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How to Run Faster, Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the 3 main things that make athletes run fast. Just to remind you…


And those are:

  1. Running mechanics (AKA your technique, how fluid you move, etc.)

  2. Muscle synergy (how the muscle groups required to run work together)

  3. Strength (that’s where drilling, lifting and running come into play)

All three of these are extremely connected. When you work out to build strength – the movements you do, and how you do them determine how your muscles will work together (your muscle synergy). How your muscles work together determines how fluidly you move (your mechanics).

You need technique + strength. It’s the only way you’re going to improve your speed.

Well, today we’re going to talk about exercises to boost that strength of yours. These exercises develop a few things:

  1. Explosive Power. You need this to go from standing to sprinting fast.

  2. Range of motion. The smoother and fuller your stride is, the faster you’re going to go.

  3. Flexibility. Like range of motion, this contributes to having a full, powerful stride as you run.

This video from “Runner’s World” will demonstrate each of the exercises below. For clarity, I’ve written out the steps for each, and talked about how each one will improve your running speed and coordination.

Exercise 1: Box Jump

This exercise develops a few key things: Explosive power, and acceleration. When you go from standing straight to jumping, you have to do a quick squat, then explode off the ground. If you play soccer, basketball, football, etc., you need this ability.


If you think about it, and go over the motions in your mind, you’ll see that any time you break into a sprint, it starts with a small squat.

This is where you get your leverage from. If you can squat in an instant and push off the ground – you’ll accelerate faster, helping you catch your opponents.

The Box Jump develops this technique.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Face a knee-high box or other equipment that’s sturdy and strong enough for you to land on top of (can be a stair too).

  2. With your feet shoulder-width apart, jump on top of the box. Try to squat as quickly as possible. This develops that quick-acceleration I was just talking about.

  3. Land on the box as softly as possible. You don’t want to slam down on it. This could cause injury, but also, you want to practice being light on your feet. Stomping on the ground is no way to run 😉

  4. Do 3 sets of 8 reps. If that’s not enough, do 3 sets of 12.

Exercise 2: Rotating Lunge

This exercise develops explosive power, balance, coordination, flexibility, core strength, and hip control.

Why you need hip & core control for running:

Imagine you’re chasing down an opponent. You’re closing in on him. Suddenly, he breaks left. So you cut left too. Guess what muscles started your rotation left? Yep, your hip and core. You twist your body, then your legs follow suit.

You also need balance and coordination to make these cuts. And you want your movements to be tight. After all, every time your opponent’s technique is slightly sloppier than yours, and you make up for it with extra efficiency, you’ll quickly speed ahead of them.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Place the top of one of your feet onto a bench behind you.

  2. Scoot your front foot forward until your legs can be as far apart as they would be if you were doing normal lunges.

  3. Maintaining this position, lower your upper-body by bending your knees.

  4. Once you’ve lowered your body, twist left and right.

  5. Raise your body, and repeat.

  6. Do 3 sets of 8 reps. If that’s not enough, do 3 sets of 12.

Exercise 3: Straight-Leg Deadlift

The straight-leg deadlift keeps your glutes and hamstrings constantly engaged. You use these muscles to propel yourself off the ground each time you take a step.

By developing them, you’ll build your ability to accelerate fast, maintain control over your body as your speed increases, and increase your overall max speed.

To Do:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with 2 dumbbells in front of you on the floor.

  2. With your knees only slightly bent, bend forward, pick up the dumbbells, and bend back up to full standing position.

  3. Bend back down (but don’t rest the weights on the floor), then back up

  4. Do 2 sets of 8 reps. If that’s not enough, do a 3rd set.

Kneeling Hip-Flexor Stretch

This exercise develops flexibility for a longer, fuller stride. You’ll develop greater range of motion, enabling you to propel your body farther with every step.

  1. Step into a normal lunge, and rest your back knee on the ground.

  2. Keep your back straight in good posture, and lean forward on your front leg. You’ll feel a good stretch.

  3. Hold for 60 seconds, then switch legs.

  4. Repeat 3 times per leg.


Questions? Comments? Leave a comment below!

And if you got something out of this post, don’t forget to use those share buttons below ;-). Let your friends in on speed-building awesomeness.

Till next time! Jim Wnek & The CORE1 Crew


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