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 four and eight reps of light, explosive exercises to recruit more muscle fibers to fire.”
Performing strength exercises for lean muscles helps Georgia stay on top of their game. 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
- Standing with one foot on each side of your neck, partner rolls med ball down your legs, starting at glutes
- When ball reaches your achilles, contract hamstrings and quickly lift legs toward butt to throw ball to partner
- 3×10 with 90-second rest
Coaching Points: Use a big, soft med ball that weighs less than 10 pounds // Med ball should roll down your legs, not bounce // Keep quads on the ground throughout the exercise // Explosively throw med ball back to partner by flicking your knees aggressively // Keep head down throughout so you don’t hyperextend your spine or lower back during the movement