As an athlete you got multiple goals, stronger, powerful, jump higher, agility, and speed. Training to get stronger gets covered a lot, but how do you get faster? Well I’l tell you one thing, joining the cross country team is not going to help. Too many kids, coaches, and parents think by simply having a kid run they are going to turn into the next Usain Bolt. Here are 5 things to do that will get you faster:
1. Proper Arm Action:
Here at STS, we call them dinosaur arms. You know what I’m talking about. You know those arms that don’t move, elbows glued to your side, fists clenched, all elbow flexion, no shoulder motion, just working so hard, but going absolutely nowhere. Let me tell you simple math equation: Arm Drive=Leg Drive. Don’t believe me? Run without moving your arms. Good, you just looked like Forrest Gump with his leg braces on. Now, run while pumping your arms, hands open and relaxed, moving your hands from you butt cheek to your cheek on your kisser, fast, explosive, hard. Good, now you’re starting to look a little athletic.
Too many people focus on worrying about running a 40-yard dash, or resisted sprinting, before they even have proper arm action. Get your arm action down first and then we’ll talk.
2. Hill Sprints
I recently took part in the ever so popular Spartan Race. I wanted to do it, but I did it more so to keep true to one of my philosophies: I will never have a client do something I have never done. I had several clients ask me what they thought of those obstacle course based races. But what could I reply with, I had never done one? So, on a humid Saturday afternoon I talked the beast they call a Spartan Race. Running 4 miles, no problem. Obstacles every couple hundred yards, no problem. You want to know what hell feels like? Carry a 25lbs sand bag up a hill that when you look up at the top your upper trap and neck extensors are screaming in pain. Oh, and did I mention you have to do that three times?
Hill sprints are awesome for getting your body to run faster. One the main reason is because it forces you to put your body in the proper acceleration angle of roughly 42.5 degrees.
So, instead of going for a jog around your culdesac, find the steepest hill you can, the find one even steeper, and do some sprints on it. Are your quads burning yet? Do it again. You won’t.
3. Train your core in anti-rotation
The worlds population is so use to ab flexion, ab flexion, yum give me some ab flexion. What does ab flexion do for you? Well, not a whole lot, and it may just be coincidence but what happened when we all started doing crunches because we thought that would help us lose our muffin top? The physical therapy business went through the roof due to the amount of low back injuries. You don’t have to be a biomechanical expert to picture what your spine is doing during any type of crunch, or abdominal flexion. Yes, you are working your rectus abdmoninus, but your spine is being flexed into some pretty damn stressful angels
With that being said, how do you train your core to be faster? Well think about it, we talked previously about two things: keeping good arm action, and maintaining a proper angle to improve acceleration. What happens when you do have proper arm action, you get faster right? Duh, Doug. But hear me out. Those arms get going lightning fast, out of control fast, all of the sudden your torso is rotating side to side like a drunken guy on the dance floor. The problem with that while trying to sprint, you’re telling your body to run laterally, or to the side, instead of straight ahead. It is wasted energy that could be used for you to run straight ahead, which is your goal.
So, by training you core with anti-rotation exercises you can build up the strength so when you do have arm action, you can get them going lightening fast, and your core will still be straight ahead, putting all that energy to proper use. If your in the world of crunches and don’t know how to train anti-rotation, you better change that. To start you off try these 3 exercises:
- Pallof Press
- Land Mines
- Kneeling Upward Rope Chop
4. Lift Heavy
Before I go on, take a look at this picture.
Which one is the sprinter? And sprinters shouldn’t lift heavy, why? Lifting heavy is going to increase strength. Increasing strength is going to increase speed. Increasing speed, and strength is going to increase power. Power, my friends, is going to get you faster.
You can run for days, but if you’re not squatting, deadlifting, lunging, heavy pulling, etc., you may win marathons, but not 100 meter dashes. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy as a runner, if done properly, it will pay off ten fold compared to all those miles you just wasted running.
So there you have it. Four ways to get you running faster. Start working on these and I’m sure you’ll see some significant improvements in your performance.
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