Adam Cretti, an athletic performance coach at UCLA, works not only with runners, but also with athletes in a wide range of sports including football, basketball, water polo and golf. He trained as an Olympic weightlifting competitor under renowned Olympic coach Mike Burgener. When Cretti works with runners on strength and conditioning, he makes sure that the exercises focus on building running performance, not just muscle.
“A runner’s strength has to be functional,” he says. “If athletes just focus on getting 'strong' they will lose focus of what is important for their actual event. Every weight (plan) we do is dictated by the runner’s efficiency, ability and body weight. The goals we set for our athletes are contingent based upon their event and body weight. A 150 pound athlete should not be lifting the same raw weight as a 180 pound athlete. However, they should be able to handle the same ratio of their body weight.”
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