Robustness training work?
The main point of robustness training is to broaden your training stresses to, in turn, broaden your ‘robustness profile’. A varied stress-training programme for a triathlete may include, but not be limited to: plyometrics, Pilates, and strength training. Within those exercise parameters, flexibility, core strength, power and muscle strength are all addressed, making the athlete more resistant to stressors on the body. This sort of training is not just relevant to individuals participating in large endurance events, but is also important for people embarking on a new running or training regime – in fact, the number of individuals injured after starting a new running programme is significant. The reason for this is that your muscles are not used to, or prepared for, the new exercise regime. So, it is essential that every care be taken to ensure that the muscles are strong and flexible enough to cope with the added stress of a new training programme. Robustness training does not solely focus on the fitness components, but also on the individuality of the person. Any misalignments or weaknesses in the kinetic chain (moving body) will be addressed. By targeting specific muscle weaknesses, range of movement limitations, or proprioceptive (balance) issues, everyone can maximise the efficiency of their body whilst reducing the risk of injury.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million. In order to better demonstrate what I mean by a robustness workout, I have compiled the below video to give you an idea of the sorts of exercises included in robustness training – which tend to be quite advanced – entail. If you have any questions, or would like some guidance with setting up your own comprehensive fitness programme, you can drop us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the video here: