Running fast requires explosiveness and power.
Allyson Felix, a two-time Olympic medalist in the 200 meters, attributes plyometric workouts and weight training to giving her the agility, strength and power to run fast. Her strength and conditioning coach, Andre Woodert, who is also the sports performance director at Velocity in Los Angeles, trains Felix to utilize muscles not normally used in her track-focused running.
“We focus on movements that teach her how to get her body off the ground as quickly as possible, and strength routines in which I lessen the weight but increase the repetitions,” says Woodert.
Here are three key exercises Felix implements in her strength and conditioning routine that will help you improve your explosiveness and power.
Range of Motion Squats
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Using a safety squat bar, grip the bar with desired weights and place it behind your neck, below the bone at the top of your shoulder blades.
- To give the bar a strong base to rest on, tighten the upper back by squeezing your shoulder blades.
- Keeping your weight focused back in your heels, squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground while making sure your knees don’t go past your toes.
- Keeping your core upright, straighten your legs to a standing position.
Sets/Reps: 4 x 15
- Grip the bar close to your shins while keeping an arched back, elbows turned out, feet flat approximately hip-width apart and shoulders tall.
- Squat down with your back slightly arched and grasp the bar in an overhand grip.
- Using your hips, pull the bar off the floor until it reaches above the knees.
- Once it’s reached above the knees, pull the bar up to your thighs as you move your hips forward.
- Then, pull the bar and initiate a straight shrug with your shoulders.
- At the top of your clean pull, your shoulders should be fully shrugged.
Sets/Reps: 4 x 8
Quick Standing Long Jumps
- With both feet together, jump up and land as fast as you can, moving down a 40-yard line.
- Movements should be very small (no more than an inch off the ground) and very fast.
Reps: 100-400 jumps