You're Doing It Wrong: Running

All that running you've been doing to get in shape for your sport? It's probably not helping. Find out why from STACK Expert Stan Dutton.


I've got something to tell you that may not be easy to hear. All that running you've been doing to get in shape for your sport? It's probably been doing the opposite.

I can't blame you for thinking the way you do, though. It makes sense that when you run for a really long time, you get really sweaty and have a sense of accomplishment.

But unless you're a runner training for a race, I recommend you pay attention. Distance running is making you slower and weaker in the weight room and on the field. Disagree? Think about this:

In the weight room: Do you do Front Squats for half an hour straight?

On the field: Have you ever seen a running back jog after getting a handoff?

Steady-state cardio will seriously impact any strength or size gains you could be making by depleting your body's stored energy. Your body will break down muscle as a source of energy, and daydreams of 18-inch biceps will remain daydreams.

If you sprint, your body will produce more growth hormone and testosterone, and you will improve your overall explosiveness, because this type of exercise develops the fast-twitch muscle fibers needed for explosive bursts of speed and strength. You'll get leaner and increase your chances of turning those peashooters into cannons.

Like any other exercise, it's important that you sprint with proper form and programming. You're simultaneously using almost every muscle in your body, yet there's very little instruction.

Tips for proper sprinting form

  • Lock your arms at 90 degrees and keep them tight to your body. Drive them backward and forward to generate momentum.
  • Engage your core and don't sway from side to side, which wastes energy.
  • Stay on the balls of your feet. Your heels act as brakes.

Running Workout

The Training for Warriors Hurricane is the staple workout we use at Training For Warriors Boston. It incorporates speed and strength training and core work. Originally developed for UFC fighters, the Hurricane helps you attain elite levels of conditioning and boost your metabolism without losing muscle. Add these into your program two times per week and transform into a beast.

Round 1

  • Sprint for 25 seconds
  • Push-Ups x 10
  • V-Up x 10
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Repeat three times before moving to the next round.

Round 2

Round 3

  • Sprint for 25 seconds
  • Plank Walk-Out x 10
  • Knee Grab x15
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Repeat three times before moving to the next round.

Note: Between rounds, give yourself about 2 minutes of rest. You'll need it!

Final words: We've been taught to seek the hardest path, the path on which we become the most exhausted—although often exhaustion is the opposite of what we need.

This workout is not for the faint of heart, but it will work you in a controlled manner and in a way that optimizes your gains. You'll be able to maintain your form and give your max effort without collapsing onto the floor in complete exhaustion. If you find it too difficult or you can't maintain your form, simply increase the rest time between sets to allow your body to recover.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock