Four strength moves to help you run faster.
Yes, strength training helps runners add muscle. But to translate that gain into speed, you have to choose the right moves. ‘Runners should concentrate on building power – or how fast you can use the force you’ve built up,’ says Jay Dicharry, director of the Speed Clinic at the University of Virginia, US. ‘Explosive movements help you activate your muscle power quickly during push-off.’ Do these exercises twice a week, preferably two days before or after a speedwork session.
Why? Enables core and leg muscles to ‘turn on’ faster.
How? Face a knee-high box or weight bench. With your feet slightly apart, jump on to the box, landing as softly as you can. Step down. Do three sets of eight reps.
Why? Strengthens the hips for better balance and stability during push-off.
How? Place the top of your left foot on a bench one metre behind you. Lunge and rotate your torso 45 degrees to the left, back to the centre, and then to the right. Do eight reps, then repeat on the other side.
Why? Develops propulsive force in your glutes and hip extensors, which will aid push-off as you up the pace.
How? Place heavy weights on the floor in front of you. Hinging at the hips, with back straight, bend and grab them. Keeping your core and glutes tight, straighten up. Slowly lower the weights to the floor (or as low as you can, bending only at the hips). Do two sets of eight reps.
Kneeling hip-flexor stretch
Why? Improves the range of motion in your hips.
How? Step into a lunge and lower your back knee to the ground. Keep your upper body straight while you tilt your pelvis to feel a stretch. Hold for one minute. Perform three times on each leg.
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