Speed is a product of strength, and after a long spring of meets and races, track athletes need to rebuild their muscular power. William Alli, strength coach for the Indiana University track team, created this program to help his athletes get faster and more explosive. The four-week training program includes three workouts per week. The individual routines feature Olympic lifts that train your hips, knees and ankles to extend powerfully so you can put more force into the ground with each stride and propel your body forward faster. The workouts then use lower-body exercises to build your foundation of strength, including single-leg exercises that will point out and eventually correct muscle imbalances. The result: A stronger, faster you.
- Start each workout with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up and finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
- Check your ego at the door. Don't use heavy weights at the start of the program.
- The workouts call for Olympic lifts, which may be new to you. Take the time to dial in your technique on these lifts. Start with a broomstick or barbell, then gradually add weight.
- With the exception of some sprint events, everyone has a "take off" leg. You might be stronger on that side than on the other. Be sure to note this when you're training. If you find one leg is weaker, work to strengthen that leg.
The following mini-circuits will keep your sprint stride sharp and strong. They will also help address common mobility and strength problems.
Fast Hip Series
- Supine Single-Leg Lifts – 1x10 each leg
- Band-Resisted Static High Knee – 2x10-15 sec.
- Lateral Banded Reverse Lunge – 1x5 each leg
- Single-Leg Glute Bridge – 1x10
- Towel Leg Curls – 1x10
- Glute Bridge – 1x10
Hip Mobility Series
- 3-Way Fire Hydrants – 1x8 each leg
- Towel Slide Groin Stretch - 1x8 each leg
- Psoas Stretch – 1x30 sec.
Ankle, Knee and Hip Series
- Bleacher Stair Walk – 1x30
- Calf Stretch – 1x30 sec. each leg
- Terminal Knee Extension – 1x10 each leg
Benefits: One of the best exercises for increasing lower-body strength and power.
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and position a bar on your upper back. Keeping your back straight, sit your hips back and lower into a Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Extend your hips and knees to drive up and out of the squat.
Benefits: Increases lower-body power, which will improve your vertical jump.
How to: Stand 6 inches in front of a knee-high box or bench with your feet hip-width apart. Sit your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a Quarter Squat. Explosively jump up and land softly with both feet on the box. Step down and repeat.
Towel Leg Curls
Benefits: Develops strong and durable hamstrings.
How to: Lie with your upper back on the ground and heels on a towel. Your body should be in a straight line with your hips slightly off the ground. Keeping your hips up, bend your legs to bring your heels toward your butt. Slowly extend your legs to return to the starting position.