If you want to take seconds of your running time, your natural inclination is to run more. However, there are other things you can do to improve your performance when it comes to running. There are workouts to get faster and ways to improve your overall fitness that will cut seconds to minutes off your time. Building power and improving explosive movements help you when you push off to start the run. That ultimately improves your stride, making each step more powerful and faster than you thought possible.
It’s all about training with explosive moves.
Adding exercises to your workout that focus on explosive moves can help. These moves can improve run times. Plyometrics— exercises that focus on the rapid contraction and stretching of muscles to improve power, such as jumping—can change strength into speed that has explosive power. It makes you run faster by allowing you to cover more ground with each strike of the foot, making sure you have full extension with each step. It adds that extra something to your committed run.
When you run, your muscles work like a stretched rubber band and plyometrics help you improve that.
When you force a muscle to stretch involuntarily, it contracts with even greater force. If you’ve ever shot rubber bands at anyone, you know that the further you pull them before releasing them, the further they go when you release. The more speed at release, too. Stretching your muscles to their farthest also has the same effect. They push you further, faster. To accomplish this involuntary reaction to the stretch, it has to be done in seconds. That allows the body to use the accumulated energy from the shock for the return action. It’s two-tenths of a second, the amount of time it takes to step off a box, touch and jump back up again.
Every exercise that requires you to jump is plyometric.
Start with a jump from a raised platform, like a box, with your toes at the edge. Step out, drop down and hit the ground then jump straight up again. Land as softly as possible. You don’t have to do many reps, six to eight is enough. You can use low hurdles, a little less than a foot high, placed about three feet from each other. Get into a quarter-squat position jump the first, touching the ground as little as possible and then do the next. Go as fast as possible.
- Ankle jumps can help build muscle and improve speed. Stand straight, then bend your knees slightly and jump straight up. As you jump, pull the front of your foot up with toes going toward your ankles. Do six to eight repetitions.
- Try a box jump, but this time jump onto the box, then step backward into starting position, squat slightly and jump again.
- Loosen your hip flexors to get more power. Doing stretches that help boost your range of motion can prevent tightness that hinders speed.
- If your goal is to improve your speed, our trainers at Next Level Fitness can create a program that will help you do it.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness