It’s every runner’s ultimate aim – to run faster. And there’s lots of suggestions about how to do that out there on the internet. I did a recent search of YouTube and this video popped up.
The trouble is, they’re all based on the same principle – that strength increases speed, and it’s not true. Here’s why:
This video is a typical example of the industry standard recommendations. And while the main premise is ok (that increasing strength increases speed), it’s not effective as a long term strategy, especially for injury prevention.
If you haven’t got time to wade through the shoe commercials and the rest of this whole video, I’ll give you the 5 main exercise they recommend, and why they’re not useful:
- Inchworms – Most runners are already too tight through their core, resulting in poor spinal rotation and increased effort from their adductors, hip flexors and quads, which pulls the thigh bone into a sustained internally rotated position and the pelvis into a forward tilt. Both these bone position changes force the hamstrings into a sustained lengthened and twisted position, reducing their contribution to the run and requiring more effort per stride. This increased effort of movement significantly increases the risk of injury over time, especially in the hamstrings. The inchworm exercise simply serves to exacerbate these issues
- Straight Arm Running – again, this exercise serves to increase stiffness through the core, resulting in the same issues as the previous exercise
- Lunges – With a stiff core, and the consequent increased tension through the adductors, runners performing lunges only further increase the strain on the adductors as the front leg tries to control the movement. The body will fight the knee caving in, placing strain on the surrounding, already strained muscles, which encourages early fatigue and increases the risk of injury.
- Hamstring curls – as we have already seen, the hamstrings in most runners are forced into a sustained lengthened state, which makes it hard for them to function. Adding the strain of this exercise to already strained muscles is a recipe for injury
- Single leg burpee – This exercise combines the stresses of the inchworm and the hamstring curl, which again, increases the strain on the hamstrings, hip flexors and quads through the encouragement of a stiff core.
Each of these exercises individually will compound the problems most runners are already facing, and putting them all together in one routine is simply increasing the stiffness and therefore the strain that already strained muscles must tolerate. This will lead to guaranteed injury.
A much more effective way to increase speed AND avoid injury is to open up the hips and encourage good spinal movement, while at the same time, increasing strength in the hamstrings and glutes – which can easily be done in this quick 1 minute routine:
For more quick and easy ways to reduce injury AND increase your run speed, get my FREE Hip Flexors 5 Ways Video – and access to MUCH more simply by filling in the form below: