Squat training for endurance running

Im a powerlifter. I like lifting really heavy things one time. I want massive, thick troll legs. I want to be so big and strong that I frighten small animals. 

None of the above is in any way good for endurance running. In fact, its actually very bad. I don't care. I love powerlifting and I love running and I dont think I have to sacrifice one sport for the other. 

I want the power and size of a strength athlete, but I want the body composition and stamina of an endurance athlete. 

It's best if training for the two sports is separated. I train like a powerlifter for several months and compete, then I train like a runner for several months and race. 

Being big and strong with the ability to run far and fast is the best feeling. It's very superhero'esk. It's the picture of well rounded fitness IMO and it's funAF.

Squat and deadlift are very useful for running so training for size and strength does have some overlap into training for endurance running.

There are important differences though. 

Runners need back and leg strength, but in a very different way than powerlifters. Runners need strength to maintain perfect form into high mileage races. If runners have weak backs and legs, their form will deteriorate and then everything will go to shit. Runners must train strength in a way that fosters long sustained strength in the egs and low back.

Powerlifters need maximal strength for about 10 seconds. Runners need moderate sustained strength for many hours.

Runners need to stay relatively small whereas powerlifters need to get big. Big bulky legs are heavy and require a lot of oxygen. So, squat training must not be too hypertrophic (causing growth)

How powerlifters should squat for endurance running

MSP - Maximum Sustained Power

This method was developed by Jacques Devor. His method is the foundation of my strength-for-endurance training.

Intensity: 75% 1 repetition maximum

Sets: 3-5 Cluster sets of 5, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1

Rest: 20 seconds rest between micro sets, 2 minutes rest between macro sets.

Squat variation: Box squat, pause squat, front squat

Frequency: 2-3 times per week

Overload methods: Decrease rest time then increase weight

Bonus: Occlusion training

Intensity: Don't use very heavy weight because running does not require maximal strength. Use a weight that you can perform ONLY 5 reps, but not 6. 

Sets: Cluster sets train the legs to sustain power for a long period of time. This builds stamina under fatique.

Rest: You will not be resting during races, so you should decrease resting during training. This will train slow twitch fibers and aerobic capacity.

Squat variation

Box Squat - studies have shown that box squat is best variation for improving running. There is no need for ass to grass position in running.

Pause squat - Pausing for a 2 count at parrallel will build isometril leg, bacl and core strength. This is performed with lighter weight 50% 1 rep max.

Front Squat - builds more of the quad and back and core. 

Overload Methods: As you get stronger, first decrease the rest period to 15 seconds, then 10 seconds and then increase the weight and move rest back to 20 seconds...repeat. 

Occlusion training: AKA bood flow restriction training. This is not well known secret to big gains. Relatively new method. This will train the legs to work hard under oxygen debt and accumulation of metablites, which is exactly what happens in endurance racing. 

you wrap the top of the leg just below the butt, with a voodoo floss band at about 50% tightness. This restricts the blood flow out of the leg. 

I will make a video for you on how to do these. They should be done at the end of a workout with only 20% 1 rep max. 

Warning: they are brutal.

Separate the squat variations into separate days. These will not be very long workouts. 


Day 1: Box squat

warm up

1st cluster set: 250 lbs x5 (20 sec rest) x3 (20 sec rest) x2 (rest) x2 (rest) x2 (rest) x1

2 minute rest

2nd cluster set (repeat above)

Idealy, if you are using the correct weight, you should be able to only do 5 reps before needing rest. After 20 seconds rest you should be able to perform only 3 reps before more rest is needed, and so on. 

If you can complete a total of 3-5 total cluster sets you are doing great. 

As you get stronger and the sets become easier, cut the rest time to 15 seconds, then after a week or two cut it down to 10 seconds. Then after a couple weeks increase the weight by 10 pounds and reset the rest periods to 20 seconds. Repeat this method of shortening rest and increasing weight over the course of several months and you will become very strong.  You should not be changing the weight between sets. 

Above is a video of me performing MSP deadlifts in the same cluster set fashion.

Thanks for reading. If you would like more help with this concept, send me an email and we can chat about it.