Too many runners fear that strength training will add bulk, making them slower. But according to Katrin Koch, University of Georgia women’s T&F strength and conditioning coach, strengthening your fast twitch muscles makes you stronger without adding bulk, ultimately making you faster.
“Stay away from slow-moving exercises of 10 or more reps, because they don’t activate fast twitch muscles,” Koch says. “Instead, we perform between 4 and 8 reps of light, explosive exercises to recruit more muscle fibers to fire.”
Performing strength exercises for lean muscles helped Georgia claim their fourth consecutive top 10 finish at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Here, Koch lays out the Med Ball Lift with Partner, which the Bulldogs perform once a week throughout the year.
Med Ball Lift with Partner
- Lie face down on ground
- With partner standing with one foot on each side of your neck, he rolls med ball down your legs, starting at glutes
- When ball reaches your achilles, contract your hamstrings and quickly lift legs toward butt to throw ball to partner
- Perform 3 sets of 10 with 90-second rest
1. Use a big, soft med ball that weighs less than 10 pounds
2. The med ball should roll down your legs, not bounce
3. Keep your quads on the ground throughout the exercise
4. Explosively throw the med ball back to your partner by flicking your knees aggressively
5. Keep your head down throughout the exercise so you don’t hyperextend your spine or lower back during the movement