Today, a lot of athletes are looking to get faster, faster. And while there's no way to improve speed overnight, there are a few great ways to activate the whole body and warm up for a faster run.
Today I'm going to share with you a simple warm-up protocol to use before your sprint. For some athletes, these exercises can even help make you faster right after you finish them.
The purpose of these exercises is to warm up and help anchor running motor patterns so that the muscular and nervous systems are both prepared for speed immediately.
RUN DRILLS TO RUN FASTER
The hand pump
The Arm Pump Drill is designed to teach the shoulders to stay relaxed while moving AND the athlete to have longer levers while pumping the arms. Lots of guys run with their arms short, going from elbow to fingertip. This gives very little momentum to their racing form.
This exercise will help improve greater arm leverage from elbow to shoulder: do 3 sets of 20 seconds
How to perform the arm pump exercise:
- Begin by kneeling on one knee. Preferably, place your dominant or power leg in front. For 90% of you, it will be your left leg.
- Keep both arms completely straight, extend one arm in front of you and the other arm directly behind you
- You will begin to gently rock both arms forward and backward to achieve full extension, until you maintain a smooth movement for about 10 seconds. Make sure you are relaxed and fluid. There should be little tension in the arms.
- Then you will break your 90 degree elbows and start pumping both arms back and forth, now up to a sprint speed. You can start to bounce lightly on your knee to the floor. When one hand reaches your cheek, the other should be near your back pocket.
- Make sure each hand goes from your hip to your cheek.
Hip training and knee extension
This next warm-up exercise helps activate a few key muscles that you actually use while running and sprinting. One of the most important factors when it comes to speed is your turnover rate. This is how fast you can get one foot in front of the other and it all starts with a quick hip workout. This exercise will help you activate and strengthen the muscles that contribute to your hip workout.
Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg
How to do the hip circumference and knee extension:
- Tie a band around something stationary and loop the other end snugly around the front of an ankle.
- Exit until the group is tense.
- Put your weight in the opposite leg, flex the toes of your raised foot (pull the toes towards the shin) and hold this position.
- Next, lift the knee to hip height, then extend it at the knee to straighten the leg as much as you can comfortably.
- Bring the ankle below the knee and place that foot down.
Repeat for repetitions on both sides
Hip extension with bands
Finally, we want to activate the glutes and the hamstrings. These muscles in the body prevent most young athletes and sprinters from developing their speed. This exercise helps build more power through the kick, allowing the athlete to have more forward propulsion and cover more ground with each step.
Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg
Here's how to perform a banded hip extension
- Tie a band around something stationary and wrap the other end around the back of one ankle, putting your weight on the opposite leg
- From there, flex the foot of the bandaged leg so that the toes pull toward the shin and lift the knee up to hip height.
- Then using the glutes to push the foot towards the ground and slightly back to extend fully at hip level
Repeat on both sides for full reps
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Understanding what it takes to becoming a successful athlete, is important. Although, there are millions of factors that contribute to this, so we have put together our top 5 tips to becoming a successful athlete ! The reason behind this article came from an conversation between myself and a young athlete desperate for success. So, hopefully, this article will help similar athletes asking the same type of questions.
First of all, commitment is defined as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause ( your team ) or activity ( your sport ). Although, commitment isn’t tangible and you can’t quantify it, the levels of commitment are ever changing. So, thats the task, understand what level you need to reach and smash it !
A locker room full of teammates who are willing to work hard and work together every day at practice, even when not under the coach’s eye, is important to having a successful season. Realise that a good teammate doesn’t try to be the best player on the team; they focus on being the best player for the team, though at times this can be difficult – stick with it !
Spending 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after practice working on your game will give you an advantage over the competition. Some players choose to talk about their day while they slowly lace up their shoes, or duck out of practice as quickly as possible. Realise that being different is just one level away from being great. Twenty minutes of additional practice six days in a row adds up to another full practice during your week. Although its more about quality practice rather then quantity of practice, if you are adding 120 more minutes of practice to your week, make sure its worth while !
tera become a successful athlete you need to know Your Teammates. How you work with your teammates when things are going wrong, strongly influences how successful you will be. Also influencing how far you will go as an athlete. So, great teammates are positive, supportive, understanding, forgiving and passionate about helping those around them achieve greatness. Learn about your teammates. Enjoy being around them away from practices and games. Sit with different teammates on road trips. Strike up conversations to learn about what motivates them. The time, effort and energy you put into reaching out to your teammates will come back to you many times over. Being a good teammate isn’t a big thing; it’s a million little things, so get working !
Realise that regardless of whether you are playing in a friendly fixture, a tournament, or been invited to international trials, certainly adopt the motion that people are watching. You are a brand, and you want to be seen in a positive light. You have to become a brand worth investing in, because your worth investing in.
Finally, “When you are not getting better, you are getting worse” is a cliché that may intimidate many athletes. Improve just one rep each day, and push yourself outside your comfort zone. If you are lucky enough to be around a coach who pushes you, holds you accountable, and may even be demanding at times, consider it a gift. Although it may be stressful, they probably see something in you that you don’t yet see in yourself.
Stay positive and believe in the process. No successful athlete ever started out that way. They all found it in themselves to make their bad days better and draw confidence from the days when they did well. You are never as bad as your worst day, and you are never as good as your best. Find it in yourself to stay level-headed and hungry to become more for your coaches, teammates, family and yourself.